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Why A Card Swipe At The Door Isn't Enough To Protect Your Biology Lab

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Many bio labs use a simple swipe system at the main door of a restricted area in order to ensure the security of the potentially priceless science going on within. However, this outdated system could potentially expose your projects to damage if malicious or careless hands come upon certain chemicals or samples.  

The Problem

If your lab is doing anything above the level of high-school science, then there are going to be some sensitive materials that you need to protect. Polymerases, bacterial samples, and tissue cultures are all temperature sensitive, and can be rendered completely useless by something as simple as a careless intern who leaves a microcentrifuge tube on the open bench overnight. Another potential for an access issue comes if your lab contains radioactive materials, which carry significant liability if radiation leaks out. 

The Solution

While general card access at the door is a great start to a comprehensive security solution for your lab, it is far from an end. In fact, one could say that more card access means more safety in general, but there are three main places where you should absolutely require higher levels of clearance for access:

  • Refrigerators and Freezers

Temperature-sensitive chemicals and materials have already been mentioned, but bear repeating, since a chemical stored at -80 degrees can become useless in a matter of a few hours if left at room temperature. Larger cold rooms should especially have card access if they have entrances that lead directly to somewhere other than the main lab space. 

  • Animal Facilities

Due to the sensitivity of individuals to common lab animals, all animal facilities that might contain allergens should be restricted via a card system. The liability associated with an unauthorized person coming down with an allergic reaction as a result of animal exposure is huge, and could bring a lawsuit your way if the incident is particularly harmful. 

  • Sensitive Equipment Areas

The massive amount of highly sensitive equipment used in many bio labs presents a large amount of liability in terms of potential for injury and potential for damage to the property and machinery itself. It is well known that centrifuges can go dangerously haywire if they undergo any sort of damage or mishandling, so making sure only trained professionals (such as those from Midwest Lock & Security) have access to these machines is a must. 

A swipe at the lab entrance as your sole form of access restriction is a poor way to handle your security. To better manage your liability, investing in a more robust card access system is a great start, and can save you thousands in the long run.