Safe working practices in Laboratories

  • Before working with or on any material or substance, ask yourself what the hazards or working with said substance are
  • Know what to do in case hazards arise, or accidents happen, always be prepared for anything that could go wrong
  • Make sure you have attended all laboratory safety training prior to suing the laboratory
  • Never work alone in the laboratory, always work with someone or under supervision
  • Know where the emergency eye wash stations are
  • Know what to do in case of and accident or emergency within the laboratory
  • Conduct yourself in a safe and responsible manner, this will reduce risk of things going wrong
  • Do not eat, drink or chew gum in the laboratory, nor should you apply contact lenses or facial products such as lip balm
  • Wear suitable clothes when in the laboratory
  • Do not used damaged equipment
  • Do not leave experiments unattended
  • Always wash your hands after taking of gloves, or moving away from experiment to do something else
  • Make sure to wear suitable protective equipment, such as eye protection, gloves and lab coats



There is legislation in place to help protect those who use scientific workplaces, and also to prevent damage and risk to the public. If there was no preventive legislation in place then there would be far more accidents and injuries due to laboratory errors which could have been easily avoided. Legislation is in place to prevent things from going wrong and harming the public and the environment.

An example of when legislation has not been followed could be the foot and mouth outbreak in the Pirbright animal lab in surrey. In this case two samples of infectious materials where leaked into the sewage system and into the incinerator, if proper legislation had been followed then this would have been prevented

It is important not to work on your own in a laboratory, this was proven when Michele Dufault died while conducting an experiment with no-one around, if there was another person in the laboratory then she may have been saved.



– This symbol means that the substance with this label is corrosive, this means that is will destroy and damage other substances it comes into contact with. People using corrosive substances should have gloves and goggles.

–  This symbol means that the substance is harmful, if you are using a substance that has this on the bottle or container then you should use eye protection, and wash any spills as soon as they happen

– This symbol means that the substance is highly flammable, eye protection should be worn, any substance with this on the label should be kept far from oxidizing substances, flames and sparks

– This is the symbol that shows whether a substance is an irritant, once again, eye protection should be worn, while handling irritants and any spills onto the skin should be immediately washed

– This symbol shows us that a substance is oxidizing. In addition to the normal precautions you would be sure to keep any oxidizing substance far from any highly flammable substance, you would wear gloves and goggles while handling this substance.

–  This symbol signifies that a substance is toxic. Both eye and hand protection should be worn as well as a face mask if necessary or use a fume cupboard.

– This symbol shows us that the substance is harmful to the environment. We would take ectra care when disposing of this substance and would wear gloves and goggles when handling

–  This symbol shows us that the substance is either explosive or an explosive component, we would have sure we kept it away from flames.

– This symbol shows us that the substance is radioactive, we would wear goggles and gloves if we where to handle this substance and would only handle it if necessary.


Sharps injuries in the NHS


Sharps injuries are a well-known risk in the health and social care sector. Healthcare workers need to be fully aware of the risks of handling sharps, legislation and local safety policies. There should be good practices and safe systems of working in order to prevent needle stick/sharps injuries. They need to be aware of the importance of recording these injuries and all available support programs.


Sharps contaminated with an infected patient’s blood can transmit more than 20 diseases, including hepatitis B, C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

If ever you receive a sharps injury you must immediately stop whatever you are doing. Encourage the wound to gently bleed, ideally holding it under running water, then wash the wound using running water and plenty of soap.  Don’t scrub the wound whilst you are washing it and do not attempt to suck it. Dry the wound and cover it with a waterproof plaster or dressing.  You must then  seek urgent medical advice and call the sharps hotline.  and  report the injury to your line manager.  They will then take all necessary details including your details and the patient’s details.  You will then be advised to go to A&E and get your bloods taken to check whether you have been infected with anything and give you any necessary prophylactic medication to help fight any blood borne infections.  They will also require you to speak with the patient whom was involve when you  received the sharps injury and obtain consent to have bloods taken from them so that the lab can check their blood for any infectious diseases.

Health and safety law applies to risks from sharps injuries, just as it does to other risks from work activities. Relevant legislation includes:



The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) 2002

The Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR)

Michele Dufault ’11 dies in Sterling Chemistry Laboratory accident













Unit 2 Assignment 1 Task 2

Communication in the workplace

Communication is the most important thing in the workplace, without communication most day to day tasks are not carried out and mistakes can be made as there is not the right amount of information. In an operating theatre environment communication is essential for patient safety and there are multiple ways that staff communicate to one and other to make sure nothing is missed out.

