Safety measures that are applied within a specific environment should be designed with the details of that environment in mind. In academic settings like school laboratories, even the slightest error may cause great damage. However, there are safety measures that can be established to prevent or mitigate any harm that may be inflicted by the use of chemicals and their reactions. The RAMP concept (Recognition, Assessment, Minimization, Preparation) is utilized to facilitate safety in a laboratory setting. The implementation of this concept ensures that all laboratory hazards and risks are accounted for, that all hazards and risks are minimized and that the appropriate steps are taken in the event of an emergency or hazardous scenario.
School Lab Safety Components
The following components reinforce the principles endorsed by the RAMP concept:
- Chemical hazard awareness is the overarching chemical safety component. Adequate awareness will result in adequate chemical storing and their proper handling.
- Knowing the location of safety equipment at all times is a critical prerequisite for dealing with any type of uncontrolled situation. Everyone involved in an experiment should know exactly where the equipment is at any given time
- Usage of proper clothing is the primary and most effective means of protection. The proper gear should always be worn while conducting an experiment.
- Nothing should leave the lab except for yourself. No experiments are to be continued at home or anywhere else outside of the school laboratory.
- Knowing how to dispose of lab waste is also critical. For instance, some chemicals may easily pass through the drain while others may wreak havoc.
When lab safety is concerned, it is key to adhere to the components listed above while avoiding errors. Some mistakes that could result from improper safety practices include incorrect labeling, neglect or misuse of safety equipment and inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE).
Providing the Proper Training
The majority of school lab accidents are a result of neglect and/or misinformation. The students need to be constantly reminded of the dangers that carelessness might induce. Constant training is needed both inside the laboratory and out. Reviewing safety hazards on a regular basis is also integral in insuring against unnecessary injuries.