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Chemistry LibreTexts

0. Safety Precautions

Below are some general safety precautions for your consideration as you begin the fabrication process for the Home-built CE System and working in a research laboratory.

  • Consult the safety guidelines and Chemical Hygiene Plan provided by your Institution before beginning any experiment. The safety guidelines of your home Institution supercede any recommendations outlined here.
  • Consult the MSDS and the label prior to using a chemical and adjust your laboratory procedures accordingly.
  • Personal protective equipment, such as goggles, safety glasses, laboratory coat or apron, gloves, or a respirator, should be used as appropriate for the hazards involved and as recommended on the label and in the MSDS.
  • Use chemical fume hoods as advised in the MSDS.
  • Store and handle all chemicals appropriately.
  • Do not consume anything in the laboratory.
  • Do not smoke, chew gum, or use smokeless tobacco in the laboratory.
  • Remove your gloves and thoroughly wash your hands before leaving the laboratory.
  • Practical advice regarding use of the high voltage power supply:

There is potential for electrical shock from the high voltage power supply. Typical currents employed in capillary electrophoresis are less than 100 microamps. According to the OSHA tutorial cited below, AC currents of 1mA result in a tingling sensation. However, the degree of danger of such exposure depends upon: (1) if the skin is wet or dry, (2) if the shock may potentially throw the victim away from the electrical connection (for example into an acid bath behind the researcher), or (3) if the exposed person undergoes muscle contraction that does not allow them to let go of the electrical circuit. See the following website for an OSHA tutorial of the risks of electrical shock.

  • We recommend the following precautions to prevent electrical shock or minimize the effects in the event of accidental exposure:
  1. Implement the interlock safety switch outlined in the assembly protocol to facilitate “guarding by location”.
  2. Turn on the voltage only after closing the interlock box with the integrated interlock switch. Turn off the voltage before you intend to open the Plexiglas box with the integrated interlock switch. In doing this, the circuit will never have the potential to be live when you open the Plexiglas box. Should you ever unsafely open the box with the power supply turned on, the interlock switch is the back-up that will prevent electrical exposure. If you press the interlock switch down with the lid to the Plexiglas open, you are no longer protected from accidental exposure to the high voltage. You may further ensure the safety of the systems by wiring an audible alarm to sound when the interlock switch is closed, completing the electrical circuit. This will supplement the visual indicator created with implementation of the interlock switch (power on green button on the front of the high voltage power supply lights up when the circuit is live).
  3. Check that the interlock switch is fully functional, using a voltmeter to measure resistance, every day prior to using the instrument.
  4. Set the current limiting knob so that the power supply can provide a maximum current of 100 microamperes. Use the voltage limiting knob to adjust the applied voltage as necessary.
  5. Be sure your skin is dry, when you are using the instrument. If you, or the device, are sweating, do not operate the instrument.