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Technologists Call for Safe Laboratories

Technologists and laboratory scientists in the University have called for safe and secured laboratories, in order to prevent exposure to toxic chemicals and avoidable accidents in the course of working. This call was madea during a one-day training workshop for alaboratory technicians and scientists, titled “New Trends in Laboratory Sazafety and Human Health,” jointly hosted by the Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Development and Sustainable Environment (CEADESE) and the Directorate of Technologists and Technical Staff (DITTECS) of the University.

Declaring the workshop open, the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ololade Enikuomehin, regretted that many laboratories were prone to significant risks while technologists, scientists and students were more exposed to numerous risks and hazards. The Acting Vice-Chancellor, who was represented at the occasion by the Director (CEADESE), Professor Okanlawon Onagbesa\an,  listed some of such risk factors to include high voltage, high and low pressures and temperatures, corrosive and toxic chemicals, and biohazards. He, however, called for great care and constant vigilance in the prevention of laboratory accidents and also tasked technologists and scientists making use of the laboratory to imbibe safety measures such as enforcing laboratory  policies, safety review of experimental designs, usage of personal protective equipment and attending workshops on safety training.

The Acting Vice-Chancellor described the workshop as timely, saying that it would bring back stakeholders’ conscious mind on the need to protect themselves and other users of laboratories and facilities. He charged participants to take the day’s discussion with all seriousness, so that they may enjoy their life after retirement, noting that occupational safety should not be taken for granted because people should be protected and be ready to protect themselves.

Delivering the lecture for the day, the Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Science Laboratory Technology (NISLT), Mr. Yem*i Gbadegesin, who spoke through a Safety Officer from the Institute, Mr. Akinfe Micklem had described a laboratory as the repository of che*zmicals, where numerous procedures and operations take place that required safety precautions. He also described safety in the laboratory as a condition in which risks, harm or damages are limited to an acceptable level. The guest lecturer charged every laboratory user to avoid negligence and basic human errors that take place in laboratories. He listed the aftermath of too much exposure to chemicals in the laboratories to include dermatitis, cancer, respiratory and cardiac diseases, ocular diseases, hearing defect conditions and blood-related diseases, among others.