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Cleaner in the lab

John P. Hammond

Technical and Marketing Manager, Starna Scientific Limited, 52–54 Fowler Road, Hainault, Essex IG6 3UT, UK

My lab was the central lab in a suite of three adjacent labs, which were essentially rectangular, and divided by glass windows along the dividing walls. These windows essentially went from benchtop to ceiling and, as one would expect, periodically required cleaning. These labs were before the days of the current Health and Safety regulations, and, therefore, due to the readily available bottles of 0.880 ammonia and concentrated hydrochloric acid in the lab, surfaces were liberally coated with white ammonium chloride.

Our DU was located on one of these side benches, and on the day in question, the operative from the cleaning company had been tasked with cleaning the aforesaid windows. He was an individual we had not seen before and duly arrived with his bucket and tools, and started to clean the glass window in the lab door.

At this point, and with the manager out of the lab, without asking anybody he duly picked up his bucket, and climbed onto the lab bench, and before anybody could say anything started to clean the windows, but worse was yet to come—because he couldn’t easily reach the top, so he stood on the “black box” on the bench to allow him to reach the top!

At this moment the lab manager returned, and literally “hit the roof”, ...you can guess the rest?

However, if you’ve even seen a DU—the case is essentially a rigid box section—you may not be surprised that the DU still worked perfectly after this episode!

John Hammond

John Hammond

John Hammond is an experienced analytical scientist, spectroscopist and technical marketing professional, skilled in the development, production and marketing of key analytical instrumental concepts and product into highly regulated and controlled industries. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC), executive Working Group convenor of ISO/TC334 and an Expert Advisor to the United States Pharmacopeia, General Chapters, Chemical Analysis committee.
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