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Lab Safety

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…

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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…

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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…

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Safety Comes First: Common Laboratory Signs

Our laboratory is full of signs isn’t it? Be it the chemical bottles or the signs near the basin, they are everywhere.  But that’s a good thing and is important for our safety. These signs tell you about the properties of the product you are about to use so that you can be cautious while…

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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…

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12 Top Tips for Working in Your Cell Culture Hood

Whether you’re about to become keeper of the cells, or are just passing through to run a pilot study, knowing how to use the biosafety cabinet is just as essential as knowing how to use the fume hood when working with non-crawling, chemical reagents. We’ve seen a brief protocol for how to use the biosafety…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Guard Yourself with Our Guide to Gloves

                  We scientists wear them all the time, but have you ever stopped to ask: what good are gloves? Why are there so many kinds? And what happens when you put one straight into liquid nitrogen?                   Gloves protect your skin (and often the rest of you) from…

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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…

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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…

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Ten Bad Chemicals In The Lab and What They Do To You!

Researchers are surrounded by dangerous elements, from infectious microbes to cranky advisors.  With hazards all around, it’s easy to forget how deadly even common lab chemicals are. But don’t worry – we’ve compiled a list of common, dangerous chemicals to help you out. Acetonitrile Be careful with this flammable irritant.  Once this solvent is inhaled,…

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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…

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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…

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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.…

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