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Colorado laboratories may not be as safe as they could be

When many people in Denver think about workplace safety, they may not consider laboratories to be that dangerous. After all, when many people think about dangerous working conditions, they think about heavy machinery, heights or other kinds of risk factors, but laboratories can be quite dangerous themselves. A new study of laboratory safety has shown that slightly less than half of 2,400 scientists surveyed reported some kind of workplace injury.

With an approximate 50 percent rate of workplace injury, many people in Colorado would expect scientists to recognize the danger of laboratory work. Instead, 86 percent of respondents said that they considered their labs safe. Many of those same people had experienced some kind of injury, but many of them believed that it was just part of the job.

Many of the injuries were relatively minor, but approximately 30 percent of respondents said that had seen some serious injuries, those that required medical care. It is likely that these types of injuries have led to many lab workers in Colorado and elsewhere to take time off to recover and heal. While they are missing work, however, they would still need money and many of them may turn to workers' compensation to help cover their medical and other daily living expenses.

One of the most interesting parts of the study, however, is the difference in answers between junior and senior scientists. Junior scientists were much more likely to report that some employees would work alone in the lab than senior scientists. This data indicates that the senior scientists, despite holding leadership roles within the lab, are not completely aware of their labs' safety.

As with any other job, working in a lab comes with certain risks and when those risks cause injury to an employee, the employee is often eligible for workers' compensation.

Source: Nature, "Safety survey reveals lab risks," Richard Van Noorden, Jan. 2, 2013

To find out more about this study and laboratory safety, please visit the source above. If you want to learn about workplace safety, however, please visit our Denver workers' compensation page.

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Eley Law Firm
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