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Don't Become Complacent About Safety

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 8:48am

It’s human nature to become complacent and relaxed in a familiar and comfortable setting. Things become routine and you are able to navigate most of the day on autopilot. The lab is like home, a comfortable old friend. Now take a minute and think back to when you first started working in a lab and all was new and challenging. You were probably a bit on edge at the beginning not wanting to look completely clueless. You may have been somewhat awed by the equipment, the chemicals, the procedures, and the ease with which the others in the lab moved from task to task. You watched those with more experience around you and took their lead on how to conduct yourself or approach specific operations. Some things might have looked wrong or even dangerous but you saw the others walk past without a hint of concern. They were your mentors and were the keepers of the lab tradition so it must be OK. As this was all new, you took it in and accepted it as the way it should be.

Now there are years in the lab under your belt. You have seen success, had close calls, and probably some mishaps. You are now one of the mentors and keepers of tradition. Does the lab you manage represent the message you would want to pass on to those entrusted to you? Yoga instructors often say we should close our eyes and open them as a child to see the world anew. Thus we would ask that you do the same with your laboratory and take a walk through your lab, looking at all with the eyes of a child, with unprejudiced honesty of all you see. Reevaluate the safety equipment and procedures in your lab and make sure you are not becoming complacent about safety.

From: A Fresh Look at Your Old Lab: the Facilities by The Safety Guys

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