Setting up a testing laboratory is a significant project, but it doesn’t have to be a daunting one. In this post, we’ll discuss types of test labs as well as the equipment and logistics that are part of a successful test lab setup.
What Is a Test Lab?
Test labs are controlled spaces where repeatable work can be consistently performed. By regulating the people and materials that pass through the space, test labs facilitate reliable, testable, repeatable processes for applications such as:
- Research — Test labs are critical in researching and developing medicine, medical treatments and medical devices. They also are used to test consumer products to ensure safety and effectiveness.
- Clinical — Labs are used to analyze results from medical samples.
- Analytical — Labs where environmental samples are processed to identify risk to occupants or processes.
- Academic — Test labs may be used to conduct classes and lab sessions in academic settings, and for scientific exploration at research institutions.
How to Set Up a Test Lab
Setting up a testing laboratory requires a number of considerations. These include:
- Space — Ensure that the volume of space devoted to the lab is sufficient. Consider the number of people who will be working in the lab down the road, as well as potential observers or visitors. Also, be sure to understand the testing processes that will occur in the space. Most test labs will require at least three distinct areas for pre-disinfecting, equipment packaging and sterilization. Be sure that the flow between these spaces is logical, with enough room for the free movement of people and equipment. Finally, factor in space for equipment storage and a break area for personnel.
- Equipment and furniture — Your lab will require specialized equipment for testing, as well as equipment for instrument sterilization and personnel disinfecting. Furniture and infrastructure also are important, since personnel will be spending hours at a time working in the lab. Be sure that the furniture is ergonomically appropriate and comfortable, especially in break areas.
- Supplies — Testing instruments are key components that ensure processes in the lab can be accurately carried out. Safety equipment also is a necessity, and must always be available. Ensure there is ample storage for these supplies, and put an inventory management system in place. If outside personnel or contractors will be working in the lab, requisitioning may be more difficult, so be sure that they will have the supplies they need.
Other Test Lab Setup Considerations
In addition to the core considerations above, take the following factors into account as well:
- Regulations — Local, state and federal regulations may apply to everything from safety measures to points of egress, depending where you are located and what type of work occurs at your lab. Be aware of all applicable regulations before choosing and building out your lab, so you can plan for your needs in advance.
- Staff — Begin staffing your lab prior to completion of the space. If a space remains empty after completion while you are staffing up, you are losing ROI on it. Your goal should be to have an operational space on Day One after completion.
- Certifications — Certification may be required for tests, equipment, personnel and the space itself. Missing certifications can present legal liabilities and may also invalidate tests or research results. Be aware of the necessary steps to take prior to commencing work in the space.
Setting Up a Testing Laboratory With Technical Safety Services
As specialists in test labs, including setup, procedures, equipment, processes and more, Technical Safety Services offers the experience and expertise to ensure that your lab facility operates as effectively and smoothly as possible. We have the capabilities to assist with space, equipment and staff selection as well as commissioning of the space in accordance with all required regulations. For more information, contact us today.