Important Considerations While Dealing With Analytical Lab Safety

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Hazards in food testing could be a biological, radioactive or chemical in nature.Any food lab personnel that undertake analysis can be exposed to contaminated food and drinks.

Food safety

Therefore to safeguard their own safety personnel in the analytical laboratory must not prepare or consume any food or beverages in the laboratory as the food could be contaminated with these hazards. The break areas must be clearly demarcated from the lab working area so foods consumed by personnel do not get mixed with food for testing. Any glassware and utensils used for other operations like food testing must not be used for consuming or preparing foods and beverages by personnel for their own use.

Chemical safety

Laboratory workers in analytical food labs can exposed to all kinds of chemicals. To protect against any accidents these materials should be stored keeping in mind safe practices. The testing labs must have posters of written communication about potential chemical hazards. One of the key safe practices for chemicals is proper labeling of containers as well as hazard warning by the manufacturer of the chemical. There are specially designed cabinets used for storing poisonous or chemical materials and the cabinets must be under lock and key when not required. The bottle caps on containers of chemicals must not have cracks. Personnel must be appropriately trained about protective measures they need to use when handling these chemicals in testing labs for which Laboratory Courses are also available.

Personal safety

Personnel must ensure that the testing laboratory door remains closed all the time except to exit or enter. They mustwear gloves and lab coats all the time when undertaking food testing or working in the testing lab. These gloves and coats must not be brought into other areas especially areas where food is consumed. Before leaving the laboratory personnel must ensure that they have washed their hands thoroughly even if they have been wearing gloves. Before proceeding with any food testing it is important to always read the safety guidelines. One of the biggest hazards in an analytical laboratory comes from smoking cigarettes in the work area so that must be strictly avoided. Personnel must familiarize themselves with safety symbols and safety tips. They must also be aware of the exit areas and the place where fire extinguishers are located.

Safety Audits

Safety audits are carried out regularly in food analytical laboratories which include HPCL practices and disposal of hazardous materials. Proper storage of corrosive chemicals and hazardous elements and other electrical hazards prevents accidents and is an important area of focus for safety audit inspectors.Entry restriction is another area which must be adhered to strictly and entry must be strictly through a card entry system. Safety instructions and hazard signs must be prominently displayed. Proper ventilation and lighting will ensure personnel work safely. Electric power cords can be dangerous if they develop cuts from rodent bites. So they must be stored correctly and protected from rodents. Electrical panels must also be assessed regularly.