Lab Accidents

The best way to prevent lab accidents is to be prepared and knowledgeable about what you are working with such as equipment, chemicals, or biological materials. Having a range of knowledge for each type or chemical/biological class of hazard you will work with is called a “working understanding” of your environment in the lab.

  1. Hazard recognition and evaluation
  2. Risk evaluation
  3. Elimination and minimization of identified risks
  4. Attention to tasks being performed


  • Injuries- chemical or biological exposure, Thermal or Electrical Burns/Cuts/Other
  • Illness- Chemical or Biological exposure, chemical allergies or sensitization, repetitive trauma disorders
  • Damage/loss to equipment or facility- Fire/Explosion, work time lost to facility evacuation
  • Power failures
  • Ventilation failure/malfunction
  • Incidents/near miss situations
  • Other

OSEH- 647-1143

CoE Safety Incident Report

Work Connections Illness/Injury Form

Causes of Lab Accidents

  • Lack of working understanding of hazards
  • Improper or unintended use of equipment
  • Inexperienced
  • Distractions, lack/loss of attention to task
  • Broken, damaged glassware or equipment
  • Other

Procedures to protect yourself

  • Wear the proper personal protective equipment
  • Do not leave operations unattended
  • Do not work alone
  • Complete the proper safety training
  • Have regular safety inspections