Laser Safety Glasses: The Ugly Truth About Laser Radiation Exposure

Avoiding Eye Damage

In the time that it takes to blink an eye, laser radiation damage to the eye may have already occurred. Unprotected exposure to lasers can result in the development of cataracts or even a corneal burn, which can result in vision loss. If you are working with or around lasers, it is very important to understand the consequences of laser radiation exposure. We have decided to dedicate this post to educating you about laser beams and the safety precautions you should take when working around them.

Laser Beam Exposure

In addition to direct laser beam exposure, there are several other types of dangerous indirect laser beam exposures. Intra beam exposure occurs when the eye or skin is directly exposed to all or a part of the laser beam. It is also important to be careful of specular reflections. This is when the laser beam is reflected off mirror like surfaces. Reflections from flat mirror surfaces can be as harmful as exposure to a direct laser beam. Curved mirror surfaces decrease the intensity of the beam, but there is a larger area for possible laser radiation exposure. Diffuse reflections happen with surfaces that reflect the beam in many directions. Because the beam is reflected in so many directions, this exposure does not have the same power and energy of a direct beam. It is important to keep in mind that diffuse reflections are still harmful.

Protecting Your Eyes

The biggest risk with working around lasers is having any of these types of exposures enter the eye unprotected. In the human body, the eye is the most sensitive to light. When the eye is exposed to a laser beam, the lens in the eye focuses the beam into a tiny spot. This can actually burn the retina of the eye. At different wavelengths, lasers cause several types of eye injuries. Exposure to laser radiation with wavelengths that are less than 400 nanometers and greater than 1400 nanometers result in cataracts and burn injuries. This is because the eye absorbs this level of exposure through the cornea and lens. The most damaging wavelengths are between 400 and 1,400 nanometers, which results in the heating of the retina and can cause retinal burns. The image below shows which parts of the eye absorb the laser rays at different wavelengths.

Determine The Appropriate Protection

Fortunately, wearing laser safety glasses or goggles can protect the eyes from the risks that lasers pose. The U.S Occupational Safety and Health Administration require staff to wear laser safety glasses or goggles when operating or around lasers that are Class 3b and Class 4. Class 3b lasers are lasers that powered from 5 to 500 milliwatts and Class 4 lasers have output powers of more than 500 milliwatts. These laser safety glasses and goggles provide protection from reflected laser light and direct beam exposure. Laser safety eyewear is available for different wavelength ranges and for specific types of lasers. It is recommended that you find out the class of the laser you are working with as well as the appropriate wavelength range to ensure the best possible protection.

We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to protect your eyes and yourself from the harmful effects of laser radiation. Remember, the damage done to the eyes from laser radiation exposure can be permanent!

6 Reasons Why You Should Use These Serological Pipettes

Serological pipettes

Serological pipettes or volumetric transfer pipettes are liquid handling devices used to transfer a desired volume of solution from one receptacle to another container. Globe Scientific is known as a producer of exceptional quality laboratory supplies and their unique UniPlast™ plastic serological pipettes are a perfect example.

1. One-Piece Construction

These pipettes are manufactured from a single piece of polystyrene plastic, which eliminates the weld point that are commonly found in other brands of pipettes. Some pipette manufacturers weld the pipette tip and mouth pieces to the main pipette body, these “weld points” can trap liquid and can cause inaccuracies. The UniPlast™ pipette is constructed of a smooth one-piece, FDA grade polystyrene plastic, which incorporates a seamless design that eliminates the potential for trapped liquids. This unique design provides faster fill and release rates, while also ensuring a complete flow out of the sample and also offers a higher degree of accuracy.

2. Aerosol Barrier Filter (Plug)

The UniPlast serological pipettes utilize an aerosol barrier plug that prevents both fluid and liquid vapors from contaminating the pipettor and sample. Unlike cotton plugs, the aerosol barrier filter, made from bonded polyolefin fiber provides better protection and reduces the chance of over pipetting and the potential contamination of the pipetting device.

3. Ergonomic

The UniPlast Serological pipettes are shorter than most other serological pipette brands. The short, compact reservoir design of these pipettes makes them easier to handle and move throughout the laboratory. You will notice the improved comfort while working in tight spaces and under lab hoods for extended periods of time.

