Common Experimentation Mistakes To Avoid in the Lab
You understand a well-run laboratory is essential to producing accurate and reliable results, whether you’re a business owner overseeing lab operations or a research professional. Despite the best intentions, even experienced researchers can make critical mistakes. Familiarize yourself with the common experimentation mistakes to avoid in the lab and how to prevent them.
Choosing the Wrong Lab Supplier
A lab is only as good as the equipment it houses. Choosing the wrong lab supplier can result in poor-quality equipment, delayed times, and even contamination, compromising your data purity and your research quality. You must carefully research potential suppliers and follow the tips for choosing a reliable supplier to avoid this mistake. Ask for referrals or browse online forums relevant to your field. After selecting a reliable supplier, develop a strong relationship with them to ensure a seamless supply of lab equipment and consumables.
Neglecting Proper Lab PPE
Safety is paramount in a laboratory. Accidents, injuries, and contamination can occur when researchers neglect proper lab personal protective equipment (PPE). Lab staff should always wear appropriate PPE such as gloves, face masks, safety goggles, and lab coats. Make sure to follow industry-standard protocols and establish a workplace culture that values and enforces the importance of PPE. A lab safety officer can monitor PPE usage and perform periodic safety audit checks.
Using the Wrong Reagents
Errors in your reagent choices can drastically skew experimental results. Using the wrong reagents or incorrect concentrations can cause errors in readings, leading to erroneous conclusions and wasting valuable time and resources. Check your reagent choices and their concentrations before running experiments. Additionally, always store reagents properly to maintain their integrity and potency. Create a clear organizational system for reagent storage, labeling, and usage. Regularly review protocols in place for reagent handling and update them as necessary.
Improper Clean-Up After Your Experiments
Improper experiment cleanup is the final but equally important mistake to avoid. Many researchers fail to decontaminate lab equipment or dispose of waste materials properly, leading to contamination that jeopardizes future experiments and staff safety. Establish a strict waste-management protocol to safely dispose of chemical and biological waste. Clean and decontaminate laboratory equipment promptly after each experiment. Establishing robust cleaning protocols contributes to a safe lab environment and the maintenance of good experimental practices.
Even experienced lab professionals can fall prey to these common experimentation mistakes to avoid in the lab. You can contribute to a safer, more accurate, and efficient laboratory by giving due attention to supplier selection, proper PPE usage, reagent handling, and thorough cleanup.