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The Logistical Difficulties Of Moving A Science Lab

Posted December 07, 2013 12:00 AM by CR4 Guest Author

The process of moving a lab can seem overwhelming, especially when considering a long distance or international move. In fact, this process can be so overwhelming that there are professionals that can be hired to help lab managers with the process. While there are many steps that need to be taken, breaking them down into smaller pieces can make this daunting project easier.

Individual as well as team organization is necessary for a laboratory move. A laboratory move does not happen overnight. Planning needs to take place months in advance, and procedures need to slowly be put into place for the proper packing and removal of science equipment, specimen, samples and records.

Government/Health/Safety Regulations

While the regulations are necessary for the safety and health of the laboratory scientists, the red tape can be intimidating. It is absolutely necessary, however, that these regulations are followed exactly. If not, the lab could lose their licensing and all of their hard work would be for naught. There are not only regulations for lab chemicals and specimen, but also for lab equipment. Inventory must be taken of all equipment and supplies before leaving the old laboratory, and upon arrival at the new one.

Lab Operations

In most cases, a lab must remain fully functional while in the process of moving. This means that turn-around times need to remain the same for results; in a research facility, testing and experiments need to stay on track in relation to their project. Planning is key when it comes to working around these issues. Schedules need to be put into place, months in advance, for those operations that can be planned. In addition to the operations of the current laboratory, planners need to ensure the new laboratory will be fully operational as quickly as possible.

Equipment Damage

The damaging of equipment is a real possibility when it comes to the proper removal, loading and setup of the equipment. The movers must be knowledgeable about the equipment in order to safely move it. Not only must the proper procedure be followed for the removal of equipment, but the correct apparatus must be used as well. Much of the equipment in a science laboratory is sensitive, so they must be handled with extreme care and calibrated upon arrival at the new laboratory.

Specimen/Sample Damage

Many laboratory specimen and samples are temperature and time sensitive. This must be taken into account during the move. Proper procedures must be followed for any toxic chemicals, or any specimen that can be a biohazard.

While a lab move can be time intensive and stressful, there are many steps that a lab manager can take that make the process smoother. Proper health and safety regulations must be followed, as well as any government regulations set forth for the laboratory. Planning can make following these regulations much easier. Planning is vital when it comes to laboratory operations in the midst of the move. It is a team effort, but with time and cooperation, as well as knowledgeable professionals, the move can be done effectively and efficiently.

Editor's Note: Jan Davidson has worked as a clinical lab specialist for the past 6 years and is extremely passionate about sharing her knowledge with others Jan constantly strives to expand her knowledge, and recommends others do the same by regularly reading the newscientist.com blog.

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