4. Convenient

The specially designed tip is able to accommodate more viscous liquids. The inside diameter of the serological pipette ranges from 1.56mm for the 1 mL up to 4.50mm for the 25 mL pipette. See the table below for more inside dimeters.

Serological Pipette Tip Diameters 

ItemVolume (mL)Tip Outside Diameter (mm)Tip Inside Diameter (mm)
1700/1710/17151 mL2.98mm O.D.1.56mm I.D.
1720/1730/17352 mL2.98mm O.D.1.95mm I.D.
1740/1750/17555 mL3.43mm O.D.2.54mm I.D.
1760/1770/177510 mL3.35mm O.D.2.80mm I.D.
1780/178425 mL5.10mm O.D.4.50mm I.D.

5. Accurate

The UniPlast serological pipette has printed black graduations which prevent ambiguity while measuring the amount of liquid being aspirated or dispensed. This feature guarantees precise readings with less than 2% inaccuracy at full volume. Reverse graduations are available for all five volumes and negative graduations are included on all pipettes with the exception of the 25 mL volume.

6. Color Coded

The UniPlast serological pipette is color coded to meet ASTM E1380 standards.

ASTM E1380

Standard specification for color coding of laboratory pipets with multiple graduations, 0.1 mL and larger, nut excluding disposable prothrombin and disposable micropipets.

Fits All Major Pipettors

Designed to fit all major brands of pipettors these ergonomic serological pipettes offer a smooth one-piece construction for consistent results. These pipettes are manufactured under strict ISO 9001:2008 standards and are calibrated for accuracy. All UniPlast™ serological pipettes are non-pyrogenic, non-cytotoxic and non-hemolytic. Sterilized by gamma irradiation, these pipettes are RNase-free and DNase-free.

25 mL UniPlast Plastic Serological Pipette Demo Video

The pipettes are available in multiple sizes: 1ml, 2mL, 5mL, 10mL, and 25 mL to handle a wide-range of liquid handling applications.The pipettes come wrapped in peel packs, which are made from polyethylene plastic and medical paper. This design makes them easy to peel apart for quick removal. The UniPlast™ Serological Pipettes will be a welcomed addition to any laboratory looking for consistent and accurate results for transferring milliliter volumes of liquid.

The 5S Approach To A Lean Lab

What is Lean?

Lean production (lean) is a popular quality improvement methodology that can be traced back to manufacturing and technology. Lean manufacturing principles can be used to improve efficiency in the laboratory environment. Lean has been adopted by many health care organizations and laboratories to help eliminate waste, organize the workplace, streamline procedures and establish clear, visual standards.

According to a 2007 white paper written by the Mayo Clinic Mayo Medical Laboratories “Innovations in the Clinical Laboratory – An Overview of Lean Principles in the Laboratory,” Lean is a based on eliminating waste and continuous improvement: “This is done while intently concentrating on eliminating redundant motion, recognizing waste, and identifying what creates value from the client’s perspective. Lean is a continuous process improvement initiative and not an end destination.”

What is 5S Lean?

The disciplined approach of the lean methodology provides many benefits:

  • Reduces waste/clutter
  • Creates a culture of responsibility
  • Increased lab safety
  • Enhance employee morale and involvement
  • Organization
  • Cleanliness
  • Space savings
  • Increases inventory control
  • More consistent experiments
  • Increases productivity
  • Faster onboarding of new employees
  • Timely delivery of supplies

Simply put, 5S Lean is an enabler of waste-free production that supports an operating philosophy that emphasizes discipline, efficiency, and attention to detail. In the modern lab, where many labs have faced reduced budgets and fewer staff members, adopting the lean methodology can result in a more cost-effective and safer way to manage processes. Applying the 5S lean methodology in the laboratory environment will improve efficiencies and lab safety for current and future employees.

What are the 5 S’s?

There are five phases of the 5S Lean methodology, you may be familiar with the Japanese names, here are the five phases translated into English. It is important to note that you will want to establish a baseline for the target work areas before you begin the implementation process. This way you are able to document your baseline “before” condition with pictures and a description of the original work area configuration to use as a comparison during future audits.

