Cleaning glassware this morning, and accidentally dropped a litre glass bottle, which smashed onto the floor. Fortunately, it was only water but this event did send me into some 'What-If' thinking. If that bottle had been full of formalin, strong acid, etc., etc., there could have been a rather dangerous situation.
I do keep a container of kitty-litter on hand for absorbing spills which is probably sufficient for most darkroom chemistry.
After a little bit of thinking, I've come to the conclusion that my darkroom (laundry room) could made a lot safer: spill containment, eye-wash, fire-extinguisher etc., A spill-kit for dealing with acetone, aldehydes, acids etc., is on the list too.
Do you have a safety protocol? Any suggestion are welcome.
I don't have any glass bottles in the darkroom. Everything is Nalgene, which is pretty hard to break. Strong acids are kept in the bathroom and garage - they are diluted to working/stock strength in the bathtub/outside before being brought into the darkroom.
I have an ABC fire extinguisher just inside the door. I keep 3.8L glass bottles of developer etc. on the floor under the sink, and lift them only ever with dry hands into the sink, where their contents are poured out. I do have lots of towels around for getting hands dry before picking up any glass ware. I work in a right height for me darkroom sink, which limits the distance to drop. I have bumped 1L glass bottles off the shelf above the sink into the empty sink, and had one crack a rib of the 1x1 spruce duck boards, and the bottle was fine.
I routinely pull on a full face cartridge filter mask, and a full face shield if mixing toners from powders. I have more than one pair of green tough rubber gloves hanging beside sink, and lab coats at hand. (Mixing selenium is one such activity that I only do outside with all of this on.)
I have a air exhaust that is at one end of the sink. I put a board across the sink, and try to weigh all powders with the scale there, near the air exhaust when weighing powders and needles like hq.
I recently stumbled upon a granular chem lab detergent as part of a lot of chems gifted to me that cleans glassware very well, and is not slippery like regular kitchen sink detergent.
It is called Extran MN01 Powder, by Merck. It is used at a 2g/l rate for regular cleaning, and 10g/l for heavy cleaning.
Wear gloves; it takes all oils from skin easily as well. I have about half a bin that was sold new with 1.8kg in it, so I likely have a lifetime supply.
Now just about 300 other chems to figure a use for from this gift lot.
Because the risk of getting some of the chemicals in my eyes, I have bought a pair of Eye-wash bottles.
These I have fitted near the entrance to my darkroom,with the handy wall bracket.
The product I use is the Cederroth Eye wash.
Hopefully I donīt have to use them, but I think itīs good to have as firstaid.
Sebbe, that eyewash system is similar to some that I'm shopping for. My paranoia is pushing me towards a respirator too.
Some of the materials I work with are not too bad on their own, but if accidentally combined, become extremely nasty. I would rather be prepared than find myself in one of those "it will never happen" situations without first-aid.
My mother did histological research in the 60's - she's told me a horror story where a lab tech got splashed with chromic acid (glassware cleaner); there were no showers, eye-washes etc., back then - there was little that could be done except try to wash the victim with a sink-hose,as layers of skin sloughed off - ugh!
I don't deal with risky chemicals but do deal with electrical stuff from time to time.
Other than the usual, my at-most important safety procedure is to NEVER WORK ALONE. I must have someone present in the house where a yell or scream can summon unaffected person(s). Depending on what I am doing, I occasionally have someone visually observing me while I work. In such cases, the person is explained of what to do in case something happens - each and every time.
Number 1 safety measure in the darkroom - get rid of the glass! Anything you're likely to use in there at working strength is not awfully dangerous, but broken glass will cut you and it will hurt. So yeah, you can get all crazy about industrial strength safety measures if you like, but you really need to address the important stuff first.
I have a phone in the darkroom mounte on the door jamb up high with a bit of glow tape that can also be felt on the speed dial programmed to dial 911.
Often I work in the darkroom with the kids put to bed and my wife off to see a play or at a rehersal until some late hour.
I work in the darkroom alone as well. I do have two glass measuring cups but that's it and I intend to replace them with some kind of plastic ones. I wear glasses anyway but safety glasses are best to wear. I used to be a welder and getting metal splinters in eyes is no fun; so I learned to use a bandana on my head so anything that tries to stick to my skin and 'sweat down' into my eyes just won't happen anymore. ABC fire extinguisher is good too. My girlfriend buys this Green Tea company stuff in one gallon plastic bottles. I snag those when they are empty and use them for chemicals. I don't worry about them being brown, the room is in the dark most of the time anyway. But they are heavy plastic and sturdy bottles. Lots of rags for the same spills and nose/mouth face mask for mixing dry chemicals - with me, then the chemicals, then the exhaust fan so the fan will pull most of it out before it can get to me to begin with. A lab coat is a good idea but I don't have one. Other than those things, being careful and not getting in a hurry are good. Make sure ventilation is good too. I have seen too many industrial accidents to not be careful and removing the things you can, like glass is a good first step. If you have to have glass items, tape them up with duct tape or something just as strong. At least then if you do drop it, most of the glass stays with the tape.
By the way, my comment about having a second person is a direct reply to the OP's concern about having strong acid, formalin, etc. Obviously, normal darkroom chemicals aren't that risky. I believe Formaldehyde is both a respiratory irritant and flammable in gaseous form. In certain instances, especially when multiple jar of chemicals were knocked over, it won't take much to go from Oh, no! to situation getting out of hand.