In the modern world, few places of scientific study are as essential as pathology labs. These institutions focus on studying, testing, and storing samples to determine whether or not certain diseases or mutations are present.
Pathology is the intersection of medicine, chemistry, and science.
In a pathology lab, researchers constantly handle extremely sensitive materials, many of which have the potential to spread harmful diseases or infections. In order to avoid this, these labs require a wide array of equipment and precautionary measures.
Designing a pathology lab is one thing, and knowing the type of instruments used in pathology is another.
A Basic Pathology Lab Equipment List
For starters, pathology labs require some basic equipment. These items are found in many other labs, and their uses are multifaceted.
Nonetheless, it still exists, and lab-grade casework must be installed to accommodate this equipment.
Machinery comes in many sizes, and centrifuges have a wide range of models. There are extremely large and immobile centrifuges, which require designated spaces to operate.
However, in most labs, researchers use smaller centrifuges, which can be moved around.
These machines spin materials at high speeds, which separate components from each other.
Fridges and Freezers
In addition to designated biosafety cabinets, pathology laboratories require cold storage spaces. Smaller labs may use mini-fridges, and more extensive labs may have designated spaces for cold storage.
Delicate glassware is an essential part of every pathology lab. In addition to beakers, jars, vials, and flasks, researchers need microscopic slides, Petri dishes, and pipettes.
All of this equipment needs to be stored in a safe and sturdy place, as unnecessary handling can break it.
For the best results, most pathology laboratories will utilize metal casework, which does not easily hold germs, smells, or pathogens. In other instances, contractors will utilize medical-grade casework.
Within incubators, researchers grow and cultivate different cell samples.
This machinery is found in many other laboratories, and its size will vary depending on its complexity. Larger laboratories with greater workloads will obviously have larger incubators.
Finally, pathology labs require microscopes. These essential pieces of equipment are used to study samples visually, and they need a special setup.
OnePointe Solutions’ customized microscope tables are perfect ways to provide ergonomic experiences to researchers. With a variety of features available, — including casters, anti-vibration attachments, and additional storage — these tables will fit any laboratory.
The height is adjustable, which means that everyone can study samples from an appropriate height.
Personal Protective Equipment
Due to the delicate nature of the materials handled in pathology labs, every lab will need to have a full supply of PPE. This kit will include appropriate gloves, goggles, masks, and jackets. Additional supplies may include shoe covers and scrubs.
All of this equipment will need a clean spot to stay when it’s not being used. Generally, there will be a designated changing space.
However, some labs will store extra PPE in FLEX systems or cabinets.
What Equipment Is Used in a Pathology Lab?
Outside of the basics, pathology labs will also have plenty of specialized equipment.
These elements are generally meant for pathological use, and they will have few uses outside of this scientific sphere. In many cases, this machinery is extremely large and cumbersome. For this reason, designers — like the amazing staff of OnePointe Solutions — will create specialized lab designs to fit these needs.
Autopsy tables aren’t always found in a pathology lab, but they’re essential tools when they’re available. In addition to their namesake use, these multipurpose working surfaces are accessible storage spots.
Thanks to the extensive network of sensitive materials handled within a pathology lab, these institutions require plenty of secure storage.
Samples may also become contaminated by outside bacteria.
However, when paired with proper procedures, biosafety cabinets largely negate both of these risks.
Blood Analysis Machinery
Also used in many other medical applications, the wide array of blood testing machines in a pathology lab is essential to covering every possible diagnostic test.
Some blood testing can be done without machinery. However, certain tests require specialized machinery.
Examples of this type of testing include CBC (complete blood counts) and PT (prothrombin time) tests. This machinery includes:
- Automated blood chemistry analyzer
- Flow cytometers
- Various needles
Outside of the floor and cabinet space required to store these machines, researchers will also need to have countertop space. One of the best surfaces for these delicate machines is an anti-vibration table especially designed to mitigate tremors and vibrations.
However, laboratory islands and standard lab countertops are also wonderful options for additional workspaces. With OnePointe Solutions, you can rest assured that everything is designed to suit your needs.
Every aspect of your design, from the furniture to the countertops, can be customized to perfection.
Many of the tests performed in a pathology lab require specific temperatures or chemical additives. In some cases, samples may exceed the limit of traditional baths, and researchers will utilize larger organ baths.
The larger a laboratory is, the more baths it will have available.
To help preserve samples, researchers may need more power than you’ll find in a fridge. This is when scientists turn to cryogenic freezers, which maintain samples at an extremely low temperature.
Usually, this is done through a series of chemical baths and reactions. Fluids — such as liquid helium — may be added.
All of this material needs to be stored somewhere, and large metal vats typically serve as the main vessel.
To accommodate these vats, designers must have many safety features. Piping will be installed throughout the facility, which designers must work around as they design the laboratory.
Because pathology labs will be handling a wide variety of samples, these laboratories will need to have many different ways to dissect tissues, organs, and — in some cases — bodies.
Anti-microbial casework is frequently used to store this equipment, which helps maintain a clean environment.
Some of the dissection tools that can be found in a pathology lab include:
- Bone marrow extractors
- Bone saws
- Various knives
A urinometer is a highly specialized facet of every pathology lab. These machines are used to determine the specific gravity of a urine sample.
This information is essential for urinalysis tests.
Finally, every laboratory will need safety equipment.
In a pathology lab, the mix of chemicals and biological materials can create dangerous environments. In addition to the daily precautions and procedures practiced every day, pathology laboratory equipment will also include different types of emergency safety equipment.
Eyewash Stations and Safety Showers
Thanks to the many chemicals used in pathology, researchers are always exposing themselves to potential vision damage. This can occur when chemicals or materials are expelled into the eye.
To avoid injury, researchers utilize eye wash stations. These often link to safety showers, which are used to rinse off unwanted chemicals and materials.
Both of these safety measures are linked to unique water supplies, which will always provide a reliable high-pressure flow.
It’s important that every lab remember to regularly flush these systems out, though! As water sits in the pipe, it often accumulates various minerals, creating a foul sludge.
To avoid this outcome, labs should turn these showers on at least once every year. This also provides researchers with the reassurance that the eyewash and shower stations are operational.
Fires in a pathology lab can be catastrophic. The many chemicals within these buildings provide ample opportunities for explosive reactions, and the samples stored within are often irreplaceable.
To keep everything and everyone safe, labs will stock plenty of fire extinguishers. These should be placed in easy-to-access containers, which are generally mounted on the walls of a lab.
In many labs, there will also be built-in fire suppression systems, such as sprinklers.
Installing fume hoods takes a multidisciplinary approach. Designers must know how the ductwork is laid out, and the electrical supply should be able to support its use.
When a fume hood is used, the air is directed up the shaft and out of the building. This allows scientists to quickly disperse foul air and chemical fumes.
If smoke or gas begins to accumulate in a laboratory, a fume hood can encourage better air quality and ventilation.
Need Help Designing Your Pathology Laboratory?
If you’ve been thinking about remodeling or building an entirely new laboratory, then it’s time to enlist some help.
Regardless of how large or small a laboratory may be, there will be plenty of equipment to store. Everything will need to be easily accessible, and the storage spaces must resist bacterial growth.
At OnePointe Solutions, we’ve worked with many different laboratories. We know about the different types of laboratories, and we know what equipment each research institution will need.
Our experienced team has handled plenty of projects, and we know how to optimize and refine your space, no matter how limited it may be. We manufacture everything to your precise specifications, from custom laboratory casework, laboