Adherence to safety practices and risks associated with toxic chemicals in the research and postgraduate laboratories at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Pretoria, South Africa

Liziwe Lizbeth Mugivhisa*, Khanyi Baloyi, Joshua Oluwole Olowoyo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The study investigated the knowledge of postgraduate students in the Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry departments regarding safety practices, protective measures and risks associated with toxic chemicals in the postgraduate and research laboratories. The study was exploratory and was conducted through administering 83 questionnaires. The results showed that the majority (78%) of the students received training on laboratory safety even though only 34% of them could identify all the warning signs associated with hazardous chemicals. Protective measures practised by students included wearing of buttoned laboratory coats (74%), closed shoes (78%), use of latex gloves (43%), correct use of dustbins for waste disposal (10%) and inspection of warning signs on chemical containers before use (54%), while only 25% of the students used fume cupboards. In case of an emergency, 72% knew what steps to take, whereas 28% were unaware of the steps to take. Students were aware of the potential risks associated with hazardous chemicals in the laboratory and had knowledge on the warning signs on chemicals even though adherence to the safety practices was still a problem. The majority of the participants felt that there was a need for continuous training on laboratory safety and regular reminders through the use of safety charts in laboratories.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAfrican Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • laboratory
  • management
  • perceptions
  • risks
  • toxic chemicals

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