Come Meet Us at the ASMS Conference!

The American Society of Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) is holding their annual conference in Atlanta in less than a month, and Tim Hawkins will be there. He loves to talk about our dedicated lab furniture, and conferences like ASMS are a great chance to see our IonBench MS and IonBench LC in person. If you’re going to be in Atlanta for ASMS June 2–6, stop by Booth 626. Tim will be happy to discuss with you our mass spectrometry aims and respond to your questions about our dedicated lab furniture.

The ASMS Conference

This year will be the 67th ASMS Conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics. Over 6,500 scientists and technicians will attend, over 3,000 papers (both posters and talks) will be presented, and almost 200 corporate members will host booths like ours in the Exhibit Hall. All of this provides an excellent opportunity to connect with other MS professionals, discuss the latest advances  in this always-expanding field, and stop by our booth to see our dedicated lab furniture in person.

Highlights of This Year’s Mass Spectrometry Conference

There are myriad opportunities at this MS conference to learn more about what’s happening with mass spectrometry around the world. The first evening begins with an opening Plenary Lecture by Mark Z. Jacobson of Stanford University: “Transitioning the World Energy for All Purposes to Stable Electricity Powered by 100% Wind, Water, and Sunlight.” This will be followed by four days of oral sessions and three days of workshops. The conference closes with another Plenary Lecture by Lilly D’Angelo of Global Food & Beverage Technology Associates, on “the Chemistry of Food and Soft Drins.”

Some of the many oral session offerings that have caught our attention include these sessions: Portable and Transportable Mass Spectrometers (which would not need our dedicated lab furniture to operate safely), Cannabis Testing, Covalent Labeling, Plant “omics,” Emerging Contaminants, and even Art, Archaeology, and Paleontology. There will be sessions on new developments in everything from ionization and sampling to mass analyzers and MS in the hospital operating room.

The ASMS workshops look just as intriguing. You can learn how to teach mass spectrometry to undergraduates, get your results published through NIH and NSF, learn the latest trends in ion trap MS, and discover what’s unfolding with mass spectrometry in the developing world. There are also opportunities to network and for fellow women mass spectrometrists to celebrate with each other, and attendees can even catch the lighter side with “LC-MS Jeopardy – I’ll Take Increasing Throughput for $200.”

Hope You’ll Be There!

As you can see, there’s something for everyone at this year’s ASMS Conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics. We hope you’re planning to attend and will take some time away from all those oral sessions and workshops to stop by the exhibit hall. If you want to set up an appointment with Tim Hawkins ahead of time, feel free to contact him today via email or at 1-888-669-1233.

Setting Up Reliable Lab Safety Policies and Protocols, Part 2

Every lab needs a current collection of lab safety policies and protocols. Our prior post began a two-part series about general lab safety rules. In this post, we complete the series—with the caveat that, because every lab situation is unique, these lists should be amended to meet the specific needs of your lab and your work there. Please also note that these relatively brief posts should never be considered comprehensive guides to addressing every lab safety issue.

With these provisos, here is Part 2.

General Lab Safety Rules

  • Never operate lab equipment without first being trained, tested, and approved as a user by your supervisor or other authorized lab personnel.
  • Never chew gum, drink, or eat while working in the lab. Foreign substances should never be brought into the lab because cross-contamination can endanger your health and raise the possibility of contaminating your work.
  • Laboratory glassware should never be used to hold food or drink. (If you follow the prior rule about cross-contamination, this one will never become an issue.)
  • Each time you use lab glassware, carefully check for chips and cracks. Do not use any damaged glassware, and if you discover any issues, notify your lab supervisor. Regarding lab safety and the possibility of cross-contamination, damaged glassware should be properly disposed.
  • Never lift anything (solutions, apparatuses, glassware) above eye level. (Our answer for that doesn’t involve a step stool.)
  • Do not attempt to repair equipment problems yourself. If an instrument or piece of equipment does not operate properly or fails while during a procedure, immediately report the issue to a technician.
  • Do not use open flame in your lab unless you have explicit permission from a qualified supervisor.
  • Always work in properly ventilated areas and verify that all fume hoods or snorkels are on and operational.
  • Never touch, smell, or taste chemicals. If you are uncertain about something, do not use it.
  • Never pipette by mouth.
  • Always follow established protocols for disposing of lab waste, including all items used in cleaning up after any procedures or lab accidents.
  • Never leave an ongoing experiment unattended.
  • Never work alone in the lab. When you leave the lab (for a break or at the end of your shift), verify that you aren’t leaving someone else alone in the lab.
  • If you are the last person to leave the lab, turn off every ignition source and lock all cabinets and doors.

