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Pipetting Safety Video

This laboratory procedure is highly repetitive and involves a variety of risk factors.  Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTD) or MusculoSkeletal Disorders (MSD) may occur when a laboratory worker pipets for 2 hours a day or longer on a continuous basis.

Associated Risk Factors:

Risk factors associated with pipetting include:

  • Repetitive motion of the hands, forearm and thumb, or fingers.
  • Pinch grip when handling pipette tips, or opening vials.
  • Bending and twisting of the wrist.
  • Working with "winged" elbows (elbow held at an elevated position away from the body).
  • Neck bent forward or to the side and/or jutted chin.
  • Awkward and static postures.
  • Excessive force of the thumb.
  • Overreaching.
  • Standing for long periods of time.

Preventive Measures:

Work Smart, eliminate/reduce the impact of laboratory ergonomic stressors.

  • Perform your work only at appropriate heights.
  • Alter continuous repetitive pipetting by performing other tasks, or take frequent small rest breaks every 20 minutes.
  • Make sure to work with wrists in neutral positions (straight),
  • Adjust height and position of sample holders, solution container, waste receptacle to prevent twisting and bending of wrist, neck and rolled shoulders.
  • Reduce shoulder strain, avoid working with winged elbows/arms.
  • Use short pipettes, shorter waste receptacles for used tips, to reduce reaching.
  • Use electronic pipettes for highly repetitive pipetting tasks to reduce/eliminate contact pressure on thumb
  • Ensure proper lower back and thigh support, use adjustable stools or chairs with built-in foot and armrest.
  • Avoid standing for long periods. If standing is unavoidable, use Anti-Fatigue Mats.
  • Work at appropriate heights to minimize twisting of the neck and torso.
  • Replace manually operated pipettes with electronic ones for larger workloads
  • Make sure head and shoulders are kept in neutral position.
  • Avoid elevating arms and elbows above shoulder for lengthy periods to prevent static work of arm, and shoulder strain.
  • Task sharing is another way to reduce the impact of risk factor associated with pipetting.

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