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Research on laboratory safety issues published
Scientists from Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences (KIAS) published their research findings on the laboratory safety issues of chemistry teaching labs in Nepal on a prestigious peer reviewed journal – Plos One.
Hundreds of thousands of students use chemical laboratories in hundreds of educational institutes in Nepal every year. These laboratories are important to give practical education to the students. However, students have to work with hazardous chemicals along with various equipment and glassware in the lab. Working in laboratories without correct protocol and safety precautions can be a risk to life of students and teachers.
A group of Nepali researchers found that the teaching chemical laboratories in Nepal lack basic safety system. The authors of the Plos One paper are Dr. Basant Giri and Dr. Bhanu Bhakta Neupane from Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences (KIAS) and Mr. Krishna Kandel from Birendra Multiple Campus, Tribhuwan University.
In this research, chemistry teachers in Nepal were surveyed to understand the conditions of different aspects of chemical laboratory safety. Seventy questions about laboratory safety, equipment used in the laboratory, correct methods and processes to be followed in laboratory and management of wastes from laboratories were asked in the survey. According to the paper, maximum respondents told that Nepal does not have any policy regarding laboratory safety and there are no safety monitoring and regulation practices in Nepal. Many of the laboratories did not have fundamental safety equipment. There are no institutional methods and policies to dispose lab waste. 79 % of respondents said that the wastes generated from their laboratories are being disposed as regular household wastes. 88 % of respondents involved in the survey highlighted the need of trainings and regular workshops on laboratory safety.
According to the lead researcher, Dr. Giri, despite the government’s negligence on lab safety, there have been some efforts from teachers and colleges on individual interest. Authors have made some recommendation in the paper. They suggested having a mandatory safety protocols for laboratories from schools to colleges and the protocol must be strictly followed. Offering a course of at least one credit hour about the laboratory safety might be effecting to train students.
The Plos One article can be read and downloaded free of cost.
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