IonBench believes in operating safely in every lab and safety is also critical in the manufacturing of our dedicated lab furniture. Our IonBench LC safely rises and lowers with the touch of a button—you don’t have to lift anything above eye level to service your HPLC or UHPLC. To learn more about other safety features we have built into our IonBench MS and IonBench LC, contact Tim Hawkins via email or at 1-888-669-1233.

Setting Up a Sound Set of Lab Safety Policies and Protocols, Part 1

Every lab should have an up-to-date set of lab safety policies and protocols. A sound and comprehensive set of rules and reminders can prevent most of the lab safety accidents about which we periodically post.

So, we’ve put together some idea starters to give lab managers and policymakers a few building blocks for their own policies. The list is extensive and will take two posts to cover, but it should not be considered as a complete guide to lab safety issues. Every lab is different and any list will need to be expanded upon and tailored to meet the particular needs of your lab.

With these caveats, here is part one of our list.

General Lab Safety Rules

  • Before you begin working in any lab, locate and read all fire alarm and safety signs. If you do not understand any signage or posted rules, get assistance or a translation as necessary.
  • Make sure you know where your lab’s exits and fire alarm pull stations are located.
  • Know your building’s evacuation procedures. If any renovation is underway in your building, learn whether it will impact those evacuation procedures, and then determine and practice an alternate route to safety.
  • Know where to find the phone numbers you need to use in case of an emergency. Store those numbers on your phone so they are always with you, regardless of where in the lab or building you might be.
  • Make sure you know where your lab’s safety equipment is stored and how to use it. This can include fire extinguishers, first aid kits, eye-wash stations, and safety showers.
  • Make certain that any lab areas containing hazardous materials and machinery (such as biohazards, carcinogens, radioisotopes, and lasers) are properly marked with appropriate warning signs.
  • Do not install or store dedicated lab furniture, instruments, or equipment within a three-foot radius of any and all building fire sprinkler heads.
  • If you notice any unsafe conditions in your lab, let your supervisor know immediately.
  • If there is a fire drill, be certain to turn off all electrical equipment and close all containers before departing the lab.
  • Follow all instructions in the event of an accident or emergency, and encourage others to do the same. (Your safety can be compromised by a colleague’s careless disregard for lab safety rules.)
  • If you have been injured or need assistance, shout out as loudly as you can, as soon as possible, to summon help.
  • If a chemical splashes into your eye(s) or onto your skin, immediately flush the affected areas with running water for at least 20 minutes (preferably using the eye-wash station or safety shower previously noted).
  • Report all injuries, accidents, and broken equipment or glass immediately. No incident is too small or unimportant to be reported when lab safety is at stake.

Here at IonBench, we promote safety in every way possible. We have designed our dedicated lab furniture to put safety first. To learn more about all the safety features of the IonBench MS and IonBench LC, contact Tim Hawkins via email or at 1-888-669-1233. Also stay tuned for Part two of our list of General Lab Safety Rules.

Snorkels, Ventilation and Lab Safety

Snorkels don’t just turn up at the beach. They also have an important, and sometimes controversial use in lab safety. These local exhaust extractors can be useful for removing heat, but snorkels are, by design, an open system. This makes them less than ideal for removing harmful vapors from your lab. Here is some of the controversy surrounding snorkels, as well as an effective use when attached to dedicated lab furniture, like our IonBenches.

Why Are Snorkels Controversial?

As noted, snorkels operate as an open system and are therefore tough to test for actual effectiveness. While they may draw a certain cubic feet per second, that figure is dependent on the air pressure in the room and can be influenced by other devices that may be operating in the lab.

If you seek to attach a snorkel to a fume hood, you must have one designed for that purpose—this might be an expensive replacement for minimal gain. Different velocities are needed to evacuate different materials. For these reasons and more, it’s always best to enclose the entire procedure in a fume hood to allow for safe and effective ventilation and preserve lab safety.

Why Are Snorkels a Lab Safety Issue?

Snorkels are loud. A typical snorkel can add 60 dBA or more to the noise level in your lab—especially since staff must work very close to the snorkel in order for it to be effective. We’ve discussed in prior posts the lab safety issues that arise in a noisy lab.

We’ve also heard that the noise is sometimes loud enough that staff turn off the snorkels. This creates a larger problem if HVAC controls for the room have been set on the presumption that multiple snorkels are in use. When you turn off those snorkels, the room can shift from negative to positive pressure, creating an environmental lab safety issue.

