A chemical leak is characterized by discharge of a chemical compounds. It commonly occurs during haulage, storage, handling and disposal of compounds with chemical characteristics. Spilling of chemicals is a frequent incident in many labs.
Necessary steps to clean the spill are extremely imperative due to their perilous nature. Chemical spills may cause immediate peril to the life and wellbeing of a person (St. Clair, St. Clair & Given 231). Reasonable steps of spill preclusion and availing sufficient resources to clean up unintentional spills are indeed critical.
The chemicals may be combustible, noxious, acerbic, reactive or volatile, and may lead to difficulties in inhalation, skin problems and blindness. Necessary steps to stop chemical spills should always be in place for the staff to know proper work practices while handling chemicals (Horswell 32). The containers must be made using unbreakable materials. Compound wastes should be eliminated separately, preferably through incineration.
There are certain procedures outlined in laboratories to counter the spill of chemicals. Everybody in the laboratory should wear shielding specs, gloves and lab coats after being informed of the spill (St. Clair, St. Clair & Given 248). The spill must be constrained to a small region and cleaned right away. If it is combustible, all sources of heat should be instantly turned off; furthermore, materials used in the clean up should then be disposed properly and labeled as hazardous.
Labs work with a set of chemicals in different conditions. The storage, decanting, moving and discarding of chemicals therefore require strict procedures during handling. Chemical containers should be easy to retrieve, and be kept higher than the eye plane. Chemicals containers should be inspected for leaking, and old ones be regularly replaced.
They should be transported in secure cans which must be fixed firmly. Laboratory devices should always be inspected for cracks before they are used in handling chemicals (St. Clair, St. Clair & Given 248). It is not forgotten that the position of a chemical leak kit should always be known before one uses chemical compounds. Incompatible wastes must never be mixed together while disposing chemical materials.
The OSHA protocol requires new and established employees to be trained on health and safety in their careers. While elimination of risk is impossible, necessary risk-reduction measures must be taken. There are specific terminologies to identify lab employees who have met certain specific training requirements. Pictorial representation is preferred over written work, and simple guidelines are given to encourage cooperative, deliberate safety and health programs in the lab (Moran 9).
In the forensic labs, rudiments of environmental wellbeing and safety should be strictly considered. Proper coordination in the laboratory is important because the mistake of one individual may compromise the safety of others (St. Clair, St. Clair & Given 229). Productivity should never be put before the safety of the individuals in the laboratory. The required quantity of chemicals should be used in crime scenes, and excess spillage must be cleaned.
The analysis of drugs and chemicals which may be used in diverse crime scenes are handled in the forensic science laboratory (Horswell 32). Samples of chemical supplies recovered should be placed in labeled envelopes which are resistant to corrosion. Forensics involves labs bursting with digital activity, high-tech apparatus and visiting of crime sites. The safety regulations observed in the labs is not different from those followed in typical labs (Petraco and Kubic 230).
Care must always be taken while in the laboratory to shelter everybody from harm. Necessary lab gear should always be in place, and equipment to deal with chemical spills must be at hand. The main priority is ensuring individual safety, and most importantly, that of other users of the laboratory. The OSHA protocol emphasizes on training which every employer must subject its workforce to in order to ensure both wellbeing and security in the lab.
Horswell, John. The practice of crime scene investigation. London: CRC press, 32-34
Petraco, Nicholas. & Kubic, Thomas. Forensic science laboratory manual and workbook. London: CRC press, 2005 220-240
St. Clair Jami, St. Clair Michael & Given, Jo. Crime laboratory management. London: Academic press, 2003. 231-260
Moran, Mark. The OSHA training answer book (2nd edn). Florida: Safety certified Inc, 2008 9-140