Monthly Archives: December 2014

Safely Reach Your HPLC System’s Solvent Reservoir with Dedicated Lab Furniture

dedicated-lab-furniture-hplc-solvent-reservoirWhat’s a difficult job in your lab? We’re not asking about the most mentally taxing task; we’re thinking about the job that’s physically demanding and often unsafe. One of those jobs that involves reaching well out of your comfort zone in order to perform a routine task.

Coming Up Short on Routine Lab Tasks

Consider another question. How far overhead can you safely reach? Safety officers regularly tell lab technicians that they should not lift liquids any higher than shoulder level. For many people in a lab, that’s less than five feet.

Unfortunately, most generic lab furniture has a height that’s on par with your average comfortable work surface. That’s fine for most tasks, but what if you have a stack of HPLC systems on that lab furniture? Those can reach over 40 inches high just on their own. Put one on a lab bench, and you may need to reach over six feet above the lab floor just to access the solvent reservoir. Unless your family genetics predispose you to basketball greatness, there’s a good chance you’ll be coming up short.

The usual solution to this problem is the step stool, but that introduces new obstacles and risks. For one thing, the stool is usually stored somewhere else, so it has to be fetched. Also, it provides only a small surface area for technicians to safely balance while they’re reaching upward to perform their task. Plus, the floor around the work area is partially blocked when using a step stool, which could result in an accident, especially if a technician happened to walk away from the area for a moment without first putting the stool away. There’s also the obvious risk of a technician falling.

Dedicated Lab Furniture That Puts the Reservoir within Your Reach

That’s why IonBench created the electrical HPLC/UHPLC cart. This dedicated lab furniture was designed with specific lab functions in mind, as well as lab safety. The work surface easily raises and lowers with a simple electrical switch, and the mechanisms are strong enough to safely hold the weight of your lab equipment as you operate it. The chemically resistant work surface also guarantees that any spot of dripped solvent won’t become a major cleanup issue.

Moving Around the Lab with Ease

Another advantage of this dedicated lab bench is its caster wheels. These make the bench easily transportable, allowing technicians to share the HPLC/UHPLC system with other mass spectrometers, transfer the complete HPLC/UHPLC system to at-line process monitoring stations, or expand analytical output without taking up valuable existing bench space in the lab.

Another Advantage of Ordering Your Bench Now

A dedicated lab bench is worth the investment on many levels, but even more so right now, as we’re offering 10 percent off any order placed by December 31, 2014. Contact us today to purchase your bench or to learn more about how dedicated lab furniture can improve lab safety and keep all your routine tasks within reach.

How a Tragic Death Is Forcing Lab Safety Questions into the Light

Principal investigators throughout the United States breathed a sigh of relief when Patrick Harran reached an agreement with the Los Angeles District Attorney in the criminal case that arose after the death in his UCLA research lab of 23-year-old Sheharbano “Sheri” Sangji. While the central legal issue—PI (principal investigator) responsibility for the flagrant disregard of basic lab safety measures in many academic laboratories—remains unresolved, the very act of filing charges against a PI has caught the attention of research labs across the country and made lab safety a top-of-mind topic of conversation in the research community.

The Facts of the Case

At the time of her death, Sangji had only been working as a lab technician for five months. According to reports, she was working alone, in a crowded and cluttered space, using incorrect techniques and the wrong equipment. She was not even wearing appropriate clothing for her task, which was to transfer a substance so flammable that it ignited upon contact with the air in the lab.

The state of California issued a harrowing, exhaustive 95-page report of the incident, detailing overpowering proof of negligence in terms of the lab’s conditions and the training and supervision Sangji and other lab technicians had received.

The Bigger Picture

The case also exposed to the public, some major flaws in how research labs, especially those in academia, are run. Those who are successful at bringing in grant funding, like Patrick Harran, are essentially given carte blanche out of fear that another institution could otherwise lure them away if they are unhappy—as UCLA did with Harran, who was formerly a professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

The lack of proper oversight of these labs has led to many safety issues. Sangji is not the only research assistant to suffer an accident in an academic lab, and occupational safety laws cover just the employees—not students. Parents across the country with children majoring in the sciences are now up in arms over the possibility that the same type of accident could harm their child—and they would have no recourse whatsoever.

The Link to Lab Safety

The bad publicity, and the fact that, for the first time, a principal investigator was charged in such a case, has researchers across the country taking a closer look at lab safety issues. For instance, Sangji’s cluttered workspace could easily have been remediated with the installation and proper use of dedicated lab furniture. Dedicated lab benches can store excess tools and equipment underneath the work surface and in appropriate drawers, while also collecting and safely routing cables and pipes through holes designed to be located where technicians need them.

Now through the end of the year, our lab benches are being offered at a 10% discount. Contact us today to learn how IonBench dedicated lab furniture offers a proven, cost-effective means for improving the safety and work environment of any lab.