Why Snorkels Can Work When Properly Attached to Dedicated Lab Furniture

Snorkels are not ideal for many types of lab work, but they can be effective for venting hot air. Your mass spec is far too big to fit under a fume hood, but it does generate a lot of heat from within the bench itself. This is why we have designed two different heat ventilation features for our dedicated lab furniture to cool it with safety in mind.

The first ventilation feature for our IonBench MS comes standard with every piece of dedicated lab furniture designed for mass specs. It consists of four to six fans built into the back of the bench to safely ventilate heat from the roughing pumps. The second ventilation feature can easily connect to a well-designed snorkel. Our Heat Removal Module allows for a direct connection to a snorkel or to your building’s main heat exhaust system.

Would you like to learn more about how our dedicated lab furniture can support lab safety by efficiently evacuating excess heat and odors? Contact Tim Hawkins today via email or at 1-888-669-1233.

Recognizing a Noise Safety Researcher

Yes, we manufacture dedicated lab furniture. We also care about the health and well-being of the researchers who use our lab benches. This is why we post occasional news about lab safety, noise safety, and preventable lab accidents. This time we’re focusing on the long-term work done by a naval researcher who recently won an important award for his noise safety research.

The Safe-in-Sound Award

The honor is the Safe-in-Sound award, which was created by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the National Hearing Conservation Association. The award is focused on recognizing excellence in hearing-loss prevention. This year’s winner, Kurt Yankaskas, manages the Office of Naval Research’s noise-induced hearing-loss program. His focus is on reducing and mitigating the prolonged exposure to high levels of noise that many sailors encounter in the line of duty.

Noise Safety Challenges in the U.S. Navy

Naval vessels and shipyards are noisy places. Sailors work alongside machines that routinely exceed the safe decibel rating for significant periods of time. In fact, those who serve on Navy ships can be surrounded by noise for 24 hours a day, with no relief for ears or brain (what researchers call audiological rest). Even with hearing protection, the noise generated by airplanes taking off and landing on aircraft carriers (with noise levels over 150 dBA), for example, can be a significant source of noise safety issues, including workplace safety, quality of life, and communicational effectiveness.

It is this final issue of communication on which Mr. Yankaskas has focused his research. As we have discussed before, hearing and understanding verbal commands and conversation can be critical to safety in any workplace situation, especially the laboratory. Extended exposure to such high, and continuous, levels of sound can damage essential auditory nerves and even alter brain circuits. Mr. Yankaskas and his team focus on four multidisciplinary areas: noise control, susceptibility, medical research, and hearing protection. His passion and commitment to this work, and to educating the public on the issue of noise safety, were additional factors in his receiving the Safe-in-Sound award last month.

Noise Safety Challenges in Your Lab Environment

Fortunately, we don’t all have to work around noisy jet fighter engines. However, all labs have some lab safety issues, including the buildup of noise in the work environment. For many, extended exposure to mass spec roughing pump noise can become a noise safety issue, especially in the area of clear and comprehensible communication.

This is why we have crafted the IonBench MS with its noise-masking vacuum pump enclosures. We guarantee a 15 dBA reduction in noise output with our dedicated lab furniture, which is more than a 75 percent reduction in noise levels. Our vibration reduction system also minimizes the noise from mass spec vibrations.

We congratulate Mr. Yankaskas for his work and his commitment to educating people within and beyond the Navy on the issues of noise-induced hearing loss. To learn more about how our IonBench MS can help support noise safety in your lab, contact Tim Hawkins today via email or at 1-888-669-1233.

Celebrating Fifty Plus Years of Mass Spectrometry in Space

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first human landing on the moon. That momentous occasion was made possible by some of our finest technology—including mass spectrometry. For example, dating all the way back to the first Apollo missions, earlier generations of the mass spec were keeping an eye on cabin air quality. In this post, we recognize and celebrate the various roles played by mass spectrometry in more than fifty years of space exploration.

The Use of Mass Spectrometry in the Moon and Orbital Space Programs

Atmospheric analysis was the primary purpose for mass spectrometry in the first decades of the space program. Initially, it was used to monitor VOCs during early space flights. Once we actually landed on the moon, mass spectrometry was tapped again to analyze the moon’s atmosphere. Today, mass spectrometry is currently used to monitor air quality at the International Space Station.

