SMART Academy for Healthcare - Lab Safety

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Thinking of becoming a Healthcare Technician?

As a paramedic or healthcare technician, you will have to work in Labs, be it in a Hospital or a diagnostic centre.  It is important that you learn about Lab Safety, what does it mean, the rules, dress code, gears and other pre-requisites to work in a laboratory.

Laboratory rules are commonly known as the Lab Safety rules which are measures taken to know how to work in laboratories. All laboratories have a common set of Lab Safety rules which are updated or improved as per the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) requirements. Individuals or students who are interested in a career in Labs, for e.g. – Medical Laboratory Technician, Phlebotomy Technicians, Lab Assistants in educational institutes etc. are advised to follow these Laboratory Safety rules. These Lab Safety guidelines mainly comprise basic common-sense rules, safety equipment, proper signage, and safely using laboratory equipment in case of emergencies. This blog provides complete details and instructions on Lab Safety along with other necessary information.

Lab Safety – General Rules and Guidelines in case of an Emergency

As mentioned above, the general rules regarding Lab Safety are common for all laboratories. Also, these rules and policies must be updated regularly. Some of the general rules and regulations for Lab Safety in case of an emergency are provided below:

  1. One must be familiar with the fire safety signs and instructions like – Danger Fire Risk, Fire Door, Fire Exit, Fire Hose Reel, Direction Arrow, Radiation Area, etc. and act accordingly
  2. Follow the evacuation plan of the building or facility
  3. Use the safety equipment as per the requirement (e.g. – the first aid kit, fire extinguishers, wash stations, etc.)
  4. For rescue operations, call the emergency phone numbers which are displayed in the lab or building to report the situation
  5. Refer to the marking of lab equipment and areas and act accordingly. E.g. wear protective gears before entering a radiation area or while handling radioactive materials
  6. In case of a fire, press the alarm and go towards the fire exit sign
  7. While using fire sprinklers, make sure that an area of 36-inch diameter is kept clear
  8. Turn off all the electrical appliances in case of any emergency (e.g. – fire, earthquake, leakage of gas, etc.)

Lab Safety – Working in Laboratories

As a healthcare technician working in a laboratory is equally responsible for safety within the lab. You can ensure Lab Safety by reviewing the work practices, inspection of the facility, using engineering controls and protective equipment, mandatory training, correction of noted deficiencies, etc. While working in a lab, you are advised to use glassware and other equipment under the guidance of a supervisor. Lab assistants, Medical Laboratory Technician, interns or other technicians using a laboratory on a regular basis must make sure that the lab is registered as per the required norms. Also, everyone working in labs must have proper training from certified institutes.

Lab Safety – Dress Codes and Protection Gears

Laboratory dress codes are a clear set of policies that everyone must follow. Also, the dress code policies include personal protection covers or gears that must be worn during experiments. The Lab Safety dress code and protection gears will help you to protect yourselves from toxic acids and chemicals. Some of the common Dress Codes and Protection Gears widely used for Laboratory Safety are as follows –

S. No. Dress Codes Protection Gears
1. Long hair must be tied back Wear safety glasses while working with hazardous materials
2. Avoid wearing jewellery and loose clothes Make sure that you wear gloves while handling chemicals
3. Wear footwear that completely covers your feet Wash your hands properly after leaving the lab
4. Avoid wearing shorts Wear face shields during the experiment that includes heat or chemicals

Lab Safety in Tech Mahindra SMART Academies for Healthcare

Laboratory safety is taken very seriously at all the Tech Mahindra SMART Academies for Healthcare. The Lab safety norms and guides are an important part of the curriculum of the various courses that includes usage of laboratories. Students in SMART Academies are trained on working in hospital or diagnostic laboratories along with guidance on Lab Safety and precautions with special reference to the NABL guidelines, so that accidents are prevented. Besides the conceptual understanding, on-the-job training also act as a source for the first-hand experience to improve their working skills.

A job in a laboratory is an essential role in hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centres as well as universities, school and research centres around the world. This job extends beyond a typical career path for those who enjoy it! The foremost reason for lab safety education lies in the fact that from chemicals and compressed gases to glassware, electrical equipment, cryogens and vacuum pumps, laboratories are filled with dangerous tools. One has to keep themselves and others safe while performing any experimental procedure. When working in a lab, it is important for a technician to have a knack of working with the equipment in her/his working area, even if they aren’t of use to them. It’s also crucial to be cautious of what other researchers, coworkers and peers are using around you.

We hope and wish that every technician is well trained and aware about laboratory safety rules and procedures. Wishing all the technicians a great learning experience at the Tech Mahindra SMART Academy and beyond.

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