What Causes Most Common Laboratory Errors | USA Lab

What Causes Most Common Laboratory Errors | USA Lab

Posted by USA Lab Equipment on Apr 20th 2021

In a field where even minuscule miscalculations can have detrimental results, minimizing potential sources of error is essential. While it is impossible to eradicate errors in the scientific and medical field entirely, being aware of the most common causes of inaccuracies can help prevent them from occurring as much as possible. Below, we will address the four most common laboratory errors: environmental, procedural, human, and instrumental. Find out what causes most laboratory errors:

Environmental Error

Environmental errors are miscalculations that result from changes in environmental conditions. For example, temperature fluctuations, wind shifts, humidity, and changes in the Earth’s magnetic field are all potential causes of environmental error. To prevent this form of error from occurring, it’s important to stabilize the conditions of an experiment or test and minimize the influence that the environment has on the experiment’s final result.

Procedural Error

Another one of the most common causes of error in laboratories is procedural error. This form of error is largely preventable and occurs when individuals do not adhere to proper procedures. To minimize procedural error in your lab, make sure everyone involved with conducting a test or experiment is following the same procedure and is aware of all necessary steps.

Human Error

Human error is also largely preventable and highly prevalent in laboratories. This form of error is described as the failure to achieve the desired outcome from a planned action. It is often the result of either carelessness or limitations of human ability. Common examples of human error include spilling material, writing something down incorrectly, or reading measurements wrong.

Instrumental Error

Instrumental errors refer to errors that result from a flaw or inaccuracy in the devices or equipment used. For example, if a piece of laboratory equipment was not calibrated properly, instrumental error would likely occur. To prevent instrumental errors from skewing your experiment and test results, it’s imperative to maintain your equipment properly, keep an eye out for signs of potential damage, and replace or repair faulty equipment as needed.

So what causes most laboratory errors? According to a study published by the National Library of Medicine, pre-analytical errors were estimated to make up for 70% of "all mistakes made in laboratory diagnostics." Therefore, a thorough vetting of all data points prior to experimentation is crucial. 

At USA Lab Equipment, we are committed to helping our customers achieve the most accurate results possible. As such, we offer exceptional quality lab instruments at competitive prices to prevent instrumental error from occurring. To learn more about our top-of-the-line new and used lab equipment, contact us today.