A patient will be sent for, this is where a porter enters a ward and has been given the patients name and hospital number, this is communicated, through word of mouth and the porter will write down the name and number of the patient so that they collect the correct patient. Before the porter is sent to collect the patient, the staff nurse will phone the ward to make sure that the patient is ready for their procedure and that it is okay to go ahead with the procedure. The porter will bring the patient to the patient reception with another member of staff from this ward that the patient was originally from and will inform the staff that the patients has arrived, they will also collect the patients notes and hand these over to the staff, this is another form of communication as these notes record every aspect of the patients medical history and can serve as a reference for the doctor. The nurse then checks the patient into the theatre with the other member of staff. They have a theatre care plan with a list of questions and checks that need to be carried out, these will be ticked of as they go along, this includes the patient name bands, asking the patient their name and date of birth and whether they have any known drug allergies, they will check that the hospital number on the id band corresponds with the number on the notes so that they know it is the correct patient and all this information will be carried over to the operating staff. The consent is then checked an verified with the patient and they are asked if they understand the procedure they are having and that is matches what’s on the consent and then they are asked to confirm the signature on the back of the consent form. This is mainly through verbal communication and is through talking and asking questions, this is then all relayed to paper and this allows it to be communicated to anyone who needs to know. Throughout the patients procedure there are many more verbal checks that are made amongst the theatre team to confirm that it is the correct patient and correct procedure this all happens prior to the operation, once the arrive in recovery following their procedure, it is communicated again, this is also documented on a computer, this allows the information to be communicated digitally as well as verbally and orally.

In other scientific environments there are many other types of communication, this can include email, fax, phone, and even through written letters.


Unit 2 Assignment 1 Task 1

An operating theatre is a place in the hospital where multiple operations take place upon patients. There is a wide variety of staff that all work together as a team to achieve the best possible outcome for the patient. There are many different surgical specialties. Elective operations run on a daily basis and theatre utilization is from 8:30 – 5:30, during this time they will fit in as many operations as possible to maximize the usage of the equipment and staff. This could be made up of an all day list, all morning list or and all afternoon list. The exceptions are the emergency theatre and the obstetric theatre which both run on a 24 hour basis, for emergencies only. The theatre involves many different specialty staff these will include; The theatre porter who is responsible for transporting the patients to and from the theatre, the HCA who is responsible for responsible top the scrub practitioner, and makes sure that all equipment is available for the necessary operations, the stocking up and cleaning of theatres and understanding the sterile field, the scrub practitioner assists the surgeon in the process of the operation, handing the required instruments to the surgeon so that they can effectively carry out the procedure, the surgeons who can be a consultant, registrar or a SHO (senior house officer) specializing in the area of surgical expertise and carrying out the operation, the anaesthetist who is responsible for the successful anaesthetic to the patient and administering effective pain relief throughout the procedure and post-operatively so that the operation can be carried out smoothly, Anaesthetic assistant is responsible for ensuring that the anaesthetist has all the necessary equipment and assist them throughout the operation.

The theatre environment there are many different procedures and practices that are carried out on a day-to-day basis, for example, General Surgery such as appendicectomy, hernia and gall bladder. Urology which includes removal of kidney stones and bladder tumors. ENT which involves tonsillectomy, grommits, and thyroid removal. Gynaecology which includes hysterectomy’s and ovarian cyst removal. Trauma and Orthopaedics, this includes hip replacements, and broken wrists and bones. Opthalmic theatre which includes catarac operations as well as any in-eye or outer-eye procedures. Obestetrics which is elective and emergency c-sections. These procedures are carried out as a diagnosis has been made and by carrying out the operation it either removes the problem that has been found and improves the patients quality of life.




NASA is an American organisation that focuses on space exploration and research. NASA is responsible for the on-going project to explore Mars. They where responsible for putting the man on the moon and various other projects.

GSK is a pharmaceutical research and development company based in the UK. They are responsible for creating medicines and vaccines.

Cancer Research UK is a charity that aims to help and support those who their family members and themselves have been diagnosed with cancer.

The British Heart Foundation is a charity that help support the research against heart disease. They mainly focus on research into heart disease and try to find new ways of helping those with heart disease.

SpaceX is a American company that is involved in space technology development.  Much like NASA they are currently focusing on mars, Elon Musk the CEO of SpaceX aims to make life inter-planetary, so essentially to colonise on mars.

Breast Cancer uk is another charity that aims to help those who are affected by breast cancer.