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OCR for page 28
28 On Being a S c i e n t i s t Laboratory Safety in Research In addition to human participants and animal subjects in research, governmental regulations and professional guidelines cover other aspects of research, including the use of grant funds, the sharing of research results, the handling of hazardous materials, and laboratory safety. These last two issues are sometimes overlooked in research, but no researcher or scientific discipline is immune from accidents. An estimated half million workers in the United States handle hazard- ous biological materials every day. A March 2006 explosion at the National Institute of Higher Learning in Chemistry in Mulhouse, France, killed a distinguished researcher and caused $130 million in damage. Researchers should review information and procedures about safety issues at least once a year. A short checklist of subjects to cover includes: • appropriate usage of protective equipment and clothing • safe handling of materials in laboratories • safe operation of equipment • safe disposal of materials • safety management and accountability • hazard assessment processes • safe transportation of materials between laboratories • safe design of facilities • emergency responses • safety education of all personnel before entering the laboratory • applicable government regulations