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Author: Subject: How professional are your labs?
weeksie98
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[*] posted on 21-12-2013 at 11:52
How professional are your labs?


I am currently working on building up my home lab, and plan on keeping it professional and clean. A limit on people in the lab, correct safety equipment according to reagents being used, all blades secured, MSDS on hand at all times, eye wash, and much more. There will be stringent rules that must be followed. This brings me to wonder, what are the rest of you like? Are you as strict as I am, or do you have a more carefree approach to your lab?



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[*] posted on 21-12-2013 at 12:36


Being confined to a 6' by 4' table and a storage cabinet, mine is extremely messy. I've tried cleaning it, but I simply have too much stuff and too little space.



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[*] posted on 21-12-2013 at 12:49


I don't really have professional saftey setup (no MSDS, no eye wash) but am very anal about the rest being professional!
all the glass has to be spotless, everything needs to be in cabinets, the surfaces have to be clean and free of clutter,...




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[*] posted on 21-12-2013 at 12:54


Quote: Originally posted by Pyro  
I don't really have professional saftey setup (no MSDS, no eye wash) but am very anal about the rest being professional!
all the glass has to be spotless, everything needs to be in cabinets, the surfaces have to be clean and free of clutter,...

For the most part I am the same as you, but I do have an incompatibility chart and a solubility/miscibility chart.




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[*] posted on 21-12-2013 at 14:35


I'm generally quite tidy, making sure that all reagents are appropriately stored - segregated by type, properly and fully labelled, and kept in a locked cabinet. Surfaces are kept clean and free of clutter, and are wiped down with water after each use to ensure no chemical residues are left behind. Glassware is cleaned and dried thoroughly after each use, and stored securely. Likewise, equipment is also kept safely after use, with the exception of larger items, such as hotplates, vacuum/inert gas manifolds, and retort stands. Hypodermic needles must have their caps on for storage. Fire extinguishers are weighed monthly and accurate records kept to ensure they do not leak their propellant over time. Buckets of sand, sodium carbonate and kitty litter are kept on hand to control and absorb any spills. I do not have a proper eyewash, however I do have an eyewash bottle filled with saline, which is kept next to the fume hood where most work is performed.

MSDS sheets are not kept on hand, however a digital library is kept available on my PC. I hardly ever use them, because the dangers are usually way out of proportion for small-scale, amateur-level work, but they are handy to show if the worst happens. COSHH assessments are performed by myself, and with a colleague, before any lab work is done to identify and minimise risks and hazards. I keep accurate records of all my work in a laboratory notebook - I am rather stringent about this, and hold the belief that one can never take too many observations; note accurate, descriptive colours, precipitates, viscosities, relative densities, crystallizations, temperatures, concentrations, volumes and much more.

For most work, I wear safety glasses, a cotton lab coat, and nitrile gloves. If greater hazards are presented, then sealed goggles, face shields, respirators, speciality gloves and bench blast shields may be employed.

Many people will consider my approach "excessive", but I believe that it allows for organized work with pure, reagents to be carried out in an environment with minimised risks. Keeping all equipment and reagents safely ensures not only my own safety, but also that of those around me. As far as PPE goes, I know that a lot of what I do doesn't strictly require it, but the day will come, from following this practice, where I will attempt something hazardous and will forget to wear it. Hence, I believe it is always good practice to use it, no matter what you're doing in the lab; even if I'm just pottering around, at the very, very minimum, I'll have safety glasses on. It is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.



[Edited on 21-12-2013 by Hexavalent]




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[*] posted on 21-12-2013 at 15:12


I keep it untidy on purpose because if someone comes in and sees green salt in a pickle jar and some colorless solution along with various mechanical parts they will just think oh thats just blue vitriol for fungicide etc.. It's not that I do anything wrong and I dispose of everything correctly, but keeping it tidy would probably make someone think that I'm doing something very "professionally".

In my area nobody has a problem with chemicals except if they would be stored in a lab. For example blue vitriol in a pickle jar is a perfectly normal sight but copper sulphate in lab reagent bottle wouldn't be. But that's just the way I am, I hate to explain unnecessary things and be misubunderstood in the end. As long as I'm not doing any damage to myself and others, I feel ok and everyone else around me too.

Pdople in my area, especially older people aren't that chemophobic, I mean they alone care less about some things than me. For example spraying something with insecticides (organophosphorus compounds) and not even caring about avoiding inhalation of it.

