Spotlight on Safety

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The following is a list of safety products that are recommended for use in the Human Anatomy and Physiology laboratory classroom.

Non-latex and powder-free gloves

Using 100% nitrile or vinyl powder-free exam gloves eliminates the risk of developing latex hypersensitivity and allergic reactions.

Spring Loaded Recessed Blade Lancet

A retractable blade in the lancet reduces the risk of accidental punctures and facilitates safer disposal 

Ultraviolet Sterilization Cabinet

Ultraviolet light sterilizes safety goggles for student use in multiple laboratory sections.

Scalpel Blade Remover

A device that removes scalpel blades safely from scalpel handles and also collects the used blades for safe disposal as an enclosed unit.

Safety Goggles

Safety goggles should be routinely used to protect eyes from splashes of preservative  and specimen fragments when dissecting. Ventless goggles should be used for those who are contact lens wearers; others should wear indirect vent goggles.

Sharps Containers

Autoclavable, puncture resistant containers for the safe disposal of biohazardous sharp objects such as lancets, razor blades, glass microscope slides, and glassware. 

Disposable Lab Aprons

Polyethylene lab aprons to protect skin and clothing from preservatives.

Mylar Wrapped Capillary Tubes

For hematocrit exercises, use mylar wrapped capillary tubes to reduce the risk of broken tubes and accidental exposure.


Spotlight on Safety - Handle with Gloves!

 Gloves are an important part of the personal safety gear for students and instructors in the human anatomy and physiology laboratory. Laboratory gloves protect the wearer from hazardous biological materials and/ or chemicals. Different glove materials differ in their degree of protection. One important property to consider when choosing a glove material is the permeation rate or the time it takes for a chemical to diffuse through the glove. Another is dexterity; thinner gloves afford greater dexterity but usually have quicker permeation rates.

Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) include information on which glove material is appropriate for the handling of a particular chemical. For example, feline embalming fluid manufactured by one biological supply company identifies the following principal hazardous components: formaldehyde, propylene glycol, methanol, phenol, and sodium citrate. The accompanying MSDS recommends neoprene or nitrile gloves in handling of specimens embalmed in this solution.

Latex and nitrile gloves are the two most popular materials for disposable laboratory gloves. Both latex and nitrile gloves have very good permeation resistance to formaldehyde. Latex, manufactured from the milky fluid of the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) was the first material developed for use as disposable gloves but latex proteins can cause allergies in certain individuals. It is estimated that 5 to 20% of health care workers have developed some type of latex allergy. Powdered latex gloves have cornstarch to ease donning and removal but scatter latex proteins into the air increasing the area of exposure to these allergens. The use of powdered latex gloves should be eliminated.

Gloves should be removed by peeling off one glove, starting at the wrist. Care should be taken to prevent the surface of the glove coming in contact with the skin. The removed glove (now turned inside out) is used to peel off the remaining glove. Hands should be washed with soap after the gloves have been removed and properly disposed of. 


Spotlight on Safety Protective Eyewear - The Eyes Have It!


Serious eye injuries in the human A&P laboratory may occur from splashes of chemicals, vapors from preservatives, spray from wetting solutions, contamination with body fluids, or impact from bone chips. To protect the eyes from these hazards, a variety of safety eyewear is available: glasses, goggles, and face shields.

Safety glasses look like prescription eyeglasses but have sturdier frames and impact resistant lenses. Safety glasses are not sufficient to provide protection from major chemical splashes because they do not fit tightly against the face. Side shields can be added to safety glasses to improve protection.

Unlike safety glasses, goggles fit tightly against the face providing better protection from flying particles and chemical splashes. Ventilated goggles prevent fogging by allowing air to circulate and safety goggles can have either direct or indirect ventilation. Direct ventilation will stop the entry of large particles into the eye but goggles with indirect ventilation are constructed to prohibit hazardous materials from draining directly into the eye and are the better choice.

Face shields are commonly used to guard against splashes of body fluids or chemical spray and should be large enough to protect the ears, neck, and face. Face shields alone are not enough to defend against powerful impact from flying particles or large volumes of hazardous liquids and under these conditions, face shields should be worn with either safety glasses or goggles. If the primary danger is chemical splash, use goggles and a face shield. If there is danger of impact from flying particles, safety glasses should be worn under the face shield.

It is permissible to wear contact lenses in the laboratory but they do not offer any protection against chemical splashes and safety eyewear must be worn over them. If a contact lens becomes contaminated with hazardous chemicals, the eye should be rinsed at an eyewash station and the contact lens removed immediately and discarded. 

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