Suggestions on conducting repair and renovation activities in laboratories

Laboratory repair worker

Laboratory repair and renovation often becomes necessary for reasons such as:

  • To create additional space for additional manpower requirements.
  • To accommodate modern techniques and instruments to keep pace with changing technical and regulatory requirements.
  • To carry out renovations to give the laboratory a new look.
  • To carry out civil jobs to repair sewages, cracks or modifications in original building plans to accommodate specialized instrumental facilities and other required utilities.

In addition to above there could be several other reasons for carrying out repairs and alterations in laboratories. However, when carrying out such activities special attention is due to ensure:

  • Minimum loss in laboratory productivity
  • Minimum distraction of working staff on account of construction activities, noise or contamination
  • Safety of operations

Suggestions are being forwarded to achieve the above mentioned goals.

Minimum loss in laboratory productivity

It is important to bring to the notice of all laboratory workers in advance about the proposed repair/renovation plans so that they can make alternate arrangements to minimize loss of time for routine activities. This may require temporary relocations to be made. Advance measures can also be taken to prevent inflow of dust and keep the unaffected area free of contamination due to construction or repair activities. Additionally it is still advisable to cover up not in use laboratory items to safeguard them against dust.

Minimum disturbance of laboratory workers

The affected area should be earmarked and isolated using noise and dust free screens. If possible, specially covered isolated passage should be provided for labour and technicians. The laboratory staff will be isolated from noise and dust but even then it is advised to keep the out of use equipments as a safeguard against dust.

Safety of Operations

All repairs and renovations should be carried out only after taking adequate safety precautions so that chances of accidents and resulting injuries get minimized.

Discuss the layout plan of water pipe lines, electrical distribution lines, exhaust ducts, utility lines such as air conditioning, compressed air, thermic fluids or other utility gases with the repair contractor so that unintentional accidental damage and disruption of services can be avoided

  • Temporarily disconnect all instruments in the affected area and move them to alternate site before starting the repair work
  • Remove all chemicals, solvents or gas cylinders to alternate safe areas before start of work.
  • Cordon off the repair areas so that laboratory personnel do not enter or sustain any accidental injuries

Laboratory renovation and repair require the services of specially trained labour force as laboratories pose hazards due to presence of hazardous materials in addition to high tension wires, compressed gases and other high-pressure fluids. During such activities daily regular inspection by laboratory managers and labour contractor teams would ensure timely completion of tasks and at same time help supervise that the prescribed safety norms are not violated.

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.

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