For lab workers in Ohio, workplace safety can be very important. There are over 500,000 people in the United States working in laboratories, and they may face a number of significant dangers on the job, including chemical, biological and radiological toxins as well as typical concerns about space, comfort and safety in the case of an emergency. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration laboratory standards were created to define ways in which workers in laboratories should be protected, including employees in research labs, chemical storage facilities, waste handling and loading docks for lab facilities.
Any employer that operates a laboratory using hazardous chemicals must follow and implement the standards specified by OSHA for safety in the lab in order to protect workers from injuries on the job. Each employer must specify a chemical hygiene officer to provide guidance in writing a chemical hygiene plan. This plan provides detailed policies to protect workers from toxic exposure and other dangers on the job. It can specify work practices as well as personal protective equipment that shields workers from direct exposure to dangerous substances. In some cases, special protections are mandatory, including when workers handle some chemicals that can cause cancer or reproductive harm.
In these cases, decontamination procedures and special equipment like fume hoods may be necessary to prevent occupational exposure. In order to meet OSHA standards, laboratories must provide workers with sufficient training to detect and handle hazards. This includes providing information about symptoms of toxic exposure, limits for permissible contact and any other specific guidelines.
OSHA standards exist to protect workers' health, but some employers fail to live up to their responsibilities to abide by the law. When workers are injured due to a violation of safety standards, a workers' compensation lawyer may help them to seek appropriate benefits.