Quantcast
Skip to content

Lab Safety

Lab Aches and How to Avoid Them

Pipetting all day? Scrolling and scrolling through Excel columns trying to make sense of your data? Spending hours at the microscope because your boss wants Nature-worthy pictures? It’s not uncommon that performing lab work forces you into unhealthy postures, and after a day at work your spine begs for mercy. How Your Posture Suffers on…

Read More

Murphy’s Law Lives in my Lab

Some days are good and things run like clockwork. Then there are those other days – you know the ones – where you mutter to yourself, “Can’t anything go right today?!?!?” Those are the days you are subject to Murphy’s Law. And I am sorry to tell you “no, nothing will go right” those days…

Read More

Entering your Lab: Know the Biosafety Level

Starting work in a new lab is exciting. You’re ready to begin doing awesome science and making new discoveries. However, safety comes first. You need to protect yourself, your colleagues, and your environment from the biological organisms and agents that you work with in the lab. Biosafety levels are a way of classifying the precautions you…

Read More

How to Conduct a Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment

Labs can be dangerous places. Even the most careful workers can have accidents. To help prevent workplace accidents, you should conduct a yearly Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment, otherwise known as HIRA. Here are six steps to guide you through how to conduct a HIRA assessment. Step 1: Preparation Before you even begin, put together…

Read More

5 Funny Things I Have Seen in the Lab

Given enough time, even the worst rookie research disasters seem amusing. It’s a comedy of errors that test our wit and our patience, but ultimately leave a lifelong impression on how to try experimentation a little bit differently the second time around. With that said, here are 5 brief stories of amusing things I’ve witnessed…

Read More

10 Top Tips When Working With Your Fume Hood

Little chemical, BIG SMELL: Leave it to a pinch of beta-mercaptoethanol to overpower the lab. While not every chemical has such a pungent reminder about where it should be handled (hint: not at the bench), a good rule of thumb is to make use of your chemical fume hood whenever possible! We looked recently at…

Read More

Know Your PPE – Face Protection

Like all PPE, goggles and face shields are your last line of defense against the many lab hazards that may hurt you. But not all goggles and face shields are equal! To help you keep safe and sound, we’ll review the most common types of eye and face protection in the lab, and give you…

Read More

Beginners Guide to Fume Hoods and Safety Cabinets

As with any experiment, choosing the right personal protective equipment is essential. In this series we’ll take a look at what different types of hoods add to your arsenal of PPE, what they do and how you can benefit by using them. First, why do I even need a hood? It’s common to run a…

Read More

Deciphering your Materials Safety Data Sheet

For all the chemical reagents that we may use on a daily basis, there are many for which we still need to learn how they work and what they can do. Thankfully, for a good majority of chemicals (especially the ones in our lab!) there IS a lot that we can understand because of the…

Read More

Safe and sound: Gloves, goggles, gowns (and more lab safety basics)

The longer you work in research, the greater chance you have of witnessing – or experiencing first hand – a hazardous situation that can lead to an accident. These are the moments that are passed down to future scientists as scary, funny, or “I can’t believe how bad that situation could have been!” stories with…

Read More

5 Misunderstood Chemicals That you are Using in the Lab

Common lab reagents may appear innocuous, but don’t be fooled! Sometimes even the most-used lab chemicals are hazardous to your health. It is important to make sure you have an understanding of the dangers a reagent can present before you use it. Which common chemicals should you look out for? Here is a brief look…

Read More

10 Common PPE Sins

Labs are a dangerous place, full of nasty chemicals and harmful biological materials. Yet so many people are flippant about their own personal safety (and the safety of others) when working in this hazardous environment. One way in which people make lab work more dangerous is the misuse of personal protective equipment (PPE). Below are…

Read More

Oops! How to Deal with Common Laboratory Spills

Accidents happen. No matter how small or large, all materials spills demand immediate attention because they have the potential to contaminate, injure and create huge issues for more than just one lab if they’re not quickly addressed. Can you handle spills alone? So what happens if a common reagent is splashed onto the floor or…

Read More

Danger: You Might be Pipetting Yourself Out of a Job

You might be proud of your pipetting skills (if not, check this article on how to stop pipetting errors from ruining your experiments) and be churning out data faster than a liquid handling robot, but beware… you might also be pipetting yourself out of a job. I almost did. Pain due to pipetting is common.…

Read More

Do Hand Sanitizer and Liquid Hand Soap Remove Viruses?

While reading my back issues of Applied and Environmental Microbiology (AEM), I came across an interesting paper that detailed an in-depth study on the effectiveness of hand cleaners to remove Norwalk virus (NV) from intentionally contaminated hands. Yes that’s right – intentionally contaminated, and how. The study volunteers allowed a 20% stool suspension containing Norwalk virus to be…

Read More

10 Stupid Lab Safety Mistakes

Keeping safe in the lab really only requires one thing: common sense. But if you look at what people are doing in the lab, you might think that that common sense isn’t so common after all. What are the most stupid things you have seen people do in the lab to put the safety of…

Read More

Warning: Dihydrogen Monoxide is Worse Than Ethidium Bromide

Please read and pass this life-saving information on to your friends. A chemical that all of us use in the lab has turned out to be highly dangerous. It is an asphyxiant, can cause severe burns and is a contributor to the greenhouse effect. Medical organizations all over the world confirm it to be responsible…

Read More

Rookie Researcher Disasters

Wide eyed and wet behind the ears, the rookie researcher steps into the lab for the first time. Armed with several years’ knowledge mined from text books, lectures and undergrad labs he feels ready to take his place amongst the worldwide legions of scientists who battle daily in the pursuit of knowledge. Little does he…

Read More

Ethidium Bromide: A Reality Check

The hysteria among molecular biologists about our old friend ethidium bromide has long been an irritation to me. Researchers are rightly wary of this potential carcinogen. More recently this wariness has been whipped up into a witch hunt by companies touting “safer” alternatives and disposal methods. While I don’t for a minute think that we…

Read More
Scroll To Top