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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Docs » Safety, Health and Environmental Training » CENTRIFUGE SAFETY

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90% of centrifuge failures are the result of user errors. These errors may result in lost samples and damaged equipment as well as a risk to you the lab user and your lab.

 Woman at centrifuge
The following video is a supplement to the training session.

 Centrifuge Safety in Quicktime Movie
RunningTime: 8 minutes

Consult the owner's manual and centrifuge log (especially critical on ultra centrifuge), insure the tube fits properly in the rotor. This is important because up to 600,000 G forces may be generated during the centrifugation procedure.

Insure you are using the appropriate level of containment. Is the material potentially infectious and/or radioactive? If so, are you using aerosol containment tubes? Are you loading and unloading the rotor in a biological safety cabinet?

Suggested steps to follow BEFORE starting the centrifuge:

  1. Insure centrifuge bowl and tubes are dry.
  2. Is the centrifuge spindle clean?
  3. Avoid overfilling of tubes and bottles.
  4. Insure rotor is properly seated on drive hub.
  5. Make sure tubes are properly balanced in rotor (? gram at 1 G is roughly equivalent to 250 Kg @ 500,000 G's).
  6. Are O-rings properly attached to the rotor? Is the vacuum grease fresh?
  7. Has the rotor been properly secured to drive?
  8. Is the centrifuge lid shut properly?

After the above stops are taken and the centrifuge has started, make sure the run is proceeding normally before you leave the area.

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