[Histonet] RE: basement lab

Morken, Timothy Timothy.Morken <@t> ucsfmedctr.org
Tue May 6 11:57:47 CDT 2014

I worked in a basement lab for many years. And we had windows! The ground level outside the lab was higher but was sloped gently upwards so we got some sun. 

We had a concrete "bunker" for bulk flammables outside the lab, near the loading dock. We kept only daily-use amounts in the lab. Even so, in those days it was open-top staining runs (no automation!) so those not conditioned to the atmosphere of the typical histology lab would recoil at the alcohol and xylene fumes, not to mention the special stains aromas. 

We had a book shelf for the small chemicals and dyes. That's how we learned some chemicals should not be stored next to one another - One day red clouds of fumes ensued and the fire department paid a visit. And the rest of the lab got a partial day off....

So, yes, all the safety measures available should be used, along with knowledge...

Tim Morken
Supervisor, Electron Microscopy and Neuromuscular Special Studies
UC San Francisco Medical Center
San Francisco, CA

-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu [mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of Terri Braud
Sent: Tuesday, May 06, 2014 9:43 AM
To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: [Histonet] RE: basement lab

Basement Histology labs are not uncommon, as long as they meet all codes, not just flammables.  For flammables, this means, not only storage, but also the volume present within the lab at anytime and that can vary by state.  There is a defined volume per square footage of a contained fire area.  This would include what is loaded onto processors, stainers, as well as what is stored. Generally, the max volume is reduced the higher the floor.  Ventilation is not the only concern.
Also, there will need to be 2 exits from each defined fire space, appropriate safety showers and eyewash stations which must be located 10 seconds away from possible sites of exposure. Eyewash and safety shower facilities should not be separated from the hazard site by a wall or partition that would cause an employee to go through a doorway.
I've been through the construction/major remodel at all 3 labs where I've worked. 2 as supervisor.  Unfortunately, you probably will have to become very familiar with OSHA and ANSI standards for safety and NFPA for codes concerning fire safety.  Even builders/inspectors familiar with laboratory construction sometimes lack the knowledge to insure proper safety of a Histology Lab, its personnel and contents.  Be vocal and adamant for safety, but be sure to back it up by providing the appropriate regulations.

Terri L. Braud, HT(ASCP)
Anatomic Pathology Supervisor
Holy Redeemer Hospital Laboratory
1648 Huntingdon Pike
Meadowbrook, PA 19046
Ph: 215-938-3676
Fax: 215-938-3874 



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