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Study Notes: Safety, It’s Common Sense!

The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is mandatory while working in a laboratory environment due to the inherent dangers associated with many of the samples and chemicals as well as equipment and instruments.

Some items of PPE such as enclosed foot wear are compulsory to wear at all times, while for certain activities specific PPE will be necessary. An example is the use of a face shield and heat resistant gloves while transporting liquid nitrogen (–196º C). These items provide protection against the danger of frostbite in the event of splashes. A sign showing images of safety glasses, overalls and gloves and warning that these PPE items must be worn in the area.

Whilst the wearing of PPE is critical, the main way to protect yourself is to know and follow safe practices and procedures. Some of these will be documented in enterprise safety manuals and test methods but many are just common sense! To minimise the chance of frostbite from liquid nitrogen you would, of course, decant the material carefully.


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