ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences
ELECTRICAL HAZARDS AND ELECTRICAL SAFETY
Electricity will only be a hazard in a laboratory if safety measures are not adhered to. These include the following:
Essential electrical equipment should be connected to an automatic emergency source of power in case of a general power failure.14 Check all electrical equipment at least once per year for safety of performance and document each check. Fit all electrical heating equipment with a thermostatic control and an automatic overheating cut out device. Remove heating equipment from the storage area of combustible substances.
Electrical equipment which has not been certified as safe for use in hazardous locations should not be used in a laboratory where flammable liquids are used (unless more than 300 mm above benches and 300 mm above the floor) and should not be used below benches.69
Liquids, gases and solids can acquire static charges which can lead to explosions upon discharge. Peroxides and flammable solvents in drums are particularly hazardous. Clothing manufactured from synthetic fibres increases the risk of a spark discharge of static electricity.
The hazard can be reduced by:70