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Because laboratories involve numerous chemicals, procedures, and operations, they require extensive safety precautions. Laboratory safety involves chemical safety, fire safety, electrical safety, and other safety issues. Follow the guidelines in this chapter for general laboratory safety, but refer to the specific Laboratory Safety Manual for detailed information about a laboratory.

This section discusses the following:

  • Common laboratory hazards
  • Controlling laboratory risks
  • Safe laboratory practices
  • Equipment safety

Common Laboratory Hazards

Examples of common hazards include the following:

  • Chemical hazards: Toxins, corrosives, flammables, and reactives
  • Biological hazards: Microbes, animals, plants, and genetically modified agents
  • Radiation hazards: Ionizing and nonionizing radiation
  • Physical hazards: Heating devices, noise, projectiles, fire, cold, etc.
  • Electrical hazards: Fire and shock
  • Mechanical hazards: Moving machinery
  • Airborne hazardous materials: Vapors, dust, etc.
  • Ergonomic factors: Standing, repetitive motion