[Edited on 21-12-2013 by Random]
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[*] posted on 21-12-2013 at 15:52


Mine is very small hehe, Im upgrading it to 2 meter tall and 2 meter wide drawer with shelfs, equipments, and a small refrigerator very soon.
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[*] posted on 21-12-2013 at 16:12


I like to store everything according to what my country's storage guidelines indicate. (https://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/public/ohs/Guidance...)
That way it conforms to national standards. I have a "safety station" where i keep glasses,gloves face shield, eye wash etc. I also keep relatively small amounts of chemicals as i do micro and macro experiments so about 200 g of common chemicals like MgSO4, CaCl2, CuSO4 etc all in general storage. My acids are contained in secondary storage which are taller than the bottles (i only keep 100 ml or less of really dangerous chemicals, like woelen i have a larger stock that i fill up smaller bottles. the stock bottles are stored safely elsewhere. Solvents and flammables i have a 200 ml and under limit for safety's sake. By doing smaller scale work most of the chemicals in that class fit into a smaller area and i feel more comfortable in case of an accident. Everything is labeled with date, molar mass, contents and some cautions ( gonna start putting risk phrases on them too). The joys of small scale :) also everything is very tidy.

[Edited on 22-12-2013 by HeYBrO]




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[*] posted on 21-12-2013 at 16:48


I am constantly behind on washing up and my framework has oxide on it. All my counters could use attention and my chemical organization is an experiment in chaos theory.



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[*] posted on 21-12-2013 at 16:59


I tend to keep my lab clean, got a 4 by 10 table (with my chemicals, some of my glassware, torch, test tubes, ball mill, miss. equipment, ect.) , 3 shelfs, an oven, a hotplate, SO2 generator, ect.



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[*] posted on 21-12-2013 at 20:27


Tidy lab, lazy chemist.

MSDS's are hardly useful. A chemist should know the properties of what they work with by heart, taking into consideration "worst case scenario" in the event of unknown compound. I cannot remember seeing useful information in a MSDS. For things that are really dangerous, they do not convey this accurately relative to the warnings on something like calcium chloride.

[Edited on 22-12-13 by The_Davster]
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plante1999
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[*] posted on 21-12-2013 at 21:16


Quote: Originally posted by The_Davster  
Tidy lab, lazy chemist.

MSDS's are hardly useful. A chemist should know the properties of what they work with by heart, taking into consideration "worst case scenario" in the event of unknown compound. I cannot remember seeing useful information in a MSDS. For things that are really dangerous, they do not convey this accurately relative to the warnings on something like calcium chloride.

[Edited on 22-12-13 by The_Davster]


Totally agree, although I must say that periodic storage and workspace checkup/cleaning is needed to ensure everything is alright.

My workspace is not perfect due to the lack of budget, and or space, but the storage is doing fine (Everything labbeled). Although not in fire cabinet etc... Some kids around here seams to have much budget he he...

MSDS are only useful to cover your ass with the fireman or the police department, else then that, they as no purpose for a real chemist. If you rely on MSDS to take the precautions needed for an experiment, you better change of hobby.




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[*] posted on 26-12-2013 at 14:42


I have a 3,5x2m table, a 1x1m table and a 2x1,5m table to work at, they are kept totally clear save for hotplates.then i have 6 cabinets (nubered 0-6 so i know what key opens what cabinet since i always lock them to keep treehuggers from my chemicals) of which 2 are for chemicals. One of those (#0, yes, a cabinet #0 is original) is for (flammable) liquids which is organized as follows: on the top shelf-solvents (acetone, benzene, DCM, diethyl ether,...) water would go here too. On the second shelf- alcohols (MeOH, cyclohexanol,...) on the third shelf-liquid acids

in the other cabinet (#1) I keep standard reagents and indicator solutions (all metal salts except oxidizers. On the top two shelves. On the third shelf there are two small yellow cabinets (50cmx35cmx35cm), one llabelled poison (HgCl2, Hg(NO3)2, strychnine,...) the other flammable (P4, Na, Mg,... Everything excessivly flammable). Next to those there are bases. On the fourth shelf there are oxidizers (including Br2).

there are many lights a, fridge and an oven. (sink upstairs)
ill post a pic later, it looks really professional)

MSDS's are bogus indeed




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[*] posted on 27-12-2013 at 16:19


My lab is quite cluttered, as I have only one room and it is shared with my electronics/computer lab, as well as my storage area. All my labware is either in drawers or on shelves, covered with some foil to keep the dust from the beakers and flasks. Most of my chems are on two shelving units, one for inorganic chemicals, the other for food grade stuff. I also have some all-new labware exclusively dedicated to food stuff/brewing/distilling.

