Back to school 2020 will be different to previous years. Laboratory safety now also encompasses social distancing measures, hand washing and a meticulous cleaning regime for equipment. Practicals may still be undertaken as a single user experiment, within ‘bubbles’, or demonstrated from a distance.
To help, we have put together our top laboratory safety essentials which you can shop now to ensure that safety measures are met in your laboratory. Take a look at our laboratory safety checklist 2020 to help plan for back to school.
Back to School Lab Safety, What will you need?
To help aid social distancing in the classrooms we suggest using protective screens to separate pupils from each other and teachers, ideally sitting in a side by side facing forwards configuration. Floor directional arrows to introduce a one way system in classroom, to ensure all students are keeping to the guidelines. Arrows can also be used to mark out the 2m distance to remind students to keep distance from each other.
Pupils and staff must wash their hands before and after handling any equipment. Ideally this handwashing should be with soap, water and paper towels. Alcohol free hand sanitisers may also be used. Do not use alcohol based sanitiser due to its flammability. Posters help reinforce the handwashing regime message. A mobile handwashing station is useful to provide extra handwashing facilities.
Meticulous cleaning and disinfection of equipment and surfaces is essential. Cleaning to remove excess dirt, spillages and soiling should be followed by the use of an appropriate disinfectant, at the specified manufacturer surface contact times. Milton fluid may be used on floors and other hard surfaces. Sterilising tablets can be used to sanitise eye protection. or alcohol free disinfectant wipes should be used as appropriate to wipe surfaces. Alcohol based products must not be used due to their flammability.
It may not always be possible for pupils to complete a practical experiment. Students cannot crowd around the front bench to see a demonstration, the experiment may take too long to set up, or simply be unconducive to a single user experiment. Pupils may even be required to study from home. Digital microscopes and eyepiece cameras can give whole class demonstrations of microscope samples. Visualisers can project high quality visuals of the teacher undertaking an experiment.
Single User Practicals
Some experiments may be set up as single user practicals. To help with set up, Gratnells antimicrobial trays and trolleys can be used to set up and collect equipment from pupils for cleaning, or to store equipment during quarantine between uses. Graduated beakers can be used to pre-weigh reagents.