The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released new educational materials designed to assist lab managers in protecting workers from biological and chemical exposures.
Our North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers in Charlotte know that working in a lab is a dangerous place for the more than 500,000 workers in the U.S.
Part of the new material includes the Laboratory Safety Guidance manual, which goes into great detail on how to eliminate or reduce hazards like fires, falls and explosions. The manual explains if employers use methods such as the use of personal protective equipment, engineering controls, safety plans and worker training, workplace hazards can be significantly reduced. Fact sheets were designed to spotlight particular hazards related to the laboratory workplace. Precautions and protocols to protect lab workers include safety guidelines for working with autoclaves, latex exposure, using a chemical fume hoods and transferring and labeling chemicals.
During the past few years there have been quite a few labs where workers died or were injured from equipment, explosions and fires. A spokesperson for OSHA acknowledges that lab workers are exposed to numerous hazards throughout their work day. Creating these materials is an effort to further educate employers to make the laboratory environment as safe and as healthy as possible.
OSHA worked with the National Academies on writing this new educational material. Their manual Prudent Practices in the Laboratory is considered the gold standard regarding dealing with chemical hazards.
Here is some QuickFact card info:
-Permanent Container Labels
All hazardous substances must be in a container that must have the following on the label: the manufacturer name and address, the chemicals name, a hazard warning that can be in the form of words, symbols or pictures, and the label must be legibly written in English.
-Transferring Container Labels
A label (as described above) must be placed on any secondary container if: the worker who transferred the chemical to the secondary container goes off shift or leaves his or her work area or the container leaves its original work area. The only time a secondary container doesn’t need a label is when the person who did the transfer uses up all the chemicals in the secondary container during a work shift.
To avoid injuries when using autoclaves make sure the door is locked before starting, don’t remove items until they are cool or use an oven mitt. Don’t handle the sharp ends of instruments unless you are wearing steel mesh gloves or using forceps or other tool.
If you experience any of the following you might be allergic to latex: rash, difficulty breathing, wheezing or irritation to the sinuses, nose and eyes. Using latex-free gloves is best if you develop these symptoms.
For additional information on laboratory standards, visit OSHA’s website .
If you or a family member has suffered an injury or an exposure in a lab, contact the experienced lawyers at Lee Law Offices, P.A. today for assistance and a free and confidential appointment to discuss your case. Call 1-800-887-1965.
More Blog Entries:
North Carolina Employees Coming into Contact with Formaldehyde Can Suffer Long Term Health Effects, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, September 30, 2011.