Suggested guidelines for leaving the laboratory

Suggested guidelines for leaving the laboratory
Suggested guidelines for leaving the laboratory
Clean workbench before leaving the laboratory

A lot has been written on safety guidelines for working in laboratories. However, an important aspect which is often overlooked is what needs to be done if you happen to leave your laboratory last.

It goes without saying that you would make sure the following has been looked into before you leave your home:

  • Almirah with cash and valuables is properly locked
  • Windows are properly bolted and grills locked
  • All electrical and electronic gadgets are switched off and unplugged
  • Taps are properly closed
  • Gas burners and cooking gas line valves are turned off
  • Finally the house is properly locked

As far as your home is concerned your main concern is to secure it from thefts, fires and minor electrical hazards. Now imagine the hazard potential posed by a laboratory which houses dangerous chemicals and toxic products in addition to compressed gases and other utilities. The danger is further compounded by the fact that in case of any mishap there would be no one around to know what is happening inside a closed laboratory and little can be done to control such situations.

As a responsible laboratory worker you have to ensure that no untoward happening takes place when no one is around so before leaving your laboratory you should take a quick round to ensure the following:

  • All gas lines are turned off
  • Water points are turned off and there are no overflowing containers
  • Vacuum and compressed air lines are switched off
  • No hot plate or rotary evaporator or any other heating device is left on
  • None of the instruments is left on except for chromatographs or other equipments with programmable auto sampler sample introduction systems
  • Reagent bottles are returned to their respective shelves and work benches are free of clutter
  • Weighing balance bench and chamber are clean and chamber protection shields are closed
  • No bottle is left uncapped and in particular those containing acids or other corrosive materials
  • Isle and passages are free of any obstructions
  • There are no spillages on work benches or lab floor
  • Remove all your laboratory protective clothing and safety gear such as lab coats, gloves, safety goggles, etc inside the lab before leaving
  • Switch off lights, air conditioners and other electrical facilities before leaving the lab
  • Remember to sign the laboratory register and enter the time you leave the laboratory. This is important as it it can be helpful in investigations in case of any subsequent mishappenings. In case there is provision for electronic entry and exit remember to swipe the card before leaving
  • Ensure that the main exit gate has been locked and the laboratory security has been informed that there is no one inside the laboratory

A little concern and alertness on your part can help prevent laboratory disasters when laboratories remain unattended. It will take only a few minutes of your time to ensure that everything is in order and you have made your contribution to save the laboratory from devastating catastrophes.


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