Much of the revolutionary nature of mass spec’s use in space exploration had to do with transforming MS instruments to withstand the unique challenges of space. Both the analytical capabilities of mass spectrometry and the logistical needs of mass spec instruments themselves were challenged by operating in that most unforgiving environment. MS sensitivity, selectivity, and speed of processing all had to be addressed. The instruments themselves had to take up minimal space, weigh as little as possible, draw from a very limited power supply, and be able to withstand the significant gravitational forces of being hurled into space, as well as the radiation they encountered once they got there. Much of that successful miniaturization has contributed to the plethora of new mass spec uses today, some of which we’ve discussed previously.

Mass Spectrometry and Planetary Exploration

Mass spectrometry has also contributed much to our knowledge of Mars. The Viking landers and orbiters deployed mass specs that taught scientists most of what they knew about Mars until after the millennium, including revolutionary ideas about the possibility of water on the red planet. While those early lander missions were supposed to last just 90 days, Viking 1 continually sent information back for six years. (Can you imagine any lab’s mass specs being asked to perform reliably and remotely for years without servicing?)

Such explorations aren’t limited to Mars. The Huygens Probe, launched from Cassini, sampled the atmosphere on Saturn’s moon Titan a decade ago, finding complex organic compounds. The Pioneer Venus probe carried five mass specs, which had to be specially modified to handle the volume of incoming data as the probe rushed through the atmosphere, and also needed to discount background contamination by metal ions that would disperse off the instrument’s surface. Today, the Curiosity Rover is analyzing Mars as you read this, using a quadrupole mass spec to sample various rock layers as it moves across the surface of the planet.

Mass Spec’s Future, on Earth and in Space

As noted above, scientific advancements that enabled the MS to take flight have revolutionized the mass spectrometer here on earth. Newer technologies have included the direct sampling ion trap and ion-mobility spectrometry. Direct sampling allows for real-time air monitoring, which is essential for the health of humans in space. Ion-mobility spectrometry is used today to detect drugs and explosives, and the speed of its separations and ease of use are proving to be game-changers here on earth.

Meanwhile, another mass spectrometer has arrived where no human—or human instrument—has gone before: the sun. NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is currently orbiting the sun, collecting data that is expected to revolutionize scientific understanding of our home star. The first batch of data has arrived back here on earth and scientists are eager to interpret what this mass spec has discovered.

While IonBench dedicated lab furniture has yet to go into space, we are proud of all the work our benches have done to support MS work here on earth. To learn how IonBenches can support your mass spectrometry projects, reach out to Tim Hawkins via email or at 1-888-669-1233.

Saluting Mass Spectrometry Award Winners at Upcoming Pittcon

Pittcon (the Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy) happens in Philadelphia March 17–21. QuietBench will be there with information on our IonBenches, as will a number of luminaries in the fields of chromatography and mass Spectrometry. This is your chance to talk in person about our dedicated lab furniture.

The LCGC Lifetime Achievement in Chromatography Award

This year’s Pittcon will honor Milos Novotny of Indiana University with a lifetime achievement award. A major contributor to advancements in the field of chromatography, Novotny developed a world-class research program that trains the next generation of leaders. We’ve designed our moveable IonBench LC to support their efforts—and yours—with adjustable height ranges and the capacity to handle up to 500 kg of heavy weight, such as tandem processes, on a single piece of dedicated lab furniture.

The Pittcon Heritage Award

Dedicated lab furniture is not the only critical element that supports leaders such as Novotny. Without reliable, quality consumables, lab processes would grind to a halt and comparative analyses would falter. Over fifty years ago, Walter Supina and Nicholas Pelick founded Supelco to provide researchers with columns, standards, reagents, and accessories to keep their work moving forward. Pittcon will honor these pioneers who anticipated that, as chromatography grew, solving emerging analytical challenges required specific and dedicated tools.

Pittsburgh Spectroscopy Award

This award will be presented to a retiring professor of chemistry at Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan. Yukihiro (Yuki) Ozaki focused four decades of applying various types of spectroscopy. We believe that dedicated lab furniture should support his work—and others like it—and we strive to make our lab benches last for as long as his tenure.

LCGC Emerging Leader in Chromatography Award

Finally, we know that fields such as chromatography always evolve, and this year, Pittcon leaders will present their Emerging Leader award to Ken Broeckhoven of Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Broeckhoven’s research optimizes separation performance, and his efforts have resulted in over sixty published papers and forty talks. His focus on the fundamentals of chromatography reminds us of the need for a strong foundation—such as the one you will find in every IonBench.

