6 Things You Must Have for Your Lab
July 23, 2018
A lab is only as useful as the tools inside it. Researchers need a lot of specialized equipment to do their jobs, but there are also a few general things that are absolutely vital for every lab.
Labs can be dangerous, so your lab must include tools to mitigate that danger. Anyone who works with chemicals needs to have access to an eyewash and shower station to clean themselves in case of a spill. Convenient waste disposal can also be a safety feature because it helps with cleaning up broken glass and other hazardous waste, while more specialized labs may need specialized safety gear.
Disease control is also vital, since shared gear can easily transmit germs. Cabinets for safety glasses and other gear that use UV radiation to kill germs are often ideal. They disinfect items while they are in storage for safety and convenience. Lamps that do the same job are also available for disinfecting work spaces or converting other storage areas.
Your lab will inevitably get cluttered with notes and equipment over time. It is wise to invest in some filing cabinets, shelves, and other organization tools early on to try to keep the mess under control. That will make it much easier to find what you need when you are working, which will make everyone in the lab much more efficient and productive.
Varied Cleaning Supplies
Labs get messy. You need to be able to clean them, both to prevent contamination and to ensure that there are no dangerous accidents. That means that it is vital to stock your lab with cleaning supplies, and you often need a variety of them. After all, not every cleaning solution is appropriate for every mess. You should also make a point of keeping plenty of disposable towels and other items around, just to be sure that there is no danger of running out of them at a bad time.
All bottles, flasks, and other containers should be labeled at all times, both for safety reasons and to prevent innocent mistakes while working. A label maker is a great tool for speeding that process up and making sure that the labels are as legible as possible. That makes it vital for researchers with poor handwriting, but anyone can put one to good use.
You can never have too much glassware in a lab. Having more than you think you will need ensures that you can break a few flasks by accident and still be able to continue your work instead of ordering more and waiting. You don’t need a huge amount of spare pieces, but you should always have some wiggle room for accidents.