I have no running water in the lab itself, but my bathroom is 10 ft away. I use a closed circuit to run water in my graham/leibig condensers (a big 2-gallon thick-walled plastic container filled with ice water and a small water pump).

Aside from some mineral acids and solvents, few chemicals in my lab are either toxic or dangerous.

Robert




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[*] posted on 27-12-2013 at 21:54


I have a ~1 x 2 meter table (which has a small lower level where I keep tubing, an aspirator, and a pond pump for condenser cooling), a tall shelf containing hot plates, a heating mantle, and various other equipment, an acids and flammables cabinet, and a very nice glassware cabinet that was once used for various electronics parts (a server rack, basically). There's also a fume hood that uses a bathroom exhaust fan. My lab stays pretty messy, but I try to keep my work area "messily neat." Everything seems to have it's proper place. I've installed a chemical shower (including a pull-cord near the wall), and there's also a fire extinguisher. My large container of hydrochloric acid (too large for the acids cabinet) is placed in a bucket with some sodium bicarbonate and paper separation layers.

There's a sink in the adjacent room, which is where I use my aspirator for filtrations. I use an edge of my brother's workbench (our dad built us a matching pair), as his is beside the sink and usually pretty neat. I regret to say that there are some stains on his table from my filtrations...




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[*] posted on 4-1-2014 at 09:26


I am not the least bit tidy, but I am a safety nut!

I would love to explain the ins and outs of my unique storage system, but it would take me all day!

I also have an msds for every chemical I keep in a sizable amount...

I am working on a complete inventory now...

I promised someone (I believe it was Pyro) that I would post a lab tour in that topic... I will sometime next week :)




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[*] posted on 4-1-2014 at 13:16


yay!

you doing a video on it? I am curious about your storage system too now!




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[*] posted on 4-1-2014 at 14:34


I'm guessing I'm more likely to be pinned as a cook than someone interested in science. I'm very messy but like Jöns Jacob Berzelius once said "A tidy laboratory means a lazy chemist.". So I look pretty unprofessional but I try my best.



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[*] posted on 8-7-2014 at 10:22


Sorry to bring up this old-ish thread. I was just organizing my workspace to try and set it up in a more professional way. Like many people, my storage has been limited to a single cabinet in the garage, but recently a separate large shelf has opened up. I was thinking of storing chemicals there, because I wanted to keep them away from my equipment since some of the volatile substances have been screwing with a lot of my equipment.

Until now, I've had to keep all of my chemicals together on one shelf, so I was wondering what the best way to separate the chemicals is. Acids and bases? Organics and inorganics? Should oxidizers be completely separate? I could separate them into two or three categories.




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[*] posted on 8-7-2014 at 10:59


The way you separate them might also be dependent upon how high up the shelf is. If it is above your shoulders I would be cautious about placing acidic or toxic chemicals up there.



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[*] posted on 8-7-2014 at 11:33


Quote: Originally posted by plante1999  
MSDS are only useful to cover your ass with the fireman or the police department, else then that, they as no purpose for a real chemist. If you rely on MSDS to take the precautions needed for an experiment, you better change of hobby.


100 % agree. Completely useless unless you need liners for your bird cage. Every lab needs one book I call mandatory; Bretherick's "Handbook of reactive Chemical hazards". Also before you do something new you know little about, using chemicals you have little or no experience with a quick search/study through the book can possibly save you from disaster.




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[*] posted on 8-7-2014 at 12:01


I have an MSDS binder simply to look more professional in the event of an emergency. As for the position of the shelf, it's about two and a half feet off the ground, so nothing to worry about. I have three plastic milk crates that I was planning on using for the different chemical categories. I just wasn't sure which categories would be the best to sort them by. I'm starting to think that maybe having organics in one, inorganics in another, and oxidizers in the third would be best. Upon thinking about it a bit, I realized that keeping acids and bases together shouldn't be a huge problem, and would if anything be good since they would neutralize if they spilled. Besides, I've kept all of my chemicals on one shelf with no separation so far with very few problems.



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[*] posted on 8-7-2014 at 13:19


Well, I just realized that I have way too many inorganics to store in a single milk crate, while my organics take up about half of one. I think I'll have to go about it a bit differently.
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[*] posted on 8-7-2014 at 14:30


safety? organization? what on earth do those words even mean? Must be some language other than English LOL



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[*] posted on 8-7-2014 at 18:17


I like to keep my lab space very tidy and professional, and have found that the best why of storing my multitude of reagents is in the large filing cabinets the can be cheaply bought at good will. I recommend keeping a neat lab because it makes any experiments so much easier to do and because if in the rare occasion that someone is suspicious of your activities it looks, well, more professional.



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