ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences
Before handling any equipment, glassware,
chemical or specimen always consider the associated potential
hazards. Some examples follow:
- always carry Winchester bottles in
- if carrying a Winchester bottle over a
short distance always place a hand underneath the bottle
- never carry a Winchester bottle by the
neck or cap
- if a Winchester bottle contains acid
or is made of glass, the carrier should be enclosed so that in
the event of an accident or breakage the glass and liquid are
retained within the carrier (some manufacturers supply
Winchester bottles with a plastic protective coating designed to
contain spills should the glass break)
- when handling hot glassware, always
use protective gloves
- specimens retrieved from storage in
liquid nitrogen (-190oC) should be handled with
protective (leather) gloves
- always use a hand truck for transporting cylinders of
compressed gases. remove regulators and replace protective
cylinder cap before transport. NEVER drag or roll
cylinders. Secure the cylinder with straps or chains, to the
hand truck before transport.
- wear eye protection while transporting chemicals.
- do not transport extremely hazardous material by yourself.
- dry ice should be transported by stairs, never in an
elevator. A relatively small block of dry ice can produce enough
CO2 gas to displace all oxygen in an enclosed space.
The hazard becomes critical if an elevator becomes disabled.
Always ask yourself:
- should I be using a fume hood or
biological safety cabinet?
- should I be wearing safety goggles or
- is a face mask really necessary?
- is my footwear adequate?
- are my legs protected?
- are my colleagues in any danger?
- is this protocol safe?
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