Having a decent laboratory design is not just a matter of common sense. It’s an actual advantage that careful lab managers will know how to exploit. It means creating optimal working conditions for your staff, increasing productivity and, above all, increasing safety. It’s not that uncommon for a lab to deal with highly flammable, toxic or unstable materials, which is why proper safety procedures are a must. However, this is not just the issue of a procedure but also of the lab’s layout and having the proper equipment in place. All in all, here’s how great design improves the safety of the laboratory.
1. Fulfilling the needs of lab users
The first thing you need to do is ensure that all the lab users have their needs fulfilled. First, you need to provide everyone with enough manoeuvring space. Second, the position of glassware and lab equipment needs to be strategically placed so that it provides optimal lab routes. Third, you need to keep in mind that labs usually don’t require a lot of manual labour. It’s mostly a creative, scientific process, which is why a lot of labs are known to hire people with disabilities. In this particular scenario, you need to go one step further to ensure that they have exactly what they need.
2. Focusing on the right things
The next thing you need to understand is that a laboratory that’s unsafe for work isn’t something that will go unnoticed. Think about it, you’re hiring a bunch of highly-skilled employees who have probably spent most of their working life around labs. If the escape route is suboptimal, they will notice this and it will constantly be in the back of their minds. Ironically, feeling unsafe will make it harder for them to focus on the task at hand, which will increase the chance that they’ll cause an accident. Other than this, they will accuse you (even if they don’t do it out loud) of disregarding their own safety. This will result in lower employee loyalty, which is always a concern.
3. Proper equipment
Sometimes, it’s not about the layout but the equipment that your laboratory is using. For instance, some unstable or perishable substances need to be kept at a proper temperature, which is why the quality of your vaccine fridge is more than important. At other times, we’ll be talking about properly handling various materials. The end result of your labour is also quite important. You see, with the help of proper equipment, you can ensure that everything is stable (or at least as stable as it needs to be). Needless to say, this makes the place safer as a whole.
4. It affects productivity
The last thing you need to understand is the fact that laboratory design affects productivity. Now, productivity and safety are tightly intertwined. Why? Well, mostly because people who are behind on schedule tend to make more mistakes than those who see things as going according to plan. Also, keep in mind that methods of doing business safely usually tend to be the most productive ones. The right procedure makes all the difference in the laboratory.
Having the right lab layout and equipment is a reward on its own. By making it aesthetically pleasing, you will make your staff more stimulated. Other than this, it will make for an amazing décor that you can take some photos of. Later on, you can use them for branding by displaying them on your website or by sharing it on your social media profiles. In other words, dedicating some extra effort to ensure that your lab’s layout is up to standards is an absolute necessity.