A chemistry laboratory workbench. Enforcing strict safety protocols and intense training is key to protecting employees in any lab.Photo credit: Jean-Pierre from Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire (Nièvre, Burgundy region), France, Wikimedia CommonsWhether you’re a researcher for a large company or a student learning the ropes in a university lab, safety is always important, as there are always hazards to deal with in any facility. Cuts from broken glassware, burns from acid and the potential for fires are just a few dangers you may face in your lab.

That means strict safety rules must be in place in order to protect employees and prevent accidents. Central Michigan University (CMU), for example, has an intense training program for everyone using its labs, including fire safety, chemical materials safety training, and just reminding students and employees to use common sense.

“The number one thing I tell them is to think about what you’re doing to minimize the risk,” says Anthony Chappaz, an assistant professor of geochemistry at CMU to student newspaper Central Michigan Life. “I just want to make sure they are always paying attention.”

If you’re putting together safety protocols for your lab, this article on CMU’s policies is a great resource to help you get started.

It also covers the importance of pre-lab training for students before they set foot in a university lab, as well as posting signs and providing emergency kits all over the lab to remind staff to be safe and to be prepared in case something happens.

-With files from Central Michigan Life