As a school owner, you are passionate about teaching science and want to ensure your students grow up with the same love and appreciation for the subject. However, there's more to running a school laboratory than meets the eye. School laboratories are often associated with accidents, and while some accidents are due to carelessness, others occur because of a lack of preventive safety measures.
Why Safety in School Laboratories is important?
Safety in the school laboratory is everyone’s concern and the aim is to ensure that no one gets hurt or becomes ill. Science labs often have equipment -- such as Bunsen burners, chemicals, and sharp tools -- that pose potential hazards if used improperly.
Here are 6 ways you can implement safety rules in science laboratory
1. First Aid Kits
A first aid kit should be in every school laboratory. The kit should contain a thorough assortment of bandages, antiseptics, pain relievers, and other related medical supplies. Lab accidents can occur any day, and they can cause serious injuries without proper care. It's important that a first aid kit is readily available in every laboratory during classroom hours. When an accident occurs, you'll be able to help the victim and prevent further damage to the wound.
Another important consideration: First aid kits should be available in each laboratory along with a written phone number for the school nurse's office.
2. Fire Extinguishers
It's fun and games until someone forgets about the Bunsen burner. In the event of a fire, a portable, hand-held fire extinguisher is the first line of defense for a science teacher. To prevent fires, it is important to make sure all flammable materials in the lab are properly sealed and stored. It is also important to train students to inspect burners for any leaks before using them.
According to experts, extinguishers should be mounted no higher than 5ft above the floor. Additionally, the extinguisher should be visible from every corner of the room or area it is placed in. In large spaces such as school science laboratories, signs or placards may be required to clearly indicate the extinguisher's location.
3. Safety Showers
A safety shower is a type of unit designed to wash an individual's head and body that has come into contact with hazardous chemicals. Here are three types of safety showers you can find:
There are three main types of safety showers: a ceiling shower, a floor-mounted combination safety shower/eye wash, and a deck-mounted drench hose.
Ceiling-mounted showers are located overhead and typically use a chain or lever to activate the water. Floor-mounted showers (a combination of a safety shower, an eye wash, and in some cases a drench hose) are located on the floor and use a hand lever or button to activate the water. Deck-mounted drench hoses are placed on a lab bench and use a squeeze handle to activate the water.
Emergency situations often call for immediate action, especially when there are potential eye injuries involved. Eyewash stations are crucial for decontaminating the eyes and face in the event of a hazardous substance interaction. If you are working with any substance that has the potential to enter or interact with your eyes, you should have an emergency eyewash station on hand to flush it out immediately.
Keep one thing in mind, eyewash stations in laboratories should only be used for emergencies - when conducting experiments, you should always rely on personal protective equipment, such as safety glasses, as your first line of defense.
5. Storage Cabinets
All houses are built with some form of storage space in mind - whether it be a cupboard under the stairs, a shed in the back garden, or a loft for all the things we don't frequently use but can't bear to part with. Schools are no different, except that their storage requirements are usually much larger. This is because a school has to accommodate not only the needs of the students and staff but also a large amount of equipment and materials that are necessary for teaching and learning.
Storage cabinets are important for many reasons. They help to keep the lab organized and tidy, optimize the use of space, and provide better security for hazardous chemicals. They also help to provide an organized setup for the lab so that it is easier to find what you need when you need it.
6. Chemical Fume Hood
Inhalation is another way that chemicals can enter and harm the body. Chemicals in the form of gases, vapors, mists, fumes, and dust can enter through the nose or mouth and be absorbed into the mucous membranes of the nose, trachea, bronchi, and lungs.
There are a few key things to remember while working with a fume hood: they're not meant for storage, so be sure to keep them free of any chemicals, labware, etc. In order to ensure proper airflow, be sure to place your apparatus as far back in the hood as possible. And finally, during an operation, only have the necessary materials under the hood. Always be aware of your surroundings while using the fume hood, and follow all normal safety protocols. Getting distracted or deviating from operational standards can lead to injury.
Other than the above mentioned, Safety Goggles, Protective Gloves, Lab Coat, and Laboratory-safe refrigerators are a few safety equipments that you should not avoid in a school laboratory at any cost. The purpose of safety goggles is to protect the student's eyes and eliminate dirt and particles entering the eyes. The protective gloves are used to prevent contamination and avoid injury during various lab experiments. Lab coat protects the students from getting in touch any chemical spill over their skin. While Laboratory-safe refrigerators is used to store flammable liquids, fire blankets are used to protect students from explosion and fire.
A thorough understanding of Preventing accidents in the lab is one of the most important steps in making sure your students and staff stay safe. But if you do not have the time or resources to prevent hazards before they happen, it's important to be prepared with the right remedies. With these six ways, you can better fight any hazard in your school laboratory and prevent it from becoming worse.