It’s the accepted image of scientific progress–the individuals, men and women, working in a enclosed space, wearing white suits, white gloves, clear goggles, lifting instruments and smoking vials and colored substances that are speaking to a different side of life, the chemical side.
It takes guts and skill to work in any capacity in a laboratory. The work is grueling, can be tedious, and requires safety equipment as the ones mentioned above. The handling of chemicals can be dangerous, requires training, and their lives in some cases may be put at risk, if the substances are deadly.
There is considerable training involved to become a laboratory assistant. Mostly, classes have to be completed, requirements from elder researchers surmounted, and a healthy interest in the materials being manipulated and understanding of the materials must be had. Then they must be made aware of the procedures and objective of the project.
It can be a rigorous path depending on the material involved. Hazardous materials present a danger to overall health. Deadly materials can cause an infection that may require hospitalization. Training must be supplemented from project to project.
In 2012, there were 6.2 million scientists and engineers working in the United States, making up 4.8% of the workforce. While they may not all be in laboratories, a good amount of them are, making this workforce one of the most valuable in America. These engineers are thought to be focused on projects that are beneficial to society.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 328,200 Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians working in the United States as of 2014. That number is much lower than the 6.2 million scientists and engineers in the United States. They make up a smaller percentage of the overall workforce.
It is thought that these medical personnel and laboratory technicians have a similar objective as the scientists and engineers. They are working to solve issues that have stymied and challenged America in its progress to move forward.
Laboratories have a structure in place. They have a routine. Protocols. Two scientists may be working on different projects but the rules and procedures for safe policies would be the same. This is especially true of working with glass beakers.
Because glass beakers hold content that may be infectious or hazardous, handling them with care is necessary to the proper function of the laboratory. Dropping them, spilling the hazardous chemical, handling them without gloves, create disaster scenarios. Here are four tips to handling beakers carefully and effectively.
1: Begin with the Right Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment helps to protect the exposed areas of the body from a spill, a splash, or a breaking of the beaker. Personal protective equipment, at a minimum, should consist of a lab coat, gloves, and eye protection. Closed toe shoes and pants are a must as well.
2: Always Examine the Glassware for any Chips
Chips weaken glassware. It is likely that the chips will lead to the glassware breaking, because it weakens structural integrity, which would cause the liquid or the solvent to spill over the floor or the person. Money is often an issue in laboratories. A chip glass may be repaired for less than it costs to buy a new one.
3: Beware of Hot Glass
Whether or not the glass is hot, the glass looks the same. This causes potential trouble for someone who doesn’t remember if the glass has been heated or not. A burn, even through the protective gloves, harms individuals and at best leads to a hot burn that festers. At worst, a trip to the hospital.
4: Pay Attention to Fittings
While tubing is the number one concern for those dealing with laboratory instruments, the different kinds of glass fittings are the next cause for accidental cuts. Forcing connections in place leads to cuts.
If you’re looking for tools for a laboratory, there are always stores online. It is thought that some of the stores online have the following products:
- Refrigerated circulators
- Syringe pumps
- Water testing equipment
- Magnetic stirrer
- Immersion coolers
- Dry ice maker
A special word needs to be said about refrigerated circulators. Refrigerated circulators are a useful piece of equipment that is found in many laboratories. Refrigerated circulators suck the heat away from the material while providing a circular flow. Use them often to help with laboratory needs.
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