Anyone who’s attended a high school chemistry class in Kansas knows the importance of lab safety. However, lab safety isn’t just about keeping chemicals from exploding in their beakers. It’s also about avoiding common injuries that can be more mundane but no less dangerous.

Common injuries when working in a lab

Goggles might be uncomfortable, but they can protect your eyes and potentially keep you from going blind when you’re working in a lab. If you don’t wear goggles, you could damage your eyes with chemical splashes. Even a single droplet could permanently damage your vision. Shards of glass could also fly into your eye if you accidentally drop a beaker.

Cuts and scrapes are also common lab injuries. You could cut yourself on a blade, a piece of broken glass or another sharp edge. While some cuts are minor, a serious injury could cause dangerous levels of blood loss. On a similar note, your hands are vulnerable to chemical spills and burns if you don’t wear gloves. You could even spill chemicals on your toes if you don’t wear proper lab footwear.

If you’re exposing yourself to a heat source, you could also suffer from burns if you’re not careful. Long hair can catch fire if it’s not pulled back. When you’re injured in the lab, you might have to request time off and file for workers’ compensation, which can lead to legal issues if your employer doesn’t want to comply.

When should you think about hiring an attorney?

Ideally, your employer will pay out your workers’ compensation benefits and give you time to recuperate at home. However, some employers will refuse to pay out benefits and punish their employees for requesting workers’ compensation. If this happens to you, you might want to hire an attorney to help you pursue a legal case.