The Importance of Proper Chemical Handling and Lab Safety

safety inspector working in laboratory

Lab technicians and personnel must take chemical safety and handling seriously. The handling of hazardous materials is a regulated process, requiring special equipment, procedures, and guidelines. Safety and accuracy are essential requirements in labs, facilities, and universities.

Why Is Lab Safety Essential?

Proper guidelines and lab safety equipment are required to handle hazardous materials safely.
Scientists and chemical handlers must use quality, certified lab safety equipment to ensure maximum safety and accuracy when performing studies, experiments, research, or manufacturing.

These guidelines and equipment keep lab technicians safe. For example, an inaccurate measuring cup can cause adverse outcomes if a solution is off a few milligrams. Lab workers can be in danger of chemical burns or contamination if their safety gloves aren’t the correct material or thickness.

Chemical Handling Guidelines

There are EPA, OSHA, and other standardized guidelines that personnel must follow when operating a lab or handling hazardous chemicals.

Here’s an overview of the standard steps and procedures of lab safety and chemical handling.

Safety Procedures

Chemical handling requires prior knowledge of the materials personnel will be working with that day. For example, material safety data sheets explain if a material is flammable, corrosive, toxic, or possesses other harmful side effects. Lab personnel don personal protective equipment required for the chemicals they’ll be using. Workers post signs to warn personnel of potential hazards and list emergency procedures and contact numbers.

Safety goggles and other eye protection are required when working with chemicals, especially in large quantities because of the higher risk of splashes. Wearing the right material gloves is also essential, and personnel must wear certified chemical-resistant lab coats and aprons over appropriate clothing: no skirts, baggy clothing, open-toed shoes, or woven materials.

Housekeeping and Common Sense

Labs require clean work surfaces and uncluttered areas. Personnel regularly wipe tables, benches, and workspaces with disinfectants and proper cleaning solutions. All chemicals and materials should be properly labeled, stored, and secured.

Lab personnel avoid direct contact with any chemical unless wearing proper protective gear. They always wash their hands and arms with soap and water after removing gloves and before leaving the work area. Also, personnel remove their PPE such as gloves and lab coats before leaving the lab and before handling instruments, door knobs, and personal belongings.

Planning and Preparation

Lab technicians are exposed to hazards when at work. They evaluate the worst possible outcomes, what to do if they occur, and what standard practices, facilities, and safety equipment are needed to contain and manage hazards. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is required for the type of chemical handling taking place.

Technicians inspect all equipment, electrical equipment, and apparatuses for structural damage, cracks, deterioration, and frayed wires. They never use damaged equipment, and replace them while disposing of faulty materials.

Safe Chemical Transport

Proper chemical handling is essential when storing or transporting hazardous materials. Safe handling requires wearing appropriate PPE when transporting these materials.

Storage areas should be regulated and secure. Harmful and toxic chemicals stored for long periods of time typically require dry, cool environments, but it depends upon the handled chemicals. Transporters secure secondary containers such as acid buckets or plastic totes on carts and transport equipment.

Needles, syringes, and other sharp items are carefully handled and disposed of into appropriate containers. Chemicals are not washed down the drain or thrown into the garbage. Most chemicals must be disposed of as hazardous waste, so the materials properly avoid outside contamination.

Dangerous Situations and Emergency Procedures

The safety and health of all lab personnel are essential. In the case of a medical emergency, all lab personnel should know the location of emergency facilities and equipment—eyewash stations, showers, fire extinguishers, emergency exits, and “pull boxes.” These emergency facilities and exits are kept open and uncluttered. After a situation or emergency, lab personnel report major and minor accidents to ensure proper emergency procedures were followed and operational. Reporting procedures to the proper supervisors or authorities is the best way to prevent future accidents.

Axiom Products are one of the leading companies in lab safety and chemical handling products. We’ve been ensuring safety and accuracy for our customers for nearly 20 years.

chemical safety wit googles and gloves

Standard Equipment for Chemical Handling

Handling chemicals in a laboratory or the field uses specialized equipment to conduct research, studies, and manufacturing of hazardous materials.

  • Protective Gloves – Safety gloves are required when working with volatile chemicals. PVC, nitrile, and other materials protect against different hazardous chemicals.
  • Safety Goggles – Vented or non vented goggles protect a technician’s eyes while working. Lab personnel use full protective masks to protect their face, neck, and ears when the situation demands them.
  • Measuring Containers – Equipment used for pouring and measuring liquids. There are squeeze-and-pour or tip-and-pour containers that ensure accurate measurements for every pour.
  • Measuring Scoops – Similar to measuring containers, measuring scoops are used for adding precise materials and chemicals to solutions.
  • Jet Rinse Nozzle – EPA guidelines require containers to be rinsed three times for safety and contamination purposes. Jet RInse Nozzles make easy work of cleaning lab containers and equipment.

Choose Axiom Products for Chemical Handling Equipment and Lab Safety Products

Founded in 2004, Axiom Products is a family-owned company that supplies the highest quality chemical handling safety equipment and measuring tools.
We’ve become a leading chemical measuring and handling supplier of an ever-expanding nationwide network of retailers and organizations. We’re here to help you achieve industry-best accuracy and precision if the job involves measuring.
We take pride in providing superior quality products, forward-thinking innovation, and outstanding customer service. Choose Axiom Products for your measuring, handling, and safety needs.