While walking through a pharmaceutical facility, aside from offices and the Security Desk, you might think that the Stability Area is among the safest places to work. There are relatively few things ready to fall and not too many moving parts. What could possibly go wrong? Here are a few incidents that have actually occurred:
- Rubber chamber mats (the thin, solid, aisle design type) when wet with a skim of water underneath , become “flying carpets”.
- Many chamber areas do not have floor drains, creating the potential for electrocution if equipment such as validation carts are plugged into extension leads on the floor at the time of accidental flooding.
- Rolling shelves that don’t have secure overhead safety guides may topple when the moving base encounters a “hard stop”.
- Interior Chamber door emergency release handles/knobs may require more strength /body mass to open than possessed by a lighter, less muscled Stabilitarian and subsequently trap them inside.
- Certain individuals may be adversely impacted by sudden exposure to hot and humid conditions such as found in a walk-in 40C/75% RH chamber.
- Some companies may not routinely study hazardous materials, such that procedures and safety equipment are not in place to prevent accidental exposure to sample handlers
- For Ultra Low temperature chambers, very heavy, wheeled liquid nitrogen tanks may be in use. “Old school” techniques for evaluating how much nitrogen is in the tank involves tipping the tank and shaking it to produce “sloshing” inside as an indicator of content. This sets up a high potential for crushing injuries.
- Cuts from broken glass of mishandled samples (and in some cases, thermometers), as well as needle pricks from samples with dislodged shields.
These are examples I have witnessed. I’m sure that you can add more that you’ve encountered. They remind me of the quote about “those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.” Why not take a moment to invite your safety officer to take a walk with you through the stability area to do a safety assessment together?