  • Sort
  • Set in Order
  • Shine
  • Standardize
  • Sustain

Sort (Seri) is based on removing unnecessary items and disposing of them properly. Work is made easier by eliminating obstacles and you will reduce the chance of being disturbed by unnecessary items in the lab. This phase will also help prevent the accumulation of unnecessary items and it will also assist in the evaluation of necessary items with regard to debt, cost, and other important factors.

Key steps

  • Establish a holding area for items (e.g. red tag area)
  • Identify items not required at the current location
  • Organize team members to evaluate items in the holding area
  • Dispose of items with team approval

Set in Order (Seiton) is where you arrange all necessary items in order so they can be easily picked up for use. This phase focuses on preventing loss and wasting time, making it easy to find and identify the necessary tools, equipment, and supplies. You will want to identify sources of waste and rearrange items.

Key Steps

  • Identify necessary tools, equipment, and supplies
  • Determine location for necessary items
    • Item location considerations (pipettes will be used daily)
      • Daily use (lab bench) e.g. Pipettes
      • Weekly use (common storage area) e.g. buffer solutions
      • Monthly use (remote storage area) e.g. highly specialized lab items
  • Designate and outline permanent locations for items
    • How to set in order
      • Define the major processes performed
      • For each process, draw a map of the locations of each activity
      • Identify sources of waste and develop corrective measures
      • Position items where they are needed based on frequency
  • Organization of supplies
    • Determine address system with part number and address
    • Label container with part number
    • Note minimum and maximum quantity if appropriate
      • Inventory bins and shelves (holding product)
        • 2 bin system (2 bins for each product and once 1 bin is empty you will want to refill the bin)
        • Min/Max (max red line and minimum green line)
      • Relocating laboratory equipment such as digital dry baths, mini water baths, microscopes that are located throughout the laboratory into a more convenient location that is within reach and an open workspace.

Shine (Seiso) or clean is an important phase, especially while working in the laboratory environment. By thoroughly cleaning your work areas in the laboratory, you use cleaning as a means of inspection, you can keep your lab area safe from hazards and clutter which can result in inefficiencies. Getting in the habit of cleaning and inspecting your laboratory work space you will be able to identify leaks, spills, potential contamination, or any other minor problems that could turn into larger problems down the road.

Key Steps

  • Clean thoroughly – really make it shine!
  • Clean and inspect lab work areas daily to identify any potential issues or problems

Standardize (Seiketsu) phase is focused on maintaining order and adhering to a set standard. This is where you or your team will develop standard operating procedures (SOPs) which help in the in the on-boarding of new employees, saves time for routine tasks and improves overall efficiency. You will also want to document equipment and processes while developing an audit schedule and assigning specific tasks to individuals. Establishing a methodology to ensure a consistent strategy for successful 5S implementation is an important consideration and will impact the overall effectiveness of the initiative.

Key Steps

  • Develop SOPs (standard operating procedures) Helpful for new employees, saves time and improves efficiency
  • Document equipment and processes
  • Develop and audit schedule and assign tasks to individuals
  • Establish a methodology to ensure consistent strategy for 5S implementation
    • 5S taping standard
      • MIcroscope room (blue and yellow tape)
      • Standardize a bench (each bench has a standard layout)
        • Storage area for chemicals and solutions
          • Pipettes, sharps containers and tips
          • Biological cabinet (no tape) post a picture instead

Sustain (Shitsuke) is the most challenging and difficult stage for most organizations. Although this may be the most trying of phases, it is also the one with the largest payoff. You will want to regularly communicate and train employees to adopt the 5S methodology and adhere to the 5 phases to keep your lab running smoothly and efficiently. This portion of the 5S will have the highest level of variability since every lab and organization is different. It is important to define your measures of performance (MOPs) early, doing so will allow you to begin tracking your results immediately.

Key Takeaways

  1. Sort, separate what is unnecessary
  2. Set in Order, organize
  3. Shine, clean up
  4. Standardize, establish standard operating procedures
  5. Sustain, develop long-lasting habits

“The main objective of Lean, when applied in the laboratory, is to deliver quality patient laboratory results, at the lowest cost, within the shortest time frame while maintaining client satisfaction.” -Mayo Clinic Mayo Medical Laboratories

The Lean methodology is an extremely powerful tool when used properly. Every organization is different and this methodology will have to be adapted to your organizations unique needs and requirements. Remember, driving lean improvements can seem challenging at times, but when you utilize the proper tools, approach, and support, you can make a difference in your organization.

