Laboratory Equipment in Hallways
We are beginning to take notice of laboratory equipment such as refrigerators, freezers and centrifuges being moved outside of laboratory space and into hallways. In some cases this is an extremely poor location as demonstrated in the photos below. If you look at the first photograph you will notice 2 freezers and a centrifuge located in the hallway. If you look closer you will see that this laboratory equipment is located within 4 feet of an open break room on the right where a microwave and coffee maker are visible. The second photograph shows the entire break room.
Since the centrifuge is being used in the hallway right next to the break room we have now converted this space into laboratory space and have a lunch room inside of a laboratory which is in violation of several standards as well as University policy.
Equipment in hallways can also block means of egress if it protrudes into the hallways. Hallways that are cramped because equipment or other items are placed along the walls can limit the number of people that can pass through the hallway in an emergency and is in violation of building and fire codes. Many laboratory refrigerators and freezers contain hazardous materials, as do centrifuges, which also creates problems by introducing hazardous materials into evacuation routes.
The laboratory Safety Committee will be drafting a policy on the use of corridors and unassigned spaces that will hopefully clarify the proper use of hallway space. I will post the policy in Lab Notes once it is finalized. Until then please make every effort to keep our hallways free of laboratory equipment and obstructions.