How to Prevent Accidents through safe handling of analytical instruments

Analytical instruments are capable of producing results with high degree of accuracy and precision. As a consequence analytical techniques are widely superseding the earlier classical methods. However, such instruments are prone to accidents and hazards arising from carelessness in handling them. Apart from hazards breakdowns result in loss of productivity and additional expense in repairs.

The main hazards posed by the electrical instruments are electric shocks, ionizing radiations and burns from hot surfaces. These hazards are discussed here and precautions are suggested to minimize them.

Electrical hazards

Electrical-Hazard-warning-Sign

Electrical Hazard warning Sign

Always be on the lookout for electrical shock safety sign on the instrument panels. Be careful and never touch the surface when the instrument is powered up. Electric shocks can result from any of the factors listed below:

  • Insulation of wires can deteriorate over long time use or it can be damaged by rodents.
  • Use of higher rating fuses. Such fuses can permit passage of higher currents than rated value.
  • Non use of insulating gloves and shoes while working in high tension zones
  • Contact with water which is a good conductor of electricity. Always avoid contact with water and maintain humidity inside lab within specified limits.
  • Dangling cables and wires pose tripping hazards. Such wires should be properly placed or hinged along the walls
  • Never pull out a plug from the socket by pulling the cord. Always hold the plug firmly to remove it from the socket.
  • Regularly inspect plugs and wires for damages, loose connections or damage by rodents and replace them without waiting for major mishaps to happen
  • Do not overload electrical points with multi-plugs and power strips. Ensure sufficient number of power points keeping in mind future upgrades to existing facilities.

Radiation Hazards

Ionizing radiation warning sign

Ionizing radiation warning sign

Some instruments may emit harmful UV radiation from light sources. Always inspect flames, plasmas and lamps through protective shields and use protective eye goggles. Some other instruments have inbuilt radioactive sources. Such instruments should be installed only after complying with radiation safety requirements.

Hot Surfaces

Hot-surface-warning-sign

Hot surface warning sign

Before working on instruments look for hot surface warning signs. It is not possible to visually judge if a surface is at room temperature or at an elevated temperature. Avoid touching such surfaces.

In spite of all the precautions it is important to remember the following two important points:

  • Never extinguish electrical fires with water.Make use of carbon dioxide based fire extinguisher.
  • Never touch an electrocuted person. Always first disconnect power from the mains before approaching the person and providing first aid.
About Dr. Deepak Bhanot

Dr Deepak Bhanot is a seasoned professional having nearly 30 years expertise beginning from sales and product support of analytical instruments. After completing his graduation and post graduation from Delhi University and IIT Delhi he went on to Loughborough University of Technology, UK for doctorate research in analytical chemistry. His mission is to develop training programs on analytical techniques and share his experiences with broad spectrum of users ranging from professionals engaged in analytical development and research as well as young enthusiasts fresh from academics who wish to embark upon a career in analytical industry.

Comments

  1. Hello to all, the contents present at this
    website are truly remarkable for people experience, well, keep up the good work fellows.

  2. Safety is the first thing that comes to your mind when you are dealing with any electrical instrument. It is very important that the necessary precaution must be taken. The precautions mention in the articles is really good. One must follow then to avoid accidents.

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