Occupational health and safety, regardless of the industry, is a very complex, but therefore all the more important topic for every employer. This is because the legal requirements in this area focus on the health and safety of their most valuable asset, i.e. their employees. Basically all employee activities are affected by these regulations. The laboratory is a workplace with very specific requirements with regard to safety measures and preventative health care. On the one hand, work is carried out in many areas with highly flammable, corrosive or other acutely toxic substances. On the other hand, the nature of typical laboratory work processes also affects the health of employees.
Occupational health and safety means responsibility – especially in the laboratory
In general, everyone is mutually responsible for each others safety in the laboratory. Every member of staff is obliged to do everything possible according to their role and expertise to carry out the duties assigned to them and to follow procedure. However, the employer bears the main responsibility for all major decisions about functional, organisational and personnel-related measures regarding occupational health and safety. In the case of a sole trader the owner is responsible; in a limited company it is the managing director, and in a university it is the head of the organisation – i.e. the president, rector or chancellor. They must ensure that any risks and hazards are identified and assessed by an expert. This assessment can also be accompanied or implemented by authorised public authorities.
Occupational health and safety needs to be lived day to day
Occupational health and safety is regulated down to the last detail by a wide variety of policies. Staying on top of things is a real challenge for many laboratory operators. One of the basic principles for effective occupational health and safety is good working conditions, which should always take account of human needs. This concerns, not least, the furniture provided in the individual work areas. Anyone looking for laboratory chairs, laboratory stools or standing rests would be well advised to focus on the competence of the producer in manufacturing high quality specialized furniture, so that not only the hygiene conditions are met, resulting in good results for the laboratory, but also health and safety requirements. This will be an investment in the health and safety of the employees and will help ensure occupational health and safety is supported and practised over the long term.
How laboratories implement occupational health and safety
A laboratory chair can help protect employees in numerous ways; for example, through the use of fireproof materials and the absence of pollutants. But permanent and static sitting is unhealthy for the body. Therefore, a chair in the lab should also have special ergonomic requirements. It should allow freedom of movement and have features which, for example, provide optimal relief for the forward-inclined sitting posture typical in laboratories and thus prevent adverse effects such as circulation problems.
Exhibitor Data Sheet