If you’re coming to Pittcon, look for us. We’ll be exhibiting, along with our sister company MS Noise, at booth 2158. Discover why our IonBenches are so strong under pressure and so innovative in the constantly changing fields of mass spectrometry and chromatography. To set up an appointment or if you can’t make the conference, contact Tim Hawkins via email or at 1-888-669-1233.

Why Everyday Noises Impact Lab Safety

We frequently point out the risks of a noisy lab environment. But workplace noise is only part of the exposure we all get daily. You see, we all encounter a variety of noise sources every day.

The total amount of noise you experience outside the lab on a given day will impact the amount your body can endure inside the lab. Thus, lab safety must take into account the bigger picture.

OSHA Guidelines and Lab Safety Parameters

As we’ve discussed before, OSHA recommends an exposure to noise safety levels of no more than 85 dBA during an eight-hour period. However, the recommended maximum exposure level limit drops exponentially as the noise volume increases. This means that lab safety parameters for a noise exposure level of 110 dBA would be only for a duration of one minute and 29 seconds. Obviously, noise exposure at such high levels, while rare in labs, cannot be a sustainable feature of any workplace.

Mounting dBA Exposure with Everyday Noises

To give you a sense of the scope of the issue, let’s consider what a morning routine for a worker might be like. They are awakened by an alarm clock (65-80 dBA), grind their morning coffee beans (70-80 dBA) and boil water in a whistling teakettle (80), then shower and blow-dry their hair (60-95) and/or use an electric razor (50-80). This means, before they’ve even left the house, they’ve been exposed to multiple minutes of noise that is near or above the OSHA recommendation.

When your employees leave the house, it just gets worse. Heavy traffic is rated at 85 dBA, while the subway is rated between 90-115. Encountering a jackhammer in road construction will expose them to 130 and the siren of a passing ambulance will add another 120. By the time they reach work, their ears, brain and heart have already been exposed to significant amounts of noise.

Here are some additional common noise levels that can impact employees in your lab:

Home
•       TV audio – 70
•       Garbage disposal – 70-95
•       Flush toilet – 75-85
•       Doorbell – 80
•       Food processor – 80-90
•       Blender – 80-90
•       Garbage disposal – 80-95
•       Baby crying – 110
Work
•       Quiet office, library – 40
•       Large office or lab – 50
•       power lawn mower–65-95
•       Manual tools – 80
•       Handsaw – 85
•       Jet plane (at ramp) – 120
•       Chainsaw – 125
•       Air raid siren – 130
Other
•       Noisy restaurant – 85
•       Shouted conversation – 90
•       Motorcycle – 95-100
•       Symphony concert – 110
•       Car horn – 110
•       Rock concert 110-120
•       Walkman/MP3 Player – 112
•       Football game – 117

Preventing Noise Level Overload in Your Lab

Obviously, with so much noise around us at all times, it’s critical for lab safety and employee health to minimize noise in your lab. This is why we have integrated multiple noise-reducing factors into our IonBench MS. Our vacuum pump enclosures guarantee a noise-reduction level of 15 dBA. Our dedicated lab furniture is vibration-free and our cooling fans are isolated and quiet.

If you’re ready to focus on lab safety and cut down on cumulative noise exposure, contact Tim Hawkins via email or at 1-888-669-1233 to learn more about our dedicated lab furniture.

2018 Lab Design of the Year Winner Includes Many Innovations

The annual international Laboratory of the Year Awards recognize “excellence in research laboratory design, planning and construction.” In this post, we salute the facility that was awarded 2018 Laboratory of the Year and discuss how some elements of its design philosophy integrate seamlessly with our mission to provide the best in dedicated lab furniture that fits into any lab design.

And the Winner Is: CJ Blossom Park

The 2018 award was given to South Korea’s CJ Blossom Park. The architects, CannonDesign, created a three-tower flower-petal shape that represents and houses the three formerly separate and still distinct science divisions within CJ Corporation. This R&D headquarters allows for cross-operational collaboration, centralized administration, and the inclusion of a number of stress-lowering features for employees that are designed to prevent burnout.

A Lab Design Philosophy of Science without Stress

Key to many elements within this lab design is a recognition that stress is a constant factor in modern life. One of CJ Corporation’s goals is to attract and retain the next generation of young scientists. Created in collaboration with CannonDesign, the resulting lab design incorporates not just innovative laboratories and workspaces but almost 50 different types of amenities that take up 10% of the total square footage of the building complex. These facilities include a library, fitness rooms and a spa, sleeping pods, coffee shops, and a café.

The facilities include a variety of elements designed to bring nature into the building. There is an indoor “living forest” that can be viewed from inside the laboratories and a multistory, calming water garden on the bottom floors. The landscaped grounds sit adjacent to a park that provides glimpses of trees and a grassy hillside from many portions of the facility.

Incorporating the Best Dedicated Lab Furniture, Features, and Flexibility

All of this is nice, but would not be of much value if the working lab features weren’t also well-designed. The facility uses a universal lab bench design and size, which we have previously noted is an efficient and flexible solution to frequently changing processes and procedures. Each piece of its dedicated lab furniture is serviced from an overhead boom that provides power, data, and lab gasses.

The three petals/towers are designed to maximize available natural light for the lab segments as a whole. CannonDesign used advanced barometric monitoring to track the sun’s movement around the facility, then created a lab design that maximizes use of natural daylight. It saved energy and cost by separating ambient lighting from more focused, powerful (and expensive) task lighting, which can be moved in conjunction with the dedicated lab furniture when layouts need to be reconfigured.

Lab design innovations can provide valuable efficiencies to any modern lab. This is why we take note of awards such as Laboratory of the Year. We applaud the winning lab’s innovations and look forward to supporting other labs by sharing ideas on how to utilize our dedicated lab furniture in their lab design plans. For more information, contact Tim Hawkins today via email or at 1-888-669-1233.

Tales from the Lab: Investing in Lab Safety with Specially Designed Refrigerators and Freezers

In our ongoing quest to make labs safer, there is a culprit that is found in some labs that has no business being used for anything. We’re referring to a standard refrigerator.

A typical refrigerator, while great for storing snacks, lunch and soda, is not designed to withstand lab storage needs. There are numerous documented cases of lab safety accidents that have occurred when flammable materials with a flash point below 100°F are stored in a common refrigerator. Often, in these incidents, vapors escape, a spark ignites them, high pressure builds quickly and dramatically, and an explosion occurs, causing up to thousands of dollars in damage and the potential for human injury or even death.

Typical Lab Safety Refrigerator and Freezer Accidents

A few examples will suffice to make our point. In the first, tubes of petroleum ether were stored in a household freezer. The tubes were not well sealed and enough petroleum ether evaporated to surpass the low explosive limit of about 1.0%. When an internal component let off a spark, causing the freezer to detonate, damage to the lab and equipment was well over $250,000.

In the second example, a university research lab explosion was caused when vapors escaping a container of flammable liquid found an ignition source inside of a household refrigerator. The fridge latch failed, the door blew across the room, windows were broken, and the contents of the refrigerator were scattered across the room, presumably causing damage to several ongoing projects.

In each case, no humans were hurt because no one was in the room at the time of the lab safety accident. This was fortunate, but certainly cannot be guaranteed.

The Hidden Danger of Common Refrigerators and Freezers

Standard household-rated refrigerators and freezers are never acceptable storage options for flammable materials. This goes without saying, but simply labeling household appliances as unfit for flammable storage has also not proven to be sufficient either.

Refrigerators and freezers can operate for 20 to 30 years, often being moved from one lab and lab supervisor to another. Promises made by the purchaser not to use the item for flammable storage can be forgotten, or lab techs in a hurry can decide to store those materials in the closest appliance “for just one night”—with potentially costly consequences. It’s, therefore, much smarter to avoid standard refrigerator and freezer use for any purpose (even snacks and lunch) in a laboratory.

The Importance of Investing in Dedicated Refrigerators and Freezers

Fortunately for lab safety, there are flammable-materials-storage refrigerators and freezers designed specifically for labs. With these appliances, all potential ignition sources for flammable vapors are located outside the cooling portion of the unit. These units are prominently labeled as being safe for flammable storage. (There are also explosion-proof refrigerators and freezers that isolate ignition sources from both outside and inside the unit. They are designed for labs where flammable gases or vapors are present in the labs themselves for extended periods of time.)

The Importance of Investing in Dedicated Lab Furniture

Certainly, investing in lab safety is a high priority for everyone. Dedicated cold storage is only one way to insure it. Dedicated lab furniture like the IonBench MS, which safely supports and transports heavy equipment and isolates vacuum pump noise below acceptable levels is another. Our IonBench LC also safely raises and lowers instruments for safe and easy access. To learn more about the lab safety features of our dedicated lab furniture, contact Tim Hawkins via email or at 1-888-669-1233.