Agricultural Lab Equipment and Safety Competencies 9.00-10.00
What is safety? • Safety is defined as freedom from danger, risk, or injury. • This is NOT possible to achieve. So, we have to ensure that our environment is as safe as possible by: • Keeping a clean area • Using safety equipment • Following all instructions
Safety Equipment • The following safety equipment is most often used in laboratory settings: • Eye protection • Lab coats • Gloves • Fire protection equipment • Materials storage cabinets • Eye wash/shower • Fume hood
Eye Protection • Safety glasses, safety goggles, or face shield • Used to protect eyes and face from spills or splashes (one of the most common accidents in labs)
Eye Protection • Face shields offer the most protection • Scratches can be avoided by never laying the protection face down
Lab Coats • Protect body and clothes from spills • Contribute to a sterile environment
Gloves • Usually surgical style, thin plastic • Offer some protection to skin • Used to achieve aseptic conditions
Fire Protection Equipment • Fire blanket • Fire extinguisher • Fire alarm • Should be easily accessible and clearly marked • In order to extinguish a fire, the fuel must be known
Fire Protection Equipment • Fire extinguishers should be rated for chemical and/or liquid fires • Classes of fire extinguishers • Class A-paper/wood • Class B-liquids • Class C-electrical • Class D-combustible metals
Fire Protection Equipment • Fire extinguisher should be aimed at the base of the flames and used until flames are completely extinguished.
Fire Protection Equipment • Fire blankets are most effective for smoldering small flames on an individual’s clothing or person.
Materials Storage Cabinets • Flammables • Most common type of cabinet • Isolates flammable chemicals for safety • Should contain chemicals ONLY • Fire resistant, not fire proof
Materials Storage Cabinets • Acids • Isolate chemicals with specialized spill containers
Eye Wash/Shower • Should be checked often • Should only be used in case of emergency • After chemical exposure, eyes should be rinsed for more than a minute to ensure that damage is limited as much as possible.
Fume Hood • Removes noxious fumes produced by chemical solutions from the laboratory • Very expensive
General Guidelines • Keep the workspace clean and clear of any obstructions and excess equipment, people, and/or supplies. • Keep supplies and equipment in an easily accessible location.
Chemical Safety • Make certain that chemicals are clearly labeled with Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) well marked and easily accessible.
Chemical Spills and Exposure • Spills should be quickly contained and the area secured • Special media can be used to absorb harmful chemicals
Chemical Spills and Exposure • Any exposed skin should be immediately rinsed or neutralized (in the case of acid or base) • particularly with eye exposure MSDS should be consulted for treatment • A mild acid can sometimes be used to neutralize areas exposed to a strong base (works both ways)
Chemical Spills and Exposure • Chemicals consumed orally should be treated using the chemical’s MSDS sheet.
MSDS Sheets • MSDS sheets contain important information on chemicals including: • Chemical properties • Storage • Disposal procedures • Treatment for exposure
MSDS Sheets • Using the worksheet provided research information on the Material Safety Data Sheets for three chemicals.
Handling Chemicals • Only use chemicals that are properly labeled, with current MSDS sheets • Use only approved containers for mixing and storing chemical solutions • Use a graduated cylinder or digital scale to ensure that the proper amount of chemicals are added to the solution
Handling Chemicals • When pouring liquid chemicals, place containers in contact whenever possible to prevent spills. • Do not leave chemicals unattended outside of storage areas. • When creating acid solutions, acids should always be poured slowly into water, to prevent splashing
Handling Chemicals • Federal law requires chemicals to be diluted before disposal being careful not to mix chemicals that react violently. • Make certain that all necessary permits are obtained from government regulatory agencies for the use of restricted chemicals and biologicals.
Sterilization Equipment • An autoclave is the best method for sterilization of small lab equipment, water/solutions, glassware, and lab materials. • Even paper towels and cotton swabs can be sterilized. • Autoclaves will KILL all live material
Sterilization Equipment • Flow hoods and surfaces can be cleaned/disinfected with a bleach based solution
Sterilization Equipment • Forceps and other equipment should never be placed in contact with surfaces • Should be kept in a 70% ethanol (alcohol) solution, and flamed over an alcohol lamp before contacting sterile material.
Creating a Sterile Environment • Tissue culture and other aseptic lab techniques work best in a clean room or under a Laminar Flow Hood
Creating a Sterile Environment • Laminar flow hoods use a special filter (hepa filter) to clean air that needs changed after a given number of hours. • Sterile boxes can be created with plexiglass or plastic sheeting for a more affordable but less reliable alternative.
Creating a Sterile Environment • Once the area is sterilized the movement of equipment and materials into and out of the work area should be minimized.
Maintaining Sterile Conditions • A face shield or front cover should be used to prevent contamination from mouth and nose (breathing).
Maintaining Sterile Conditions • Hands and arms • Should be carefully washed with soap and water • An anti-bacterial soap should be used on hands over wrists, immediately before placement in sterile surgical gloves. • Hands should be kept inside the air curtain of the flow hood at all times, away from the edge or entrance to avoid accidental contamination.
Maintaining Sterile Conditions • Sleeves should be away from hands and shedding materials should be avoided • A lab coat is ideal.
MSDS Sheets • MSDS Sheets provide all the information necessary for storage, handling, and disposal of a chemical or solution • Includes the chemical formula, reactivity data, storage temperatures, exposure/ inhalation/ingestion treatments, disposal methods, dangers with use, etc. • Should be easily accessible in the lab
Mixing Chemicals • Make certain to clearly label the COMPOSITION AND STRENGTH of all solutions • Under concentrated solutions can be ineffective • Over concentrated solutions can be extremely dangerous
Mixing Chemicals • Always pour concentrated acids INTO cool water (NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND) • Pour with beakers or bottles in contact when possible, running the liquid down the side of the glass to avoid splashing or flash boiling • KNOW WHAT YOU ARE COMBINING OR CREATING!!!
Use of Biological Materials • Biological materials should be carefully stored and utilized with careful attention to temperature. • Bacteria cultures should NEVER be incubated at temperatures ABOVE 30 degrees C, as higher temps encourage the growth of organisms harmful to humans.
Use of Biological Materials • Biological materials should be clearly labeled and stored in clearly marked and isolated areas. BACTERIA
Use of Biological Materials • Any harmful biological materials should be destroyed prior to disposal • Autoclaves can be used to destroy most bacteria cultures and plant or animal cells. • Agricultural labs often use special biological materials disposal containers to store materials until pickup for destruction by an external company.
Laboratory Equipment • There are several different types of equipment that are essential to labs: • Autoclave • Centrifuge • Micropipette • Compound Light Microscope • Incubator • Water Bath • Hot Plate • Shaker • Graduated Cylinder
Autoclave • A chamber that uses high levels of heat and pressure to sterilize instruments and materials, or destroy harmful organisms/pathogens.
Autoclave Safety • Check all gauges and valves before using an autoclave. • Never leave equipment unattended while running, as high temperatures and pressure can be dangerous.
Centrifuge • An instrument used to isolate solids (in the form of a small pellet) from a solution. • Utilizes very small tubes to hold the solution.
Using a Centrifuge • Proper use of a centrifuge requires that the instrument be balanced. • This can be accomplished by placing an equal number of tubes directly across from each other in the instrument.