When conducting risk assessments, job safety analyses, or evaluating the hazards associated with laboratory space, remember to think about the small hazards as well as the high hazards. One ‘small’ hazard that should be addressed is substituting plasticware for glassware whenever possible in order to reduce the risks associated with broken glass.
This is an important step to take in order to reduce the potential for a cut or scrape to occur from broken glass. Of course, broken glass is a hazard in itself, but it also increases the risk of exposure to the materials in use. If full foot coverage is not required by the established personal protective equipment policy for your labs, the risk of serious foot injury from shards of glass exists. Training lab staff should involve instructing individuals not to pick up broken glass with their gloved hands, but rather use a scoop and scraper or dustpan and broom. However, what happens when the scoop and scraper is not readily available when a bottle is dropped and glass is everywhere? The natural reaction may be to go ahead and very carefully pick the glass up with a gloved hand, after all you have done it at home without incident.
Proactively reduce the risks associated with glass in your labs and substitute plastic when possible.