A quick guide to good laboratory practices

A quick guide to good laboratory practices

When it comes to good laboratory practices, correct and consistent labelling plays a key part. Safety in labs is paramount, as too is maintaining the integrity of materials. Laboratories are a complex environment, often containing potentially harmful substances alongside people. How these substances are handled, used, and catalogued can all impact on the overall safety of the lab. 

What role does labelling play in good laboratory practices?

The importance of labelling within laboratories cannot be overstated. There are a wide variety of laboratory components where correct and resilient labelling is required. Legible and informative labelling is critical to a lab’s success. Despite this, many labs struggle to develop their own reliable labelling strategies. Sample labels, test labels and slide labels all play a part, but so too does larger labelling and signage that helps to maintain consistency across the laboratory. 

How should labelling be used within a laboratory setting to create a safe, efficient, and effective environment? 

Workspace labelling 

Workspaces need to be labelled, their uses outlined, and safety and security requirements made easy to access and understand. With that in mind, laboratory managers should think about how space is used, how people will move around the laboratory, where they can access what they need for their job, and what to do in an emergency situation. 

Correct labelling within the lab is about more than just the labelling of any substances used. How are substances to be stored, what are the correct protocols and procedures for dealing with hazardous substances, what do people within the lab need to do to reduce risk?

Thinking about the role that labelling can play to create a safe environment for staff and visitors is a key underlying principle of good laboratory management. It helps to create an environment that’s easy to use and negotiate. 

Labelling hazardous chemicals

It should go without saying that hazardous chemicals need to be labelled correctly. Labelling needs to be clear and legible. The days of barely legible handwritten labelling should be history. It can also be beneficial in some contexts to include some information about the correct handling and safe transportation of the materials. Detailed, clear and consistent labelling for hazardous materials helps to foster correct handling and usage throughout the laboratory. 

At Hague, we’re experienced in the requirements of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS), a standardised method for identifying and communicating chemical hazards throughout the world. We offer several labelling products which can be used in accordance with GHS, including Peel and Reseal Labels, Multi-page Fold-out Labels, and Booklet Labels. We’re here to help with the entire process, including ensuring the graphical composition and application of pictograms is compliant with regulatory standards.

Correct labelling of samples

Samples are at the heart of laboratory practice. They’re the basis on which analysis rests, data is gathered, and results are given. Sloppy or inadequate labelling of samples is a recipe for confusion and time-consuming rectification. No corners should be cut when it comes to sample labels. 

An up-to-date safety procedure manual

It’s no good having a well-worked out safety procedure if no one knows what it is. Staff should be well-versed in laboratory safety and protocols and a procedure manual helps to ensure they are. It can be a point of reference for staff, as well as a document that new members of staff can learn prior to starting lab work. The better the dissemination of your working practices, the more effective they will be. 

How can Hague help?

At Hague, we’ve partnered with laboratories of all sizes to provide a range of bespoke healthcare solutions as well as print and apply label automation. Our experienced team can advise on all aspects of laboratory labelling, helping you to embed good lab practices into your operation.

To find out more about our comprehensive range of labelling solutions call +44 (0)1924 244555 or email sales@hague-group.com.