References

Amirahmadi, Fazi, Al Dalbello, Dan Gronseth, and Jean McCarthy. “Innovations in the Clinical Laboratory: An Overview of Lean Principles in the Laboratory.” (2007): 2. Mayo Medical Laboratories. Aug. 2007. Web. 28 Oct. 2009.

Ball, Dr. David [Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech]. (2014, July 24). 5S Organization in the Peccoud Lab Retrived from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_gmFiXgFY

Hirano, Hiroyuki (1995). 5 Pillars of the Visual Workplace. Cambridge, MA: Productivity Press. ISBN 978-1-56327-047-5.

3 Different Types of Serological Pipettes

Serological Pipettes

The serological pipette is commonly found and used in most laboratories for transferring milliliter volumes of liquid ranging from 1 milliliter to 50 milliliter. Pipettes are available in plastic or glass, for the purpose of this post we will be focusing on single-use, polystyrene plastic serological pipettes. We will be reviewing three types of serological pipettes, each type of pipette is designed for specific applications.

Open-End Pipettes

The Open-end pipettes are specially designed pipettes that feature an open-end for use with high viscosity liquids. The open-end design allows the pipettes to aspirate and dispense viscous liquids quickly and easily. Therefore, the fast fill and release rates make these pipettes well suited for use with oils, cosmetics, paint, sludge, food and cell culture applications. These open-ended pipettes are constructed of polystyrene plastic and provide a safer alternative to glass pipettes.

Liquid vapor and fluid contamination to the pipettor and sample is significantly reduced with fiber filter plug located at the end of the pipette tip. These non-pyrogenic pipettes are sterilized by gamma irradiation and come individually wrapped in thermoformed paper/plastic peel packaging. The pipettes are available in 1 mL, 2 mL, 5 mL, and 10 mL sizes. Color coded to meet industry standard ASTM E1380 for easy identification these open-end pipettes are an excellent choice for efficient liquid handling.

Bacteriological Pipettes

Used primarily in the examination of dairy products, milk or bacteriological pipettes are designed for use in the dairy field and meet the American Public Health Association (A.P.H.A) standard for the Examination of Dairy Products. These polystyrene milk pipettes are available in 1.1 mL and 2.2 mL sizes.

These sterile,non-pyrogenic, single-use bacteriological pipettes are sterilized by gamma irradiation and come individually wrapped in thermoformed paper/plastic peel packaging. These pipettes utilize a fiber filter that helps prevent fluid and liquid vapor contamination of samples and the pipette’s internal mechanism. This pipette is calibrated to deliver (TD) at +/- 2% and meets ASTM E934 standards.

Aspirating Pipettes

Unlike open-end and bacteriological pipettes, aspirating pipettes are completely transparent and do not have gradations. Designed for the transfer and mixing of liquids, they are used in a wide variety of applications, such as vacuum or pipettor aspiration procedures. These single-use, non-pyrogenic, non-plugged polystyrene pipettes are a safer alternative to glass Pasteur pipettes.

These aspirating pipettes come individually wrapped in thermoformed plastic/paper peel to protect against contamination. Sterilized by gamma irradiation, these pipettes have a sterility assurance level (SAL) of 10-6 .

Serological Pipettes: A Useful Tool For Transferring Solutions

Now that we have reviewed the three different types of serological pipettes available, you should have a better understanding of the unique capabilities of each type of pipette. For added flexibility and convenience, different sizes of pipettes can be used with the same pipette controller for a variety of experimental assays.

By following proper pipetting techniques while aspirating or dispensing liquids, serological pipettes can be useful tools for transferring milliliter volumes of solutions in your lab.

4 Unique Ways To Safely Store Your Pipettes

Pipettes are designed to efficiently deliver a small measured fixed volume of liquid into a receptacle. Proper handling and storage techniques are important to maintain accurate readings and maximize their longevity. Liquid handling equipment must be stored correctly to prevent inaccuracies and produce accurate outcomes.

