A Guide to Safety Equipment Every Laboratory Needs

Working around hazardous chemicals requires personal protective equipment and proper training. Companies in the chemical industry understand this and utilize strict measures to keep employees safe. New hires are sometimes required to spend weeks in safety training. In an older study performed at 13 Colorado institutions between 1966 and 1984, researchers found that 81% of accidents occurred in academic labs, 13% in research labs and 2% in fabrication rooms. Academic laboratories are attempting to approve laboratory safety culture in universities, colleges and high schools. Regardless of what you are using your laboratory for, there are few items that every laboratory should have.

Safety goggles
Safety goggles are required to protect an individual’s eye from physical trauma.

Gloves are required to protect an individual’s hands from infection and contamination. Latex gloves should be avoided, due to the possibility of having a latex allergy or the possibility of developing a latex allergy. Nitrile gloves can protect against most chemicals and infectious agents. Neoprene gloves can protect against solvents, oils and mildly corrosive material. Rubber gloves can protect against mildly corrosive material.

Eyewash station
Eyewash stations are needed to flush the eye and face area in the case of contact with hazardous chemicals. In labs that have corrosive or caustic material, a hands-free eyewash station is required.

Safety shower
Safety showers are used to flush the body of any hazardous materials that an individual may have been exposed to.

Lab coats
Lab coats protect the skin and clothing underneath the coat. Lab coats can also be made of fire-retardant material, which will be needed by labs that will be working with caustic chemicals.

Fire extinguisher
Fire extinguishers help to manage fires in the lab and can contain fires before they reach a large magnitude.

Chemical fume hoods
chemical Fume hoods are designed to reduce exposure to hazardous fumes.

First-aid Kit
First-aid kits provide a way to deal with some of the most common types of injuries.

Lab safe refrigerator
Lab safe refrigerators are designed to prevent fires from igniting from vapors inside the refrigerator. Lab safe refrigerators are used to store volatile and flammable chemicals.

Fire blankets
Fire blankets are made from fire retardant material and are used to extinguish a fire after it first begins.

Safety cabinets
Safety cabinets are used to store chemicals and reduce the risk of an explosion due to the chemicals inside.

Safety datasheet
A safety data sheet includes information about chemicals in the lab such as physical properties, protective measures, and storage requirements.

Most lab accidents are caused by distraction, inexperience chemists, or broken equipment. A majority of lab accidents are minor and with proper training, could be avoided. Having the following list of equipment in your lab will help equip you to handle minor injuries and also prevent accidents in the future.

Evan Shaner