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.
Reviewed November 2014