Safety in a teaching or research lab is as important as any research performed . No research is worth people being permanently injured by preventable hazards. Following a few simple rules can keep people safe in a biology research facility.
1. To some, the phrase "research lab" bring up images of a room with fancy equipment, hoods, shelves and drawers filled with all kinds of supplies. This is not always the case. The lab can involved being in the middle of a lake on a pontoon boat or, in winter, on the ice drilling for sediment samples. You may be diving in Antartica or walking through jungle in Central America. All have unique hazards to prepare for before entering.
2. When something does not feel right, stop and use your senses to observe. Humans tend to depend on sight but your body will respond to the other senses whether your brain consciously registers the danger or not. On average, women can be more sensitive than men to some stimuli. Pay attention to the other senses.
3. When you enter a lab, observe what others are doing and the instruments present. Flashing lights and unattended work may be a hazard in the making. Wires hanging off the bench can result in a setup being disturbed. Liquids or stains on the bench surface may indicate a recent hazardous spill.
4. A cluttered lab can result in unobserved hazards. Be especially cautious when entering one.
5. READ all signs at the entrance to a lab before touching the handle to the door.
6. Read MSDS write ups and other safety warnings and follow the instructions before you open a chemical.