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Electrophoresis


Electrophoresis equipment may be a major source of electrical hazard in the laboratory. The presence of high voltage and conductive fluid in this apparatus presents a potentially lethal combination.

Many people are unaware of the hazards associated with this apparatus; even a standard electrophoresis operating at 100 volts can deliver a lethal shock at 25 milliamps. In addition, even a slight leak in the device tank can result in a serious shock.

Protect yourself from the hazards of electrophoresis and electrical shock by taking these precautions:

  • Inspect equipment before use:
    • Inspect power cords for frayed, cracked of dried out cords.
    • Discard and replace all cords that do not pass the inspection.
    • Inspect gaskets on vertical electrophoresis chambers to ensure they are not leaking.
    • Inspect the electrophoresis chamber for buffer leaks, caused by crazing or cracks in the plastic.
    • Inspect the safety guards to ensure proper function, including no load sensors, open load sensors, and ground leakage detectors on the power supply
         and safety interlocks cover.
  • Use physical barriers to prevent inadvertent contact with the apparatus.
  • Use electrical interlocks.
  • Frequently check the physical integrity of the electrophoresis equipment.
  • Use warning signs to alert others of the potential electrical hazard.
  • Use only insulated lead connectors.
  • Turn the power off before connecting the electrical leads.
  • Connect one lead at a time using one hand only.
  • Ensure that your hands are dry when connecting the leads.
  • Keep the apparatus away from water and water sources.
  • Turn the power off before opening the lid or reaching into the chamber.
  • Do not disable safety devices.
  • Follow the equipment operating instructions.

May 2011
Reviewed November 2014