5 Safety Principles to Keep in Mind when Building a Lab

There are myriad considerations that should receive due attention when designing or refurbishing a lab, all of which are necessary if your lab is to function efficiently and achieve the best results. Whereas workflow, proper equipment and instrument knowledge, and flexibility are fundamental, one element that should be placed under the microscope right from the very beginning is lab safety. In light of this, we’ve put together a list of our top 5 safety principles for effective design.

Emergency Shower and Eyewash Stations

In chemical labs, the emergency shower and eyewash stations need to be located in an easy-to-access and unobstructed position within the lab, and kept functional at all times. Moreover, the lab needs to be well ventilated and have doors that open from within the lab into the adjoining spaces/rooms.

Safety Cabinets Quality

Biological Safety Cabinets need to meet high specification standards, and should be given a healthy helping of space on all sides: that is, a minimum of 500mm at the back, top and sides, and a minimum of 1000mm in front.

Safety Cabinets Layout

All reagents and safety cabinets should be kept away from windows and direct UV light – not only will this ensure a longer life for the reagents, but their inherent fire hazard will also be significantly minimised.

Electrical Considerations

All heat equipment, like a furnace, should have a dedicated circuit breaker, thereby reducing the risk of electrical fire. Additionally, permanent equipment should never be connected to extension cords, and all cords that cross walkways or traffic areas must be firmly secured to the floor and covered.

Hazardous Equipment Placement

All potentially hazardous equipment, like fume hoods, must be kept well away from doors to ensure that in the case of an emergency exit, the route is unobstructed and that students/staff will never be trapped inside.

The list above delineates what we believe to be some of the absolutely essential elements of a safe lab, but the number of other necessary items extends well beyond the space allotted to a brief article.

Some of the latter include considerations concerning the proper storage, disposal and handling of chemicals, the safe utilisation of compressed gasses, the elimination of all electrical faults and hazards, and the flawless upkeep of emergency facilities (including first-aid kits, fire blankets, etc.). Yet another facet of lab safety regards policies, accountable superintendents, and published/accessible safety guidelines that are mandatory for all lab users.

At Beryl Labs, we know that prevention is inestimably better than a cure, so we attach enormous value to well thought-out safety design. For further info, please feel to contact us and voice your concerns – we’re always happy to help.