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NTP 500 – Regulation for risk prevention in laboratories


Action and protection items in emergency cases in laboratories

Work activity in a laboratory implies the use of a wide range of chemical products with high toxicity and danger degrees, and its manipulation for various operations. In this environment, accidents of different nature could be produced, but the consequences could be minimized if we dispose from the adequate action items in the proper moment. Its efficiency depends on the proper state and maintenance of these elements to a large extent, and the laboratory personnel training in its use.

Nowadays, there is not a regulation that forces the installation of these elements in laboratories, except the one related with the protection against fires. Despite that, its installation and good maintenance has to be demanded to establish a good planning of risk prevention in these premises.

Action and protection items are divided in five:

  • Safety showers: It is the most common emergency system for projection cases with risk of chemical burnings or even if fire burn clothes.
  • Eye bath stations: allow a rapid and efficient decontamination of eyes through a directed stream of potable water.
  • Fire blankets: allow an efficient action in the case of small fires and especially when clothes are burnt, as an alternative to safety showers. The use of fire blankets could avoid the movement of the burning subject in certain cases, which helps to limit the consequences of those.
  • Extinguishers: In the case of not being able to control small fires produced in laboratories, extinguishers must be used. These contain an agent or extinguisher substance that could be projected and directed over the fire by an internal pressure action.
  • Neutralizing: Other action and protection items for emergency procedures in the case of spills or accidental releases.
  • Emergency ventilation systems: Emergency ventilation is a system that generates a high extraction air flow to renew it and avoid possible respiratory conditions.

Protection items must be placed in accessible spaces from any other part of the laboratory, and closer enough from higher risk areas, trying to not generate risks when performing it.

Have these items in itself doesn't imply that other basic security measures must be disregarded. However, they must be in perfect condition and laboratory personnel must be familiarized with its use in an emergency case. So it is necessary that all action items will be correctly marked.

All in all, regulation NTP 500 is a useful guide to know all the security items needed in a laboratory and to prevent accidents that suppose smaller damages or even a major accident in this workplace. Its correct compliance ensures a good working environment even though not exempt of risk, but more prepared for them, taking into account the range of test done in a laboratory.

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