Medical laboratory safety rules01 Jun 2021 - Flaaim
The medical laboratory contains significant risks ranging from hazardous chemicals, medical waste and infected blood fluids or body parts to heavy-duty equipment. In case of an accident or poor handling, these risks may have a serious effect on the health of those working in the laboratory. Thus, several medical safety rules have been set to guide laboratory users during lab operations and minimize the chances of occurrence of accidents.
This article discusses the various medical safety rules that must be followed when working in the laboratory.
Wear proper laboratory clothing.
Those working in the medical laboratories need to wear the right attire and it is important that they also wear them correctly. This is crucial for the safety of both the individuals and everyone working around them in the lab. Wear a lab coat, preferably a white one, at all times you are in the laboratory. Closed shoes, safety goggles and gloves should be part of the requirements before gaining access to the lab. Also, do not attend to any blood, urine, or sputum sample and other body fluids without having your gloves on properly. As for ladies, you are required to either cut short your hair or tie them up properly to prevent contamination of testing materials and, in addition to that, keep it away from flammable materials.
Handling the available chemicals with care.
Medical laboratories have various chemicals and reagents used for various purposes. The correct and proper handling of these chemicals will help prevent or minimize accidents in the lab.
The following should be taken into considerations when handling chemicals in the laboratory:
Read and understand the manufacturer’s instructions before handling any chemicals.
Each chemical container should be clearly and accurately labeled before it is authorized for use by the lab technician. Before handling chemicals, ensure you wear gloves properly to protect yourself from exposure and accidental spills. Store chemicals in their designated containers and locations to prevent confusion when using them. In cases where you feel skeptical about handling a certain chemical, consult with the lab technician so that you are offered the right directions of usage and handling.
## You should be able to locate emergency equipment easily. All medical laboratories should be equipped with emergency equipment. This is to counteract in case there is exposure to toxic chemicals or flames. The eye rinser, shower and overhead should be well located and should be functioning properly and at all times. Fire extinguishers should be fitted at locations where they are easily and directly accessible. As a laboratory technician, you should familiarize yourself with the emergency equipment, including its location and how to use it. This makes it easier to locate and use them in case a situation arises.
All foods and drinks should be kept out of laboratories.
Foods or drinks can easily contaminate testing samples or reagents, thus producing inaccurate results. The reagents or chemicals may also spill on or into the drinks or foods, leading to food poisoning. Drinks may also spill on the floor and this may lead to accidental slipping, tripping, or even falling, which could be hazardous. It is therefore advisable to finish taking all meals and drinks before getting to the laboratory.
The proper care and use of equipment is a key medical safety rule.
Medical laboratories have different types of equipment necessary for performing various functions. Such functions, for instance, include testing samples, storing samples, or transferring results. You should handle this equipment with care to prevent breakages or damages, which in turn may predispose you to various hazards. Ensure each piece of equipment is used for the purpose it is intended for. Train yourself on the proper use of this equipment, in case you are not used to them or do not know how to use them. The proper use of this equipment is not only for safety purposes but also to provide accurate results.
It is evident that medical laboratories are high-risk environments. Thus it is the responsibility of both the management and the individuals always to follow the set medical laboratory safety rules and guidelines. This will help them provide the best possible results as they will spend more time focusing on the task assigned to them rather than worrying about their safety.