Pipettes are precise laboratory instruments and need to be properly cared during and after each use. It is recommended that you visually inspect your pipette for damage on a daily basis to avoid undesirable outcomes. For example, damage to the nose cone (where the tip is fitted) could result in a poor seal to the pipette tip, which will reduce accuracy and it is unlikely to be fit for the job you need it for.

Pipette Storage Tips

Once you have finished pipetting you will want to ensure that you store your pipette vertically using a pipette holder, stand or workstation. Following these simple steps will prevent any liquids from seeping into the barrel of the pipette and causing damage by corroding the barrel or shaft. Never put your pipette on it’s side with liquid in the tip, this can cause the same issue with corrosion and can be avoided by properly storing your pipette.

Although it is recommended that pipettes are serviced and calibrated at least once a year, taking a few minutes each day to make sure the pipettor is stored properly will save you the time and expense of having to send the pipettor off for maintenance more frequently. Remember that good routine maintenance and care helps prevent costly repairs.

Pipette Storage Options

There are a number of storage options for your pipettes depending on your laboratory and workstation configuration. Safely storing your pipettes when not in use is important, but you also want to make sure that you can access them quickly and easily as well. Listed below are four different style pipette storage options that can enhance your labs changing needs.

  1. The Flip & Grip Pipette Holder is a unique pipette holder that gives you the option of using it on your bench top, or as a hanging under shelf holder to help maximize your working space available. This pipette holder can hold up to 12 single channel pipettes, or a combination of 3 single channel and 3 multichannel pipettes. The unique rubber grips prevent scratching and is compatible with most common pipette brands. The holder rotates for quick and easy pipette selection and storage.
  2. The Clamp-Ette Pipette Holders makes pipette storage quick and easy. These pipette holders are available in single and triple formats and are compatible with most major pipette brands. The Clamp-Ette secures to tabletops, benches, and shelves with a simple twist of the fingertips, creating an instant pipette holding point within your laboratory. This unique autoclavable pipette holder is available in blue, red, and purple to match your lab and personality.
  3. The Pipette Workstation is the perfect solution for organizing your pipettes and pipette tips in one convenient location. The acrylic rack is opaque on the sides but has clear front and bin lids for easy pipette tip identification. This workstation will hold up to four pipettes and included two dust-free storage bins for different sized tips. The oversized lip on the lid provides easy access even wearing gloves. Organize your pipette and tips in one convenient location in your workstation.
  4. The pipette stands are available in several sizes, materials, and color options. These classic 3, 4, and 6-place pipette stands are designed to hold most major pipette brands. The 6-place pipette stand is available in clear acrylic, blue fluorescent acrylic, and dark blue ABS plastic for increased durability. The 3 and 4-place pipette stands come in clear acrylic for enhanced visibility and easy identification.

Protect Your Investment

There are a variety of pipette storage options available that can adapt to your labs changing needs. Your pipettes are precise liquid handling instruments and should be treated and stored with care to protect your investment and continue producing accurate results. Selecting the proper storage rack or stand will ensure that your pipettes are safe and organized, reducing clutter in your laboratory and improving your efficiency.

Heathrow Scientific Pearl Pipettes Adjustable Volume

Precision Liquid Handling

The Pearl Pipette is an air displacement pipette that is made from temperature and chemical resistant materials including polypropylene and stainless steel. The pipette is equipped with a tip ejector to easily remove the used tip during operation.

Air Displacement Pipettes

Commonly used in biology and biochemistry, air displacement pipettes are piston-driven micropipettes, which are tools used to handle volumes of liquid in the microliter scale. Micropipettes are the most accurate and  precise pipettes.

Digital Volume Meter

The Pearl Pipette is equipped with a digital volume meter which is used to display the volume. The plunger button is color coded and the maximum volume for the pipette is shown on the top of the plunger button.

Brightly Color Coded And Labeled With Volume Range 

(both top and side for quick visual confirmation)

The Pearl Pipettes Adjustable Volume Micropipettes provide you with a complete range of single channel and eight-channel pipette volumes to meet all of your liquid handling needs.

