Safety Video 2 – Personal Safety Equipment

December 2, 2019 posted by


Let’s say a bit more about lab safety. When
you’re in a lab there are two aspects: personal
safety equipment – that’s the stuff that you wear and carry
with you in the lab, and safety equipment, which stays in the
laboratory. In order for a chemical to do you physical harm it has to somehow enter your body, and personal safety equipment is all
about blocking those routes of entry into your body. There are four possible routes of entry,
ways that a hazardous substance can get into your body and do you harm. They are 1) inhalation – breathing it in through your nose 2) ingestion – swallowing it 3) injection – entering through your skin through a needle, or more likely a broken glass cut and 4) by skin or eye contact. The idea is to block all of those routes
of entry. We will go from the top down and dress a chemist properly for a lab. Now let’s start at the top: your head. In an environment where
falling objects are a real risk, wear a hard hat. in the Chem Eng lab, WB125,
there’s a mezzanine level so people working above you, and you’ll need to wear a hard hat. However in the lab, Lash Miller labs that’s not the case. so you don’t actually need a hard hat here. Next: ears. You shouldn’t be exposed to more than 90
decibels for more than 15 minutes and if so you will need earplug
protection. We will provide ear plugs when you visit the steam plant in your
third-year. but again, the Lash Miller labs are pretty quiet. However you do need to be able to hear those around you so you don’t wear iPod earphones like that. Next come your eyes. this is THE most important safety equipment that you can wear. Your eyes are soft, they
are squishy, they come two to a customer, and they
cannot be replaced. So always ALWAYS wear eye protection in a lab to block that particular route of entry. There are many different kinds of eye protection. You really need something in front of your eyes all the
time. You can either have safety glasses which are curved to fit the shape of your brow, and
also have side shields to protect you against splashes from the
side. There are visors which also will fit
over your glasses. There are goggles: these form a good positive seal, and in fact provide
you with a slightly better protection than the glasses will. Sometimes these tend to steam up, particularly if
you have a rather warm personality. If that is the case for you, then we do
have some face masks that we will lend you during the lab. Eventually you get used to your voice
echoing back to you, but this will protect your entire face
against splashes and spills. However don’t wear the face mask like this
[with the visor lifted] because again, this is providing zero protection to
me. You can get safety prescription glasses with side shields: these are actually my
personal prescription. One thing that you should NOT wear in
the laboratory is contact lenses. That is for two reasons. First of all, if there is an acute problem [a splash] the lens inside your eye is a foreign object. If, against all probability, you get chemical spilled in your eye, then the contact lens will cause it to be
much more difficult to wash that chemical out of your eye. So it makes the cleanup much harder. The
other reason is every day: even if there hasn’t been a
spill, a contact lens will absorb organic chemicals from the
atmosphere. What will happen is that the lens, which
is right up against your cornea, is absorbing chemicals and will be intensely irritating; especially if
you’ve got organic fumes around you. Sometimes in the worst
situations the contact [lens] become so sticky that it
needs to be physically removed by a doctor because it has glued itself to your cornea. So if you are in a laboratory please DO NOT WEAR CONTACT LENSES – you need to be wearing your own prescription spectacles if you do need eye correction. Here we have an example of why you should always wear eye protection. This is a pair of goggles which was in use by a student in this lab. He was doing an organic synthesis and the preparation sprayed in his face. This is not made up, this is a genuine
pair of glasses and you’ll notice the splash is all over the eyepiece of the goggles. That chemical would have been in his eyes if he had not been wearing them. It never happens when you’re expecting it. This is why you always always wear eye
protection. If you’re in a particularly dusty area you may want have a face mask like
this, which is commonly used and available at places like Canadian Tire. However these protect from particulate waste only – they do absolutely nothing against compounds in the vapor phase, which will pass
straight through the mask. If you are dealing with vapor phase nasty chemicals your best defense is in fact to do it
inside the fume hood rather than pretend you’re going to stop it
with one of these – because it won’t. Next: your mouth This is a great way to get chemicals
into your body – we use it that way every time we eat a
meal. Unlike your nose and your eyes, you can close your mouth so the rule is: no eating, no drinking, no chewing gum and no chewing pencils in the lab. You don’t use your mouth to suck liquid into a pipette. Now your shoulders: if you’ve got hair
long enough to hit your shoulders it should be tied back out of the way so
that it doesn’t swing forward into machinery or equipment. You can
either wear ball caps, [or a hijab], or you can tie it back: the rule is – if
it’s long enough to go into a ponytail you should keep it in a ponytail. Next, your torso: wear either a lab coat or coveralls. When you put the lab coat on make sure that you actually put it ON.
I have here an *experienced* lab coat – it has been through the wars. Now if you look at it, both front and back, you’ll notice that the stains are heaviest out where the lab coat is doing
its job – protecting you from chemical spills down
the front, and at the end of the sleeves. I frequently see people wearing a lab coat as I’m wearing this one now. You’ll
notice that I am NOT protected in precisely those most
vulnerable areas: down the front and at the end of my sleeves. So if you are
actually wearing a lab coat, make sure that you wear it [properly], which means the sleeves all the way to your cuffs, and
do the buttons up. This is the best way to inhibit chemical spills, and minimize the
exposure that you have to them. If you spill a chemical, gravity being
what it is, it will most likely splash on you from
the waist or counter-top height and down, so your legs should always be
covered – either with pants or a skirt or your coveralls, all the way to to the ankles. Your shoes should be closed toed: not sandals, no crocs, no open toed shoes. While we’re at it, in winter people frequently wear their
pant legs tucked into their boots. But don’t leave
them that way in the lab: chemicals dropped from above can go
straight to your foot funneled by the leg of the boot. Now at the end of your sleeves are your hands, so you should protect those with gloves
if you’re handling chemicals. Depending on the particular chemical
hazard you have, you may want to choose a different kind of glove. Latex
gloves, which are available very easily and are in fact very comfortable and
stretch are very useful if you are dealing with dilute aqueous solutions only. They are not recommended for organic
chemistry labs like this because they will dissolve in an organic
solvent. It’s better in that case to use nitrile gloves which are usually either blue or green. These ones do not
stretch as much, but they are much more resistant to organic chemical solvents and to slightly corrosive aqueous ones, so these are the ones we recommend that you use in the second year laboratory. You could also use just good ol’ reliable dishwashing gloves that you can get from your local supermarket. Now these are in fact more resistant and so you can use these multiple times. However they’re not quite
as flexible. When they start to smell, that is once they have started to absorb some chemicals, then it’s time to discard them. They will last probably about one term in this course. For more vicious chemical situations then maybe heavier gloves. This is quite resistant but it’s going
to be difficult to manipulate them. We’ve also got really heavy ones but
it’s rather hard to use my hands and my fingers with this
particular glove. If you need something more chemically
resistant than the nitrile gloves, we will provide that for you. Don’t
forget the gloves can get contaminated. Take them off before you leave the lab, or
before you touch a computer keyboard. When you’re discarding gloves, grab the cuff and turn the glove inside out, and that
way the nasties are inside. You should discard them in the paper
garbage.

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