All laboratories, from those that work with biological specimens to those that examine chemical reactions, have sample handling procedures. Even university-level labs must follow handling guidelines in order to ensure safety among students. Sample handling is a multi-layered process with particular equipment and procedures along the way—from preparation, to handling, to storage. There are safety guidelines in place to regulate proper handling, but there is also a variety of equipment involved as well. To make sure your lab has everything it needs, follow this guide on lab equipment necessary for handling test samples. Having the right tools is important to keeping your lab and samples safe.
Sample Preparation Equipment
Preparation of your samples is just as important as the equipment you use to handle them. To prepare, measure, and test your samples, you may use a variety of tools. Some of the most common examples of preparation equipment you might find around the lab are balances and scales, mills, grinders, presses, and measuring tools. There are many types of balances and scales alone, such as counting balances, analytical scales, moisture balances, microbalances, portable models, and more. Although, before you can even prep your materials, you must get dressed up in the proper protective equipment.
Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is hands-down the most important part of the handling process. Whether they’re working with biological or chemical samples, scientists must use caution when handling these materials and wear the necessary safety equipment.
- Face and eye protection: Safety glasses are the minimum requirement for entering most laboratory spaces. Depending on what sample materials you’re working with, laboratory-safe goggles or entire face shields may also be required to continue working and handling the specimen.
- Skin protection: Gloves are also extremely important for everyday laboratory use, especially when handling samples. Like headwear, the type of gloves you wear will depend on the sample. For example, for most biological samples, you’ll wear disposable gloves and replace the pair often to maintain sanitary conditions at all times. Thicker gloves may also be required for working with extremely hot or cold samples as well as chemical samples that can corrode or eat through materials.
- Clothing: You may need to dress head-to-toe in laboratory gear for handling particularly hazardous materials. Though, in most cases, only a lab coat is necessary. What you wear to the lab is also important—loose-fitting clothing is not allowed, and you must cover as much exposed skin as possible to prevent burns and exposure to samples. You may also use arm protectors and shoe covers to further enhance skin protection.
There are all kinds of tools involved in the handling process. For example, lab utensils and hand tools help pull from material samples for transferring to a scale or container. These also help transfer materials to dishes or slides for further observation in environments like a petri dish or under a microscope. During the handling and experimentation process, scientists use different equipment like this to protect themselves as well as to preserve the quality of the sample they’re working with.
The precautions that lab technicians take during sample handling protect the samples as much as they protect the technician themselves. During the handling process, lab workers take these steps to minimize contaminating the sample with outside chemical or biological activity. This process is known as sample preservation, and it helps conserve the purity of a sample. Some lab experiments are so precise that even the most minimal outside contact could ruin the sample or overall experiment. Therefore, laboratories must adhere to strict equipment needs and procedures when it comes to handling samples.
Just like sample preservation, holding times are important to maintain the quality of a sample. Holding times refer to the amount of time you can handle or store a sample before its analytical results are compromised. In order to obtain valid results, you must complete experimentation within this holding time period, before the sample starts to lose its quality. You may have to scrutinize any experiments completed past a sample’s holding time, as it may no longer give accurate readings. Temperature is one of the most common factors for affecting this measurement.
Sample Storage Equipment
Materials must be stored in proper sampling containers in the proper conditions. Sampling containers may consist of buckets, cans, bags, or smaller, more precise containers like vials and test tubes. The materials of these containers also matter, as some chemicals or biological materials could react with the containers themselves. Glass, stainless steel, galvanized iron, aluminum, and some plastics are common materials that make up sample containers for their respective substances.
Where To Find Lab Handling Equipment
From handling materials, to testing tools, to storage equipment, you can find all the laboratory products you need right here at USA Lab Equipment. At USA Lab Equipment, you can buy lab equipment online for the most convenient buying experience with all the trustworthiness of buying in a physical store. We provide detailed descriptions, specifics, and measurements for each of our products and can answer all your equipment questions. Whether you are buying for a professional-level lab or to stock up your university lab, the right handling equipment is important, and you can find everything you need at USA Lab Equipment.
Now that you know the lab equipment that’s necessary for handling test samples, you can inspect your own laboratory to learn if you have all the right tools. These materials are important to have and utilize in order to keep your lab safe and controlled. Plus, without the proper handling procedures, your samples could become contaminated or inaccurate, which could lead to wasted experiments. The last thing you want to do is waste samples, time, and money in your lab. So be sure to take stock of all the proper handling equipment and PPE in your lab space. And make sure to check out USA Lab Equipment for all your lab equipment needs and questions.