By: Winston Baity

Winston Baity has earned a B.S. degree in Biology from Lane College in Jackson Tennessee and has over 15 years of laboratory experience in a combination of research with IU School of Medicine as well as in industry as an extraction chemist


Winston has served as a Laboratory Safety Specialist for IUPUI Environmental Health and Safety since 2008.


E-mail Winston at:


The Hidden Dangers

of Complacency

Generally, our everyday lives are consumed by time and deadlines. Time and deadlines are priority number one in a lot of what is to be done. Those same two concepts often apply to our work life inside the laboratory. We should always factor safety first into the equation of getting the job done.

If you have been doing research science for awhile many of the processes performed inside the laboratory will continually be repeated over and over and over again. Some can be as simple as setting up slides, while others can be quite hazardous, for instance making chemical solutions. Regardless of what your regular tasks are, human nature is to become relaxed or unconcerned over time.

Every day approximately 2000 U.S. workers have a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment according to the NIOSH. One-fifth of all eye injuries are due to chemical contact and thousands of workers are blinded each year from work related injuries that could have been prevented with appropriate eye protection. Complacency is a feeling of security, often unaware of potential danger and associated risk.

Think back to the very first time in your lab you were given a task to do and how meticulously you performed it. It is likely there were no casual conversations or ear buds being used. Time may have played a factor in that process but safety was more likely the highest of priorities. Think of creative ways to avoid complacency that can be simple and or fun. For example your laboratory can hold a contest on which employee has not been seen without eye protection or you could hold a refresher training lunch.

Please remember that your safety is your responsibility.


Lab Notes is a quarterly publication by IUPUI Environmental Health and Safety. Lab Notes is designed, edited and published by K. Lee Stone.

"Don't Learn Laboratory Safety by Accident!"