We live in a changing world and laboratories are also changing with the times. The days where one could open the windows and let in fresh air are a distant memory as we now work in temperature-controlled environments under clean-room conditions. These enclosed spaces bring with them a new set of risks, especially in terms of the gases fed into these enclosed spaces from cylinders outside the laboratory.
Today, laboratories are required to be temperature and humidity regulated within tight parameters. This needs to take place in a positive pressure environment that is virtually free of dust. Consequently, it has become a challenge to fulfil the numerous quality-related criteria regarding safety requirements.
Liquid nitrogen dewars pose a serious risk in electron microscope laboratories without adequate air replacement where the boil off of liquid nitrogen dilutes the oxygen content of the air, resulting in the danger of asphyxiation. Toxic gases that cannot be extracted from the sampling procedure, and are expelled to a scrubber to neutralise the gas, pose a threat to both the health of personnel as well as the environment.
What can be done about this dilemma? The best solution is to address these issues during the design phase. It is much simpler to make provisions for these safety and quality requirements in the initial phases, than to incorporate them later, or to upgrade an existing facility. Design flaws are not easily rectified after the building is complete. Therefore, proper scoping and planning with the consulting engineer and architects in the early stages of building a laboratory will save time and money in the long run.
Should you wish to know more about the requirements of complying with world standards, Afrox can assist. Whether you are in the planning phase, or wish to upgrade your existing laboratory, contact Afrox to assist you in making the best decision.