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Laboratory Equipment Safety

There are four fundamental elements of equipment safety:

  • use the correct equipment
  • know how to operate the equipment
  • inspect the equipment
  • use the equipment properly

Use equipment for its intended purpose only. Do not modify or adapt equipment without guidance from the equipment manufacturer. Do not defeat, remove, or override equipment safety devices.

Always use the proper procedure for operating the equipment. When a new piece of equipment is being started, follow the manufacturer's instructions for initial startup and development of a written operating procedure or protocol.

Working in a laboratory requires various types of equipment. To ensure equipment safety, you must be familiar with the following:

  • Equipment operation
  • Applicable safeguards
  • Maintenance requirements

Always inspect equipment before using it. Ensure that the equipment meets the following requirements:

  • Controls and safeguards are adequate and functional.
  • Location is safe (and well ventilated, if necessary).
  • Equipment works properly.

Disconnect any equipment that is unsafe or does not work properly, and remove it from service. Notify other users of the problem.

Refer to other sections in this manual for specific information on operating laboratory equipment, such as fume hoods, heating devices, vacuums, etc.

May 2011
Reviewed November 2014