Work in a laboratory, if not properly controlled, can present a significant risk to staff and students. No department could afford a major laboratory accident, which would have a devastating impact on the individuals involved and their department. In order to minimize the risk of laboratory operations, the following should be considered seriously and rigorously implemented
Safety should be factored into laboratory design and the installation of laboratory facilities and equipment before commencing work;
Personnel working in laboratories should have adequate safety training and supervision;
All activities in a laboratory should be in accordance with relevant safety guidelines and, if available, specific local safety rules such as Standard Operating Procedures (SOP);
Regular laboratory safety inspections should be conducted by departments to identify and control any unacceptable risk.
In terms of laboratory safety, the Safety Office advises departments on laboratory design, delivers basic and specific laboratory safety training to target groups, and provides safety guidance on certain hazardous laboratory operations.
To facilitate departments to improve their management of laboratory safety, the Safety Office has established and implemented a laboratory inspection programme which allows the safety performance of laboratories to be monitored. At the departmental level, a self-inspection tool kit has been made available to departments with laboratories for their regular use in identifying risks. This internal inspection is augmented with an external safety inspection by the Safety Office, at a frequency based on the inherent risk of the laboratory concerned.
The following are some useful information on various aspects of Laboratory Safety: