Many laboratories contain significant risks, and the prevention of laboratory accidents requires great care and constant vigilance. Examples of risk factors include high voltages, high and low pressures and temperatures, corrosive and toxic chemicals, and biohazards including infective organisms and their toxins.
Measures to protect against laboratory accidents include safety training and enforcement of laboratory safety policies, safety review of experimental designs, the use of personal protective equipment, and the use of the buddy system for particularly risky operations.
In most countries, laboratory work is subject by health and safety legislation. In some cases, laboratory activities can also present environmental health risks, for example, the accidental or deliberate discharge of toxic or infective material from the laboratory into the environment.