Idea for chemistry laboratory commissioning

Everyone who has ever taken a high school or college course in chemistry, biology or kindred sciences unquestionably remembers the, sometimes lurid, always present  warnings against doing things, normally, well, normal, but dangerous in a laboratory.1

Wear your safety glasses/googles.

No horsing around.

Label your experiments.

Clean up after yourself.

No food or drink.

This last one gave me an idea:

What if, before a laboratory is stocked with materials/chemicals, but cleaned of construction debris, the future users and the construction crew have a non-formal lunch there?

You see, once the drawers and cabinets are filled with glassware and reagents, the lab areas are always contaminated or tainted so you can’t safely eat there, but before then it’s just another room in a building. Why not do something nice at the liminal time that would never be allowable at any other point?

Additionally, the construction workers could meet the people who will use their handiwork in the future and pass on any knowledge they gained that might be helpful. Things like “you might want to put shades in that window, the sun reflects off the building across the street in the early morning and is blinding” or “the fume hood furthest from the entrance has the weakest draft”.

Likewise the scientists could explain their work and maybe be able to show why they needed/requested certain odd-seeming-to-the-workers features that they had to really fuss to get right. “I am going to install a piece of equipment that requires two separate steam lines in the same place for safety/efficiency” and similar issues.

I propose this be made a quasi-official thing, similar to topping high rises with pine trees.

Any responses?


  1. I deliberately tried to insert as many commas as possible in that sentence. j/k 
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