When it comes to lab safety, we often talk about noise and its elimination, but there are other potential risks from using mass spectrometers and liquid and gas chromatographs in a lab. Everything from carrier gas volatility to magnetic fields and vibration can create a lab safety concern.
While some of these tips may be almost second nature, it’s always good to review them from time to time to make sure they aren’t being overlooked or shortened, leaving the potential for a developing, dangerous, lab safety situation.
Preventive Lab Safety Measures
There are several safety precautions you can take to prevent any volatility in your mass spectrometry lab. These include:
- Turn off the gas source any time you turn off, vent your MS or if there is a power failure.
- Check frequently for leaks, using certified leak-checking equipment.
- Remove ignition sources from your lab whenever possible (including open flames, sources of static electricity, or devices that spark).
- Never allow gases to vent from high pressure directly into the lab itself.
Additional Mass Spectrometry Safety Tips
In addition to volatility, there are other lab safety concerns to be aware of with mass specs and other spectrometers. Make sure you:
- Avoid touching cold hoses during cryogenic refilling to avoid nasty burns.
- if your MS came with a safety kit, make sure to install it before operating.
- Vacate the lab immediately if gases vent loudly and cause a dense, white fog. If this occurs during a magnet quench on an NMR, or sudden boil-off of cryogens, it can cause asphyxiation.
- Never look at lasers.
- Whenever possible, do not operate the MS in service mode.
- If there’s a power failure, turn off all equipment and gas sources. Let the MS cool down for at least an hour and open the MS vacuum manifold to atmosphere (remove side plates or manifold windows) before restarting.
Lab safety is probably the most important element of your job, which is why we spend so much time on it. To learn more about protecting yourself from lab accidents, and how our dedicated lab furniture can help, contact us today.