Pipette DescriptionColorProduct CodeNumber of ChannelsVolume Range
Pearl Adjustable Micro PipettorGreenHS120097Single0.1-2µL
Pearl Adjustable Micro PipettorLight BlueHS120098Single0.5-10µL
Pearl Adjustable Micro PipettorDark BlueHS120101Single10-100µL
Pearl Adjustable Micro PipettorCyanHS120104Single100-1000µL
Pearl Adjustable Micro PipettorRedHS120106Single1000-10000µL
Pearl Adjustable Micro PipettorLight PurpleHS120099Single2-20µL
Pearl Adjustable Micro PipettorYellowHS120102 Single20-200µL
Pearl Adjustable Micro PipettorPurpleHS120103Single30-300µL
Pearl Adjustable Micro PipettorOrange HS120100Single5-50µL
Pearl Adjustable Micro PipettorPinkHS120105Single500-5000µL
Pearl Adjustable Micro PipettorOrangeHS120215Eight5-50µL
Pearl Adjustable Micro PipettorPurpleHS120216 Eight30-300µL

 

 

Unique Features 

  • Precision metal components for both shaft and barrel ensure reliable performance and long life
  • Slight downward slant to tip ejector button reduces hand fatigue, incidence of repetitive strain injury (RSI)
  • Volume adjustment and low-force dispensing for all-in-one button convenience
  • Ergonomically designed finger hook
  • Isolated volume locking ring prevents accidental volume changes
  • 3-position volume display
  • Each unit is brightly color coded

Sleek Ergonomic Design Helps Reduce Fatigue

The Pearl Pipettes Adjustable Volume micropipettes are available in a complete range of single and eight channel volumes to cover all of your liquid handling needs. With the sleek ergonomic design and low-force dispensing plunger you will notice reduced hand fatigue after a day of pipetting in the laboratory. Requiring 2/3rd the operating pressure of most standard pipettes, the Pearl Pipettes help reduce the incidence of repetitive strain injury (RSI).

Reliable Performance

The Pearl Pipettes are tested in accordance with manufacturing standards and a calibration certificate is supplied with all pipettes. Manufactured in accordance with ISO9001 and Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) regulations. The internal metal parts provide increased accuracy and calibration stability. Volume adjustment is quick and easy with the simple twist of the plunger. Accidental volume changes are virtually eliminated with the isolated volume locking ring.

Whether you are dispensing or aspirating microliters or millileters, the Pearl Pipettes offer you precision at your finger tips.

Whiteboard Wednesday: Selecting The Right Lab Mixing Equipment

Whiteboard Wednesday Topic

How to select the right laboratory mixing equipment for your facility.

There are three categories of laboratory mixing equipment:

  1. Lab mixers
  2. Shakers
  3. Rockers

Watch our video below to learn more!

Whiteboard Wednesday: What Should Someone Consider Before Selecting A Lab Rocker or Shaker?

Today on Whiteboard Wednesday we’re talking about what someone should consider before selecting a laboratory rocker or shaker. With many different sizes and variations to laboratory equipment, it’s important to know exactly what your lab needs. Watch our Whiteboard Wednesday video below:

Whiteboard Wednesday: Why Reliable Specimen Bags Are Key For Handling Laboratory Samples

Today we’re talking about reliable specimen bags for handling laboratory samples on Whiteboard Wednesday. The problem with selecting sample bags is that the user must have a reliable, high-quality bag for certain applications. Watch today’s Whiteboard Wednesday to see what types of sample bags are reliable for sampling!

Featured Product: 3B Scientific Clinical Breast Trainer

Today’s featured product is our 3B Scientific Clinical Breast Trainer! This medical anatomy trainer is an excellent tool to improve clinical skills in diagnosis and palpation.

Features:

  • Five identifiable anatomical anomalies
  • Fluid filled cyst for aspiration and palpation
  • 2 palpable lumps (approx. 1 cm and 1.5cm diameter) on the lateral side of the breast
  • Infection in Armpit in axilla region
  • Lump in tissue above the clavicle
  • Modular design for simple replacement of skin, cyst, lump axilliary gland
  • Skin detaches for replacing cysts
  • Realistic tactile feel
  • Easy to keep clean
  • Weight: 1.11 kg (2.45 lb)
  • Dimensions: 33 x 25 x 15 cm (13.0 x 9.8 x 5.9 in)

This clinical breast trainer is a great medical tool to use for hands on learning. Have a question or comment about our clinical breast trainer? Leave a message in the box below!