Safety is the keystone to quality labwork

Safety is the keystone to quality labwork

Safety is the keystone to quality labwork LAB SAFETY MOMENTS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS MANAGEMENT RESEARCH GROUP Plan ahead BEFORE YOU BEGIN: Complete a safety assessment of the experiment. This will not only help you to identify potential hazards, but can help identify unknowns in the experimental process. Locate and read any available standard operating procedures (SOP) for the proposed experiment. If an SOP is not available, coordinate with your PI or lab manager to write one.

Make sure the lab is equipped with all materials you will need (including personal protective equipment (PPE)). Preparation can prevent unexpected incidents, or rushing to complete tasks you had not anticipated. Make safety a habit Always wear PPE when you enter the lab to work, make it part of your walking into the lab routine. Make labels BEFORE starting your work so you have them when you need them Remember to complete labels for hazardous waste generated using provided yellow hazardous waste labels. Using a printer to make labels can result in more consistent, legible

and long-lasting labels. Leave the lab assuming you will never return If a small asteroid were to take you out as soon as you stepped out of the lab: Would your colleagues find a messy work area (asteroid damage notwithstanding)? Clean up after yourself as your experiment proceeds, dont wait until tomorrow. Would your colleagues know what experiment you are running? Complete an Experiment in-progress card to leave with your work.

You should have an experimental safety assessment filed with your project information. EVERY container should be labeled, including temporary secondary containers, e.g., flasks for making standard solutions. Safety doesnt stop at the door Field work comes with its own safety concerns. Well thought out sampling procedures are the first critical step in performing reliable scientific research. Field activities (e.g., sampling, data collection) should have their own SOPs and safety assessments. Communicate with your colleagues if you will be working in the field so they know where youre working and when to expect you back.

Dress appropriately for the weather and the activity this should be identified in the experimental safety assessment beforehand. Keep Florida Summer safety supplies in your research vehicle: Sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat, portable poncho, extra drinking water. If youre not prepared to work at your site, the quality of your work will inevitably suffer. Youre more likely to make mistakes or cut corners when youre at the site. Final notes Take care of yourself! If you are working sick or sleep deprived, you are more likely to make mistakes, which can be dangerous and lead to bad science!

If you have a question, ASK! It is always better to have your PI or lab manager (or just a more experienced student) explain a lab procedure one more time than to get hurt, damage equipment, or ruin the experiment. Shadowing an experienced researcher can be a valuable experience. One-on-one training / mentoring can be an effective way to learn and build relationships. Label and document EVERYTHING. Put your name (or initials) and the date on every label.

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