Ensure safe laboratory operations with a risk assessment from specialists

Your laboratory employees are constantly exposed to chemical substances and hazardous materials as well as other hazards in the course of their work. This can easily lead to health hazards such as inhalation of toxic vapors, chemical burns, skin irritation or burns and explosions. For this reason, special care must be taken in the laboratory during all work processes. A regular risk assessment helps to identify potential sources of danger and to mitigate them by implementing suitable protective measures.

Every company is obliged to carry out such risk assessments in laboratories on a regular basis. The basis for this includes the provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (ArbSchG), the Hazardous Substances Ordinance (GefStoffV) and the Biological Substances Ordinance (BioStoffV).

Initial information on which aspects need to be considered in the risk assessment in the laboratory is provided by the risk catalog of the German Social Accident Insurance Institution for the raw materials and chemical industry (BG RCI) and the current versions of information 213-850 "Safe working in laboratories" and 213-086 "Biological laboratories" published by the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV).

Risk assessment in laboratories - play it safe!

Risk assessment in the laboratory is a process that requires a great deal of specialist knowledge about typical laboratory activities, spatial conditions and the current legal situation.

Anyone who works in a company's own laboratories on a daily basis is at risk of becoming "blind" and simply no longer noticing many hazards. In addition to the typical hazards associated with handling chemical substances, there are other health risks in the laboratory that may not always be directly "on the radar", for example:

  • Rooms with inadequate lighting or ventilation
  • Inadequate fire protection
  • Inadequate escape routes
  • High noise pollution
  • Unexpected interactions between hazardous substances
  • Unergonomic workplaces that place unfavorable strain on the musculoskeletal system
  • Psychological stress factors
  • Missing or inadequate operating instructions
  • Missing or inadequate emergency equipment

As an employer, you are obliged to carry out a risk assessment. However, you have the option of having internally trained employees with specialized expertise or external service providers advise you on the risk assessment of your laboratories or of entrusting the entire process to experienced laboratory experts such as Infraserv Höchst.

Structured approach according to plan

Infraserv Höchst has been a laboratory operator for decades and is very familiar with all current regulations. We use proven checklists for laboratory risk assessments that cover the hazards in all laboratory areas and can be customized to fit any company situation.

All laboratory risk assessment processes follow a clearly structured and well-established scheme:

  1. Determine tasks and areas of activity
    Once all laboratory activities have been recorded, clear laboratory activity areas are defined. All areas with similar hazards and measures can be assigned to a work area. Laboratory employees contribute to the risk assessment in interviews and site inspections, as they are most familiar with the hazards in daily laboratory operations.
  2. Identify and evaluate hazards and risks
    Hazard factors and risks in laboratory operations must always be determined at all laboratory workstations and for each laboratory activity.
  3. Determine suitable protective measures
    In addition to legal requirements such as the Ordinance on Hazardous Substances and Biological Agents, employee surveys and laboratory inspections play an important role in the development of the risk assessment. Existing documents such as operating instructions or documentation from previous risk assessments can also be used. The aim is to create a risk matrix to prioritize the risks according to potential severity of damage, probability of occurrence and frequency of activity in order to later process the necessary protective measures according to urgency.
  4. Implement protective measures
    Wherever possible, hazardous substances are replaced by less hazardous substances (substitution). Sometimes structural changes are also necessary, for example to ensure optimum ventilation, to defuse "tripping hazards" or to optimize escape and rescue routes. Equally important: checking and, if necessary, improving employees' personal protective equipment and organizing regular training, safety training and instruction.
  5. Checking the effectiveness of protective measures and improving them if necessary
    The protective measures taken do not always have the desired effect immediately. It can happen that the redesign of work processes does not achieve the protection target or even creates new problem areas. Regular checks of the protective measures are therefore necessary in order to identify and rule out any existing or new hazards.
  6. Update the risk assessment and document it in detail
    All measures taken as part of the risk assessment must be regularly updated and documented - this includes, for example, laboratory conversions, new buildings, the purchase of new machines, changes to work processes or even accidents and work-related illnesses among employees. The data obtained in this way forms the basis for updating the risk assessment.

Protect employees and meet all legal requirements

As you can see: Laboratory risk assessment is not something that can be done "on the side"; it requires extensive expertise and know-how.

Infraserv Höchst is your expert partner for your laboratory risk assessment and for all other areas of your company. We would be happy to provide you with detailed, non-binding advice.

Arrange a risk assessment consultation now