Tag: safety aids

Worksheets and other materials to help labs work more safely

Unattended experiments

Some experiments take time: hours, days, even weeks. This means that the experiment will be set up and running in the lab while you are not there. You have an ethical obligation to prevent harm to others in the lab by ensuring that they are aware of your experiment and its hazards. Make sure they know:

  • What the purpose of the experiment is;
  • To whom it belongs;
  • What behavior indicates that something has gone wrong; and
  • What to do if something does go wrong.

You could tell the members of the lab all that information, but some lab members might not be present and others will promptly forget. Depending on the lab’s occupants to “know what’s going on” is foolish—your colleagues may know the general type of research you do but they are not familiar with the details of all your experiments. Far better is to post the information so that anyone in the lab can easily see what your experiment is, how to identify abnormal situations, and what to do in that event.

A sample form is available for you to use directly or adapt to your lab’s needs. (The file is in Word format for easy modification.) The form is written to allow use in teaching as well as research labs. You should prepare two copies of the form: one to post near the experimental apparatus and one to post in a safe place (like on the door). In an emergency, no one may be willing to approach the apparatus to read the information sheet!

Protect your eyes from high-intensity light

Protect your vision when working with UV germicidal lamps; lasers; welding and arc lamps; or other highenergy light sources. Special goggles limit the amount of light that can reach your eyes and skinThe type and amount of protection depends on the frequency, nature, and intensity of light. Learn more in Light eye protection.

Protect your face with a face shield

When a hazard involves a lot of energy or aggressive chemicals, your face may be at risk as well as your eyes. Also, Z87.1 or Z81+ rated eye protection may not be adequate to protect your eyes, so additional protection might be prudent. If you could injure your face in an accident, use a face shield to protect your face – learn more in High energy facial protection.

Protect your eyes from physical hazards

Physical hazards require eye protection designed for physical hazards. Always wear \safety glasses or goggles when working with manual or power tools that may produce small particles (e.g.sanding, milling, cutting, hammering, scraping, etc.); working with tools that can generate droplets or a strong (>20psi) fluidstream, whether the fluid is air, water, or something else; processes producing lots of dust or other particles in the air (e.g., blowing leaves or snow from the sidewalk). Learn more in Physical hazard eye protection.

Protect your eyes from chemical hazards

Chemical hazards require eye protection specifically designed for chemical hazards. Many chemicals can cause serious damage or irritation when they get into your eyes. These include, but are not limited to, acids, caustics and solvents. When working with chemical eye hazards, wear chemical splash goggles to protect your eyes – learn more in Chemical Hazard Eye Protection.

Is your plastic gas tubing an over-inflated balloon?

Many labs use compressed gases, and often we use pressure regulators to step down the 2000-3000 psi in the cylinder to the use pressure. If the regulator can produce more than about 30 psi outlet, your plastic tubing might be in danger of rupture. Read more about how to fix this without buying a new $500 regulator in How to prevent plastic tubing rupture.

How to write a Safety Note about an incident or close call

If you have experienced or witnessed an incident or close call, you can help the wider JHU research community to avoid similar future problems if you draft a JHU Safety Note.

Don’t worry if you’re not a good writer: the Laboratory Safety Advocate will edit your Note for style and certain technical guidelines before it is published.

See instructions on how to write a Safety Note in this document..