PPE in Microbiology Laboratories — A Complete Safety List
10 Jul 2020 - Flaaim
To enforce safety in a microbiology laboratory, every person working inside must have the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Doing so will protect anyone from workplace hazards like a laceration, thermal burn, infection, and other biohazardous dangers.
Anyone working in a lab must observe this safety measure to operate successfully. PPE includes all clothing and accessories that can resist unsafe or infectious materials.
Before entering a lab, every employee, trainee, and visitors must wear a properly fastened lab coat. It must be free from rips, holes, debris, and contamination. The right size must reach the wearer’s knees.
Lab coats must be entirely made of cotton or fire-resistant materials. This is to protect the wearer and his apparel against pyrophoric substances, open flames, and minor chemical splashes.
When working with corrosive chemicals or substances, aprons must be worn. Rubber or plastic made aprons are impervious to splashes of irritating liquids and vapors that are harmful to the skin.
Shorts or short skirts are highly discouraged when working in a laboratory. These types of clothes won’t be able to defend against hazards that can hit the lower part of the body. That is why long pants must be used.
All procedures made in a microbiology lab must incorporate gloves. However, different situations require different types of gloves. They can be impervious to chemicals or heat. Aside from the resistance they give, wearers should also consider how a certain kind of glove will affect their dexterity.
Gloves should fit perfectly into one’s hands. Disposable gloves must be thrown to a biohazard waste repository after use.
Like gloves, there are several types of eyewear for various conditions. Safety glasses are enough for most tasks, but for situations with a higher risk of chemical splash, protective goggles are recommended.
If using prescription glasses, wear the appropriate protective eyewear over it. Using contact lenses is not advised. The goggles and glasses should be comfortable, cleanable, and undamaged.
A face shield protects the wearer from the forehead to below the chin. They should not be an alternative to eye protection. Instead, wear face shields on top of the eyewear.
This PPE reinforces protection from hazardous splashes as well as projectiles.
To have a barrier between the foot and workplace hazards, wear closed-toe shoes. They provide better protection compared to sandals, crocs, and cloth sneakers.
If doing laboratory activities that involve large volumes of fluids, using chemical resistant shoe covers or overshoes are a better choice. This will prevent infectious material that can contaminate regular footwear.
Inhalation of harmful chemicals is one of the dangers in a microbiology laboratory. However, this avoidable as long as nobody intentionally sniffs a substance in the lab. If a material’s odor is needed, wafting should be performed.
Keep in mind that respirators are treated only as a last option. It should only be applied when the situation is professionally evaluated, and no other safety means is deemed feasible.