The mistake of a university janitor has highlighted the importance of proper training and knowledge in handling laboratory equipment.
It is extremely important that all staff members possess thorough knowledge of the rules and procedures of each individual laboratory when handling laboratory equipment.
A research university located in New York is pursuing $1 million in damages and legal fees from a cleaning company. The incident occurred when a janitor shut off a freezer resulting over 20 years of research to be “destroyed.”
According to a complaint filed by the university with the Rensselaer County Supreme Court on June 16, 2023, a janitor at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) reportedly shut off a freezer containing “groundbreaking” cell research on September 17, 2020. The janitor took this action in response to “annoying alarms,” resulting in what the university described as “catastrophic damage.”
To prevent incidents such as this, laboratories should conduct routine inspections with their staff and with their laboratory equipment. The testing of laboratory tools can promote safety, accuracy, and longevity. All details of which are crucial for a successful and reliable workspace.
RPI is taking legal action against Daigle Cleaning Systems Inc., the employer of the janitor. It is the responsibility of the company for failing to provide proper training to their employees on handling laboratory equipment, according to the article from PEOPLE.
A lack of familiarity with laboratory equipment and its functions can pose significant risks, including potential harm or even fatality. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that all staff members are well-informed and regularly up to date on the rules of procedures while working in a laboratory environment.
By doing so, this should help minimize possible dangers or damage, safeguarding both the staff and the research involved.
The Times Union of Albany was first to report the suit.
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