- Technologists want safe, secure lab to pervent exposure to toxic chemicals
The management of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, FUNAAB, Ogun State has abtosolved itself from the illegal substance found with one of its drivers who was arrested by security agents recently.
According to a statement by the Head, Directorate of Public Relations Mrs. Emi’ Alawode, the university is a responsible and law-abiding organisation, which is committed to upholding all statutory enactments guiding its establishment, subsisting legislation in Ogun State and the nation in general.
She explained that the attention of the university had been drawn to the incidence which occurred on Saturday, August 12, 2017, in which one of its drivers, using the university official vehicle in his possession, was said to have been apprehended along Olorunda, Ogun State by law enforcement agents, for allegedly being in possession of substances suspected to have been smuggled.
“Already, the university has put the necessary machinery in place, to carry out proper investigations, to ascertain what actually transpired on the said date on one hand, while law enforcement agents, on the other hand, would be allowed and supported to perform their statutory duties in the overall interest of all citizens,” she stated.
Meanwhile, technologists and laboratory scientists in the institution have called for safe and secured laboratories, in order to prevent exposure to toxic chemicals and avoidable accidents while working.
The call was made during a one-day training workshop for laboratory technicians and scientists, titled “New Trends in Laboratory Safety 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, FUNAAB, Prof. 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 VC, who was represented at the occasion by the Director (CEADESE), Prof. Okanlawon Onagbesan, 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.
He 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. The VC also 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.
In his lecture , the Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Science Laboratory Technology (NISLT), Mr. Yemi Gbadegesin, who spoke through a Safety Officer from the Institute, Mr. Akinfe Micklem 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.
Mr. Gbadegesin identified general hazards in the laboratory to include fire, glassware, spillage, gas cylinder explosion, cryogenics and electrical equipment breakdown. He cautioned against some habits like eating and smoking in the laboratories, wearing of make-ups, touching of one’s face, while mouth-eye should be avoided in the process of working with chemicals as we9ll as chewing of pencils and pen.
The expert strongly advised that every laboratory user should endeavour to wash his/her hands before leaving the laboratory. According to the him, “the overall safety in the laboratory is in every laboratory user’s responsibility”.