Laboratory Safety and Sanitation: The Critical Things You Need to Know for 2019

One of the most important things to understand about laboratory safety and sanitation is that this is not a job you “do once and forget about.” Creating the safest possible working environment requires a proactive approach — for the best results, you need to work hard to stay ahead of contaminants and other potential dangers on an ongoing basis.

Based on that idea, it’s equally critical to pay attention to certain trends that are taking shape across the industry. Even when a trend is localized in one particular area like food processing, it still has the potential to positively impact every laboratory in the country in the not-too-distant future. Trends quickly become recommendations, which ultimately give way to standard operating procedures — all in the name of creating labs that are as safe as they are sophisticated for all involved.

With that in mind, here are a few key laboratory safety and sanitation trends that you should be aware of as 2019 presses on. Collectively, they help paint a vivid picture of how far we’ve come to that end... and how far we’ll be able to go sooner than you’d think.

Laboratory Sanitation and the Food Processing Industry

The year 2019 will be important for the food processing industry as the effects of both the Global Food Safety Initiative and the Food Safety Modernization Act continue to play out. Food safety managers have more compliance rules and regulations to think about than ever, but luckily, technology has stepped up to the plate to help ease some of that burden. More so, the types of tools rolling out in this space have potential implications for nearly every industry you can think of moving forward.

According to the experts at Food Quality and Safety, one of the most important trends in laboratory sanitation for 2019 is also one of the most fascinating: automatic and centralized chemical dispensing.

The new tech-driven options that are now available ultimately create more accurate (and more consistent) chemical solutions through the proactive monitoring and control of product concentrations and rates. These innovative chemical-handling solutions can be integrated with existing systems to guarantee that concentrations always fall within safety limits, reducing risk to not only food products but to workers at the exact same time.

All told, these types of centralized handling systems not only make it easier to maintain compliance for company leaders, but also help save an organization money by reducing both waste and labor costs. Wall-mounted equipment is also becoming commonplace in labs across the country, which is another opportunity to create safer environments and maximize usable storage space in even small laboratories.

Environmental Sanitation and Allergen Control

Likewise, allergen control continues to be an important industry focus for 2019, and once again, new solutions are being created to help make this easier and more effective than ever before.

According to Food Safety Magazine, more and more laboratory sanitation programs are using adenosine triphosphate as a core part of their sanitation verification efforts. A study conducted by the publication revealed that in the United States and Canada, 60.5 percent of respondents said that they currently use ATP testing on a regular basis. Of the 39.5 percent who didn’t, many reported that they were actively considering it. On average, these organizations conducted around 64 separate tests per week.

All of this is important because customers around the country depend on the people hard at work in these labs to provide the safest products possible. Without the industry’s ability to not only identify but also process and market foods that are labeled correctly, the entire industry suffers. Not being able to properly identify allergens does more than just potentially trigger allergic reactions for eventual end users. It also creates an unsafe working environment for the people within those laboratories, which is why these efforts are so critical, and trends like this one are worth paying attention to moving forward

Micro-Testing Pushes Forward

Finally, one of the most interesting trends that will continue to play out in 2019, both in the food processing industry and in other areas, has to do with advances in rapid micro-testing that provide officials with more actionable information than ever from which to work.

Rapid microbial testing kits have hit the market in larger numbers over the last few years, and many see them as a viable way to weed out potential contaminants and other environmental sanitation issues in production environments.

But, at the same time, many of these techniques are being used to uncover certain “red flags” in labs that could make things complicated for long-term efforts. Rapid micro-testing allows people to quickly test for certain types of bacteria in the air, but testing for different groups of bacteria as fast as possible helps weed out certain false positives that might exist with any one particular method.

At that point, officials can conduct additional follow-up tests to verify those initial results and to confirm whether more advanced cleaning and sanitation efforts are necessary.

In terms of laboratory safety and sanitation, data is often one of the most critical assets that lab employees have to work with — but their progress is only as strong as that data is accurate. Techniques like these will continue to grow in popularity in 2019 as they further our collective efforts to help make sure that data is as strong and as actionable as possible.

Learn About Weber Scientific

At Weber Scientific, we take your laboratory safety and sanitation needs seriously. It’s why, since 1985, we’ve worked hard to become one of the most trusted names in not only the industry, but in the United States, to that end. Regardless of whether you’re in need of laboratory supplies, equipment or something else entirely, we’re proud of the opportunity to stand by your side to help make sure the job gets done properly.

Our variety of sanitation supplies and safety supplies are designed to help make sure that you can stop worrying about environmental conditions so that you can focus the majority of your attention on the most important thing of all: the essential work that you’re doing every day.