Does your lab function well?

After returning from the 2019 Lab Design Conference, our team discussed the increased use of robotics in labs and ways to improve existing facilities.  It inspired us to remind lab managers everywhere of a few issues that are worthy of consideration. 

As laboratory practices and technology evolve, is your facility keeping up?  Here are a few things you can do to enhance your space.

5 ways to improve your laboratory space:

  • Too much bench space?  With new equipment and technologies, lab managers are finding themselves with the wrong mix of bench and floor space.  Utilizing flexible casework systems and ceiling panels with utility connections can accommodate needs as they fluctuate over time.

  • Are you looking to the future? Being aware of industry trends helps you maintain leadership in your sector, make strategic decisions, attract and retain new employees, and maximize the utilization of current technologies.  

  • How flexible are your utilities? Don't let services be the factor that keeps you from achieving optimal workflow.  Solutions like an improved layout with flexibility in mind and putting utility access points on a grid in the ceiling both allow changes in the laboratory arrangement without affecting the infrastructure. 

  • Is your sample retains area congested? Establish a process to regularly clear out your work areas to help with efficiency and safety in the workspace.  Utilize separate storage rooms, readily adjacent temporary storage racks, and in some cases use high-density mobile shelving to manage materials.

  • Does your lab meet your current needs? Times change, jobs change, people change, instruments change, and practices change; your facility should accommodate your current needs.  If you see opportunities for improvement generate an action plan and work towards achieving those goals with your team, management, and facility consultants.   

Crump Wilson Architects works hard to stay abreast of current and future design trends. We harness that to develop results incorporating all aspects of safety, innovation, and efficiency in our designs.  

Do you see any trends in your specific industry?

5 Easy Health and Safety Solutions You Can Apply

Hazard identification and assessment is a critical element of any active safety and health program. Being proactive by continuing to assess, identify, and fix hazards is the first step to maintaining a healthy and safe environment. It also emphasizes the importance of safety to your team while providing a safety leadership opportunity. Here are 5 easy health and safety solutions you can apply to your existing facility.

 
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  1. Arrange your facility to minimize exposure for personnel. Not everyone needs access to high hazard areas. Use signage and physical barriers to limit access.

  2. Provide sufficient and safe clearances around all equipment and storage areas. Think through job functions and determine the best practices for the job to be performed safely.

  3. Dissipate heat from indoor heat environments. Overheating is a common cause of work-related health issues. Consider where your heat sources are and what can be done to expel the heat, so indoor temperatures are maintained at a safe level.

  4. Ventilation for maintaining air quality and air flow. Air flow helps with not only employee overheating concerns but also with air quality. Work with your industrial hygienist to maintain an appropriate level of air quality in your facility.

  5. Gathering spaces equipped for regular training and testing are crucial to any proper safety and health program. Education is the first step to safe practices in the workplace and these spaces should be large enough to accommodate your workers comfortably. Technology should be at a level to efficiently and effectively train your team on all aspects of your safety program.

In conjunction with your safety & health manager, your industrial hygienist, and your construction specialist any or all of these solutions can be implemented efficiently and effectively for more information visit OSHA’s Industry-Specific Resources page.

What's Trending Now In Safety and Health Programs

Worker injuries and illnesses were down from 10.9 incidents per 100 workers in 1972 to 2.8 per 100 in 2017 (cited from OSHA.gov). Employers, OSHA, State Partners, as well as safety and health professionals are all having a significant effect on workplace safety. Now that safety is a regular conversation in industry’s business solutions, here are a few of the latest trends.

  • HOLISTIC WELLBEING - Organizations are finding that when they take a multifaceted approach like assessing physical, mental, social, and economic factors, they can sustain increased employee health.

 
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  • SPECIALIZED SAFETY ROLES - To avoid the financial impact of workplace injuries, safety professionals are now a sought after role. Markets have diversified seeing an uptick in positions that promote a positive culture and best practices in safety in the workplace.  

 
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  • LEVERAGING DATA - Safety analytics and prediction models are on the horizon. The race is on for safety professionals to make sense of the data and leverage it towards better safety outcomes.

 
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Your facility design can be part of the solution by taking a proactive approach to managing workplace safety.  Building components like appropriate light levels, ventilation, hygiene/PPE stations, and adequate space arrangement for proper clearances all support a proactive approach.  In conjunction with your Safety Manager or Industrial Hygienist, your architects will align your facility with your safety standards. 

Stay tuned for next week post featuring 5 easy health and safety solutions you can apply!

BASF Hannibal Lab Building

BASF Hannibal Agriculture Lab

BASF Hannibal Agriculture Lab

This is a single-story, 16,400 SF facility that supports the North American Agricultural Group.  The facility features 1) an environmental lab, 2) a quality control lab, and 3) a research & development lab.  The facility design resulted in a functional, safe, state-of-the-art lab that utilizes sophisticated HVAC and electrical systems.  The exterior and interior aesthetics make this facility THE building on site.  The project has received acclaims throughout North America and headquarters in Germany. For more information on this project, click here.