Health and Safety in a Clinical Laboratory

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Health and safety at work act (1974) show that it is a duty of every employer to ensure as far as reasonably practice to health safety and welfare at work of all of its employees. Risks assessments must be carried out when more than 5 people are employed and implement changes as necessary. Risk assessment is a carefully recorded examination of what might cause harm and accidents to people in work places e.g. staff, visitors, patients, clients and contractors. Many activities are undertaken in clinical laboratories therefore anyone entering is at risk at pathological specimen. Staff must observe important precautions to protect both themselves and others. The degree of risk will depend upon the sort of work they do and how well they observe the safety rules. Infection control is very important in laboratories because infections may be acquired by breathing in airborne droplets or dust containing infectious micro-organisms and others may be through abrasions wounds or liquid splashing onto mucous membranes into eyes. Any form of cuts or dermatitis should be covered by waterproof dressing before start of work. The cover must be enough to prevent contamination and if in doubt ask the line manager. Personal protection equipment [PPE] is very important from reducing the spread of infections. In laboratories always wear a protective gown or coat to protect own clothing from acting as transmitter for infection. Gowns should be changed at least twice per week and neither should personal things such as pencils, combs, brushes taken into the laboratory. Essential items are always provided. Gloves should be worn when handling specimen. If gloves become perforated you should stop work immediately and dispose of into appropriate bin. Wash hands thoroughly and put new gloves. When gowns are contaminated they should be changed and placed in appropriate container and hands should be washed and put new clean coat. Food, drink,...
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