Lab coat, goggles, gloves etc would not have saved me from my worst laboratory accident.

Operating an atomic absorption spectrophotometer with a nitrous oxide plus acetylene flame for titanium analysis involves starting with air plus acetylene and then quickly turning a valve to bring on the NO. When I did that the nebuliser chamber exploded and caught fire. But worse was to come. The nylon lines carrying acetylene and nitrous oxide caught fire and started burning back toward the high pressure cylinders. It is said that one must never run in a laboratory but I ran with the cylinder keys and shut the gases off just before the flames got to the regulators. Phew!

What cause? A colleague had emptied the water trap because it looked dirty. The watertrap supplies back pressure so the flame comes out of the burner rather than striking back inside and exploding. Moral? Work slow and steady, check everything, assume nothing.