In a laboratory, when the researchers are dealing with harmful chemicals, any exposure to the chemicals may cause injury or harm. Safety cabinets are one of the key safety mechanisms equipped in a laboratory to prevent accidents.
Safety cabinets help in many ways:
- Avoid accidental spills, leaks, and breakage,
- Keep the chemicals secured and safe in storage,
- Keeping incompatible chemicals away from each other,
- Creating a consistent storage system for labelling and organising the chemicals,
- Even in case of an emergency, safety cabinets can help prevent explosions, and
- They help prevent unauthorised access.
Given the importance of safety cabinets in a laboratory, it is critical to make the right choice when buying the safety cabinets. In this blog, we will look at the key tips for choosing the safety cabinets.
1) Plan your laboratory storage
Take an inventory of the chemicals used or likely to be used in the future. This will help in identifying the storage required.
2) Know the Storage Guidelines
Due to varying requirements, not all chemicals are stored similarly. Factors like temperatures, ventilation, special handling procedures, etc. will decide the safety cabinets required.
3) Classify the chemicals
Once you have had a look at the chemicals used, then the next step is to classify them. There are many guidelines for classifications – according to the risk of potential hazards like flammability and corrosiveness. Some users classify the chemicals based on value – the most precious and costliest placed separately from others, and some include classification by the risk factor.
4) Estimate the Quantity
Estimate the quantity in hand and how much you would require in the future.
5) Labelling the Chemicals
Un-labelled chemicals expose to mix up, mishandling, and potential hazard. Safety cabinets with built-in labelling system ensure the chemicals are not mixed or shuffled.
6) Safety Ratings
Safety ratings and certifications are an extremely important criteria for choosing the safety cabinets. Check for design standards that are under NFPA 30 Chapter 9.5.3 and OSHA 29 CFR 1910.106 regulations.
7) Safety Features
Choose prudently the cabinets which have safety mechanism built into them like self-closing doors, constructed out of high-grade steel, double walls, special seals, etc. The cabinets must perform dual function of protecting the chemicals from leaking from the cabinet, and they also must keep them safe inside in case of fire.
8) Check the Capacity and Size
Each lab is different with a unique size. Not every safety cabinet would be the best fit for your lab. Therefore, you need to know the available space at your lab for the safety cabinets and check if the right-fit capacity is available or can be custom made by the manufacturer.
9) Check the Variants
Depending on the use and the storage materials, safety cabinets are colour coded for easy visual identification. Check if there are variants available for flammable, acidic, and combustible chemicals to store in various colour options.
10) Don’t compromise on the Quality
Ultimately, you need to consider the budget. Do not compromise of the quality of the cabinets, as they are an insurance for the safety of your laboratory. Check with the manufacturer is cost-effective models and bulk deals are available.
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