Activities in development labs are often of unpredictable character. Exotic materials, unorthodox use of tools and equipment and a rapid change of activities when new ideas develop make it difficult, if not impossible, to respect safety regulations. It may even be that no relevant safety regulations exist.
In such circumstances, the first precaution to be taken is to apply one's common sense, assisted by as good a knowledge about the characteristics of the stuff to be handled as can be obtained. A brief meditation before attacking the problem may also be beneficial to safe working conditions.
32.2 - Work Inadapted to Equipment or Premises
It is sometimes tempting to use available equipment or tools in a way not originally foreseen or to do some work to which the premises have not been adapted. Although this may be due to a recommendable creativity, a good portion of restraint must be exercised in such cases in order to achieve the intended result. If there subsists the slightest doubt about the suitability of the operation, contact the appropriate SC service so that the necessary precautions can be taken and adequate safety equipment made available. Don't think of the safety organisation as being there to stop you from doing interesting things, it is there to help you achieve success.
32.3 - The Working Environment
Keep the lab or workshop as free as possible from unused or unnecessary stuff. Get rid of empty packing boxes, bottles or containers, they may form obstacles to access or emergency evacuation or simply clutter up your working space and make safe and efficient working more difficult. They also add unnecessarily to the amount of combustible material in case of a fire.
Label chemicals correctly, keep them in appropriate bottles (no chemicals in food-stuff bottles), store them in appropriately ventilated cupboards and put them away as soon as you have finished using them.
Chemical products (for instance glues, solvents) must never be kept together with food-stuff or beverages in the same refrigerator.
Verify the content of the first-aid equipment and complete it whenever it has been used.
Verify that all necessary warning labels are put up at the proper place and that they are taken down again when no longer relevant.
Verify that all safety equipment needed for a particular job is present before starting the activity.
Get to know your working environment, in particular where to find:
a fire extinguisher,
an emergency stop,
an alarm telephone,
an emergency exit.
32.4 - Safe Working Practices
Approved professional working practices will in general also bring about safe working habits. Nevertheless, the following advice cannot but improve your chances of completing your work successfully.
When considering a dangerous or unusual operation, think ahead about the possible
actions to take if things go wrong.
Avoid doing safety critical work when you are alone.
If the safety rules in force must be disregarded in order to perform some indispensable operation, discuss with SC before you start.
Take care about wearing protective devices or clothing when appropriate, such as goggles, reinforced shoes, gloves, ear protections, breathing filter, or whatever is indicated.
You stand a better chance of surviving a high voltage shock if you remember always to keep one hand in your pocket. This will also help keeping you from unintentionally touching some live component.
Scalpels break easily and the pieces go preferentially into one's eyes, so wear goggles.
Be careful about used syringes, dispose of the sharp needles in a dedicated container.
When climbing onto ladders or other objects, make sure that they are steady and strong enough and in a position that does not put you at risk of falling or dropping some object. Beware of gravity!
Don't hesitate to contact the relevant SC service. The experts are happy to help you with information and advice about any question concerning safety: yours, other persons' or that of the equipment.