Managing a research lab may prove to be challenging following lots of activities both in-house and external, using harmful chemicals and delicate apparatus. As a result, workers need to be extremely careful lest they make errors and cause accidents.
Yet still, there are some things research lab managers need to take into account to protect their workers from hazards and contaminants. This is because the chemicals or contaminants pose great risks to research lab workers. Unfortunately, these risks may be beyond their control and, worse is that they may even cost them their lives.
That said, what are the common types of contaminants in a research lab, and what should a research lab manager do to protect their workers? Is there a company that can help in such a case? This article will walk you through the effective ways of protecting research lab workers from these contaminants.
Common Types of Contaminants In a Research Lab
1. Pathogens in the culture medium
Employees in a research lab conduct a lot of microbiological examinations to determine and examine the properties of microorganisms and how to use them. One of the ways to do this is by using a culture medium that encourages the growth of these microorganisms and involves using either defined or undefined media.
During these procedures, other microorganisms like mold and bacteria pose a risk of infection to the research lab workers and may cause health problems.
2. Airborne contaminants
Another common type of research lab contaminant that a worker is likely to encounter is airborne contaminants. For instance, while working on a culture medium, a research lab worker needs to weigh it before using it. This is especially paramount as, in the process, they can inhale the harmful chemicals from the dehydrated culture media, especially if they do not have on laboratory safety masks. As a precaution, this process needs to be done in a well-ventilated room under an extraction hood.
3. Cross-contaminated human and animal cell lines
Cross-contamination of human and animal cell lines is a major challenge most lab researchers face as it gives them invalidated results. This reduces the quality of research, leading to unusable therapeutic products and undesired results. Cross-contamination can result from poor labeling of apparatus and having a disorganized lab or using the same equipment for multiple tests.
Ways Of Keeping a Research Lab Contaminant Free
To keep the lab workers safe from pathogens and airborne diseases, the lab research manager needs to do the following;
Ensure the lab is well organized and the cultures labeled correctly
One way to protect research lab workers from contaminants is by labeling all the cultures and organizing the space well. This will prevent having apparatus or chemicals in the wrong place, leading to hazards and contamination. So, as a lab manager, you need to ensure workers have a place for every apparatus and that they have labeled them clearly.
Provide workers with the right protective gears
Protective gear ensures a research lab worker is safe from contaminants and harmful chemicals all the time. Offering disposable gloves and lab coats reduces the likelihood of sample cross-contamination and the introduction of contaminants from outside the lab.
Automate some lab processes
Another effective method you can implement is introducing machines like automated liquid handling equipment. It will prevent human errors and sample cross-contamination. Plus, you can include an enclosed hood for such machines to make them contamination-free.
Hire a cleaning company to sterilize the machines and lab
To avoid lab contamination, consider working with cleaning companies that offer commercial cleaning solutions. At Janitek, we employ high-end precautions while using the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to sterilize and disinfect the lab surfaces and equipment. We use intermediate-level cleaning agents and disinfectants that are safe for both lab workers and visitors.
Thankfully, we also do warehouse cleaning, environmental service cleaning, and industrial plant cleaning, which are ideal for research labs. The cleaning operation will not interfere much with your day-to-day lab processes. And if it does (depending on the scope/level of cleaning), it will only take a while before you can resume your normal operations.
At JaniTek, we take pride in providing green cleaning services tailored to your needs as well as your budget. We are an environmentally aware and responsible janitorial service company with a Green seal-42 certification. We use the latest technology to implement the green standards during the cleaning process and look out for the health of our clients’ staff (your research lab workers). And while we are fully insured and licensed to operate across the US, our cleaning services are also rendered in-line with CDC’s cleaning protocols.
Get in touch for a free consultation with our team of experts.