Follow the law of the lab

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I heaved a sigh of relief whenever I remember that my high school days of sweating over unbalanced chemical equations and my painstaking attempts to understand the Periodic Table are well and truly behind me. It was an intervention from above when I passed my Chemistry graduating exam with flying colours. Anyway, I am digging into my meagre memory bank for general lab etiquette that will be highly appreciated by your peers and beneficial to you as well.

Do’s:

  1. Arrive on time.

Punctuality is the key here. Tardiness does not bode well with anybody, imagine that one person who enters late and begins questioning the surrounding tables on the tasks for the day because he or she is absolutely clueless on what to do. Not a great start for anybody, is it?

  1. Pay attention to your general surroundings

Accidents are bound to happen when there are people moving around in a lab stocked with equipment, so exercise caution to pre-empt any major disaster from occurring and look out for yourself and others. Don’t be selfish and spread the love!

  1. Wash, wash, wash your hands

This may seem rather redundant, even useless. However, this logic applies when you finish your business in the washroom too, you will wash or even scrub your hands if necessary. Your hands come into contact with foreign particles in the lab, and does a million other tasks including eating so unless you want to race to the washroom every few minutes, it’s better to make the effort to WASH! Need I elaborate more?

Accidents are bound to happen when there are people moving around in a lab stocked with equipment, so exercise caution to pre-empt any major disaster from occurring and look out for yourself and others.

Don’ts:

  1. Food and drinks-Not Allowed!

We can only speculate about the hidden mysteries in those deep lab coat pockets- stationery, crumpled up Kleenex, spare change, lo and behold, a Mars Bar! Nobody would appreciate the chomping sounds of somebody enjoying that sweet treat, much less the presence of uninvited guests savouring the residue that somebody forgot to clean up. Consideration, people!

  1. Leave behind a messy work area

For the love of God, clean up the crap in the sink. Arrange everything back to its original positions; empty away all contents from the containers after use and lastly, dry your work area! There is no domestic helper to clean up after you, you kindergartener.

  1. Be the Talkative One

It is nice to have somebody to talk to once in a while, a source of entertainment to listen to somebody talk other than the professor. However, the incessant chatter can drive a sane person insane, even when the talking has cease; there are still the fidgety movements like the shuffling of papers or the clearing of throat. Don’t you just itch to bring a book down on the person’s head?

  1. Quit being a freeloader

Ever worked with that detestable slacker who occupies the back seat during every assignment or palms it off to an unsuspecting lab partner, before finally, conveniently claiming the credit when the job is done? The Chinese would describe them as having ‘very thick skin’ because they are almost never apologetic about it at all! If this is the first time you are hearing of such a person, better do some self-assessment pronto, because that sickening freeloader could be you!

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