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GUIDELINES:
General
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Laboratory
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LABORATORY GUIDELINES

Handling Test Tubes


SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR:

pipetting
handling test tubes
microscope use
dishwashing
other lab activities

To Control Awkward Postures:

  • If seated, assure proper lower back and thigh support from chair and assure feet are supported.
  • If standing, assure work surface is at proper height to reduce need to reach upward or bend forward. Use a stepstool if necessary. Upside down containers can be used to create higher work surfaces.
  • Arrange test tube racks to minimize reaching and twisting.
  • Work with elbows close to sides.
  • Maintain straight wrist positions. This may require inclining test tube racks.
  • When possible, use clamp to hold test tubes.
To Control High Repetition:
  • Automate processes when possible.
  • Share workload between right and left sides.
  • Take adequate breaks away from handling activity-even short several second "micro-breaks" help.
  • Rotate handling among several employees.
  • Evaluate work processes to reduce steps requiring manual handling.
To Control Vibration:
Use vortex mixer rack - do not hold tube by hand.
To Control Excessive Force:
  • Automate test tube opening when possible.
  • Use pinch (thumb working with index finger) only for precision activities that require minimal force.
  • Use full hand grip for activities that require greater force (not the pinch grip).
  • Use cap removers that change handling from pinch to full hand grip.
  • Request samples be received in test tubes that allow improved ergonomics.
  • Explore other sample mediums (e.g. genetic testing is moving away from testing blood to testing hair).
To Control Contact Stresses:
  • Use two hands to open test tube samples.
  • Do not rest forearms on a sharp edge. Pad the edge or forearm, or create a forearm rest.


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