Just what is the best practice when it comes to hair in the lab? Should it be tied back and why?
In this article we will tell you all about it.
Should You Tie Your Your Hair Back in a Lab?
Yes you should tie your hair back in a lab. The hair, just like the rest of your body, can be exposed to harm in the lab.
Most safety rules in labs will recommend tying your hair while entering, and throughout the period you stay at the lab.
Turns out there are so many other reasons other than the obvious for tying your hair. Read on to find out just why it is so important to tie your hair back in a lab.
Why Should You Tie Your Hair Back in a Lab?
1. Loose hair could catch fire
If your lab includes heat sources, typically Bunsen burners, then your hair runs the risk of catching fire.
The risk of burns becomes even worse if your hair has been in contact with flammable liquids such as acetone and ethanol.
To protect your hair from possible flaming, it is recommended to tie your hair and use hair nets. This is especially for hair longer than 6 inches from your neck.
2. To avoid damage from chemical contact
Loose hair in the lab is more likely to get into contact with corrosive or flammable chemicals in the lab. This is likely to cause bleaching, drying, or even burning.
Some common corrosive chemicals in the lab include hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide, and flammable liquids such as ethanol.
3. To prevent contamination of the lab specimen
Apart from causing harm to yourself, loose hair puts the integrity of the lab to test. With loose hair, it is more likely to cause contamination either through contact or through shedding and falling into the specimen.
This is likely to affect the final results of the test and provide inaccurate results.
4. To prevent contamination of your hair
The nature of the lab means that there are a lot of harmful elements either from chemicals or specimens. Either of these in contact with your hair may cause damage.
In the case of the specimen, your hair may get contaminated with something harmful and cause scalp infection.
Hair is also close to your face and can easily transfer to your face or body. As a result, both your hair and body are exposed to unintended harm.
5. Long hair may interfere with vision
Long hair is more likely to cover your face and interfere with your ability to see clearly. This may cause challenges with doing business as usual in the laboratory. It may also interfere with your safety and cause you to bump into objects, spill chemicals and specimens or accidentally start a fire.
6. Long hair is a hazard around rotating equipment
Long hair will likely cause your hair to get damaged or get cut if you are unable to free it. Worse still, depending on the strength of the machine, it might pull the rest of your face and body to it causing grave bodily harm.
7. It’s a safety regulation
Many academic and industrial stations have enforced the same measures aimed at guaranteeing the safety of their students and employees.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) warns against loose hair getting caught in moving parts.
This organization stipulates that “long hair should be secured in nets or caps.”
How to Tie Your Hair in a Lab
There are several ways to style your hair to ensure that you follow the safety regulations in labs. What’s more, some of these ways are incredibly stylish making you not only look good but feel secure.
1. Tied Back
This is the most popular way to tie your hair in the lab is you have long hair that gets to your face when let loose.
2. In a bun
A bun is great because it significantly shortens hair to a length that can be deemed safe.
Begin with clean and moisturized hair and gather it into a ponytail. Once tied and secured, split the ponytail into two halves.
Take one half and rotate around the base for a circular shape and repeat with the other. Secure with a rubber band or clip to hold it in place.
You may opt to braid your hair in a manageable style. This is great because it also reduces the everyday manipulation that would be hard if you had your natural hair out.
Some good hairstyles to try out include cornrow variations as well as box braids. Just make sure to secure it in place preferably in a bun to prevent any accidents.
3. Wear protective gear
Lab regulations require protective gear to keep your hair safe and secure. You may opt for a hair net and a waterproof cap just in case to prevent any liquids from seeping into your hair through your hair net.
5. Go for a shorter cut
In case you want to try something new and creative, a shorter cut might just be the answer. You may choose to style and color it in unique ways ending up with a brand new hairstyle.
Apart from having an entirely new look, you will also be keeping yourself safe and preserving the integrity of lab results.