ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences




Injuries in the workplace result from one of the following17:

  • A true accident - staff need to be constantly aware of the dangers in their working environment. Accidents should be documented and periodically reviewed with steps taken to reduce the risk of incidents being repeated.
  • Lack of knowledge of a procedure - a complete knowledge of procedures and familiarity with the nature of any substances used reduces the risk of injury. Unsupervised or inexperienced personnel should not be exposed to potentially dangerous procedures.
  • Lack of concern due to overfamiliarity - this will occur where repetitive tasks are performed. Rotation of duties, where possible, and an awareness of the danger of inattention will partially overcome this problem.
  • Occupational injuries related to posture and repetition - seek the advice of a consultant in the field of ergonomics.
  • Occupational injuries related to unsafe working conditions - allow staff to use hazard reports to identify a dangerous practise or condition. If the procedure cannot be changed directly then ensure that the responsible parties are made aware of dangerous working conditions and document fully any discussions that occur over safety matters. In some countries employers must exercise a 'duty of care' and provide a safe working environment. Failure to do so can result in legal action.


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