Lab Safety and Ergonomics at AIHce 2016

Ergonomics in the lab can help reduce fatigue and injury, and result in more productivity.

BALTIMORE -- On day three of AIHce 22016, Marjorie Werell, PT, CIE, and Penny Stench, CIH, CSP, discussed ergonomics in the laboratory, as well as provided sound advice on how to best streamline a laboratory.

Accidents in labs are increasing, often due to the volatility of the materials but also just poor lab safety practices. Poor practices make labs that much more dangerous, especially when you consider the complexity of protocols that are evolving.

In order to prevent incidents and injury in the lab, you have to consider safety from a work organization and work flow perspective, they pointed out.

The biggest takeaway from the session was the importance of lab layout. Not only do you need to consider the different heights of your employees, you also need to think about the order in which machines are used.

Werell used spaghetti mapping to showcase the inefficiency of some lab layouts, causing employees to retrace their steps multiple times in order to access different machines. By reconfiguring the lab in a way that allows employees to logically move from one step to the next, you can save time and prevent possible injury that can be the result of poor layout.

Not all labs are the same, which is why it is important to obey standardization—up to a point. Be sure to consider the unique aspects of your lab and try to arrive at a sound conclusion for maintaining a safe work space.

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