Re: New lab space

From:Sharon Sharon

Sara, been there-done that.  What I would keep?  We designed 'pods' of
individual spaces for microtomy--all grouped together.  Take into consideration
air flow patterns so the ribbons will not fly everywhere.  It would be great to
have table tops that were half moon shapped to allow the microtomist to 'scoot'
in and have the HOH bath on the curve with slides, blocks on the other curve.
Also nice would be to have the microtomy tables/desks height adjustable because
of individual needs. And, the chair to be ergonomically correct and adjustable.
These three items are crucial if we are going to have a proper ergonomic
workspace.  Oh, add an adjustable footrest as used for computer workstations,
etc.  There would be shelf storage behind the microtome and proper lighting over
the workspace.  We spend so much time doing repetitive work that this is a major
consideration in reducing workman compensation issues.  These "pods" are in easy
sight and distance of the embedding and staining setups.  If there is music, it
should be with headphones for everyone has different tastes, volume desires,
etc.  I personally think this isolation technic is not advisable in a lab.  I
prefer to have some conversation or simple quiet.
    Separate processing room is a great way to contain ANY possible odors from
processors.  And, please plan for B/R recyclers for formalin, alcohol and
xylene.  The new models are really great and easy to use(compared to the older
models) plus being very cost effective.  Do get a hydrometer to check your
alcohols so you can believe for yourself the purity.
    Special staining and immunos are also 'pods' with PLENTY of bench space and
storage.  Get ergonomically correct stools with adjusting heights to use for the
stand up spaces.  Sit down spaces are the embedding centers and microtomy and
hand coverslipping.  All other work is stand up.  If you use automatic stainers,
having these on the sit down bench level makes it easier to maintain for all
heights of people.
    The benches for automated equipment  should be designed with an open back
space of 3-4 feet for a "trough".  This "trough" walkway houses the waste drains
of the immuno stainers, etc.  The electrical panel runs along the side top below
the counter.  I saw this in a research facility AFTER my lab was completed.  It
made great sense and ease of getting to the equipment.  These benches were
against the wall at 90 degrees with the middle "walkway trough" for the
electrical outlets and waste collection.  The counters were also sit down height
because the instruments made everything so tall.  Therefore, the tech could sit
down to do what functions they could and when standing up, maintaining or
working at the top of instruments did not require a stepstool or stretch reach
for height challenged persons or 'normal' ones either. Sinks are planned for
where the equipment that needs them is located.  Oh, a dishwasher is a
MUST--maybe 2 or three depending upon demands--and located close to where
    Have proper storage and LOTS of it!  Histo work accumulates quickly do to
storage requirements.  Have a private space for you--you need it to be effective
as a manager.  Have a break space for techs with private lockers for their own
items.  If you are able, the microtomy spaces are 'private' desk areas w/o
sharing.  Each tech is responsible for their microtomes, etc.  If you have
shifts such that this is not possible, please set standards for the microtomes
so they are not constantly changed by each tech for this is a single LARGE
source of trouble amongst techs.  I assume you have a standard adjustment and
way blocks are put into chuck so there is more uniformity in doing the recuts
with less tissue loss.
    Autopsy:  Have plenty of refrigerators.  Have automatic lifts for the
bodies.  One of the best designs I had the privilege of working with used a life
in an outer room the hospital staff could load the body into the refrigerator.
In the inner room, the tech could open the refrigeration and with the lift move
the body over to the autopsy table.  This was basically in an "L" shape due to
the two room design.  Such a design allows staff to place the body without ever
entering the actual morgue space.  (I assume you have visited the VA Denver
morgue because it was redesigned and newly built about ten years ago--I think).
    These are thoughts I immediately think of.  Email questions or further
thoughts about my comments....sharon Osborn, San Francisco.

"Garza-Williams, Sara" wrote:

> Hello everyone,
> I have a "once in a life time" (at least in my life so far) opportunity to
> design my own histology, immuno and autopsy service laboratory space.
> My lab is moving and the designer would like my input (imagine that!). If
> someone has suggestions, opinions, thoughts, ideas, experience that would
> help me, I would greatly appreciate it.
> I have some of my own ideas but would love to hear from others who have had
> this opportunity.  Any resources, contacts, etc. would help.
> Thanks!
> Sara A. Williams
> Anatomic Pathology Supervisor
> The Children's Hospital
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