Thursday, June 9, 2011

The safety people really have a purpose

It's been a while. The summer research dash has just started, and I'm trying to get as much as physically possible done while I can give it my full attention - which is made difficult by the fact that my Important Chemicals seem to be hitch hiking their way to my lab from Alaska.

Because I have nothing better to do, I have been clearing myself my own bench space in the neighboring lab. Professor S hasn't done lab work in about 5 years, is a complete pack rat, and also very territorial. This is not a good combination.

I put the half full bottles of highly flammable chemicals sitting on the bench under the hood. I tried to clean up the questionable, mostly crystalized chemical spill in the hood with EtOH, IPA, acetone, windex (I haven't been able to wipe it up yet). I put the safety hazard slips that were scattered among the layers of crap in a neat pile, ordering them from oldest to newest (the oldest: October 2003). I gave the unopened (unfrozen) "freeze on arrival" box (date: July, 2008) to our waste manager. I collected the unlabeled beakers and tubes of liquid and put them in a corner of the hood.

And after I had finally cleared off the bench, I began scrubbing it down, promptly cutting myself on a shattered beaker that I had not seen because in was hidden by a quarter inch of grime that coated the entire bench.

So the summer hasn't started well - but at least I'm not going to be bumping elbows with my lab mates anymore. To all you PIs out there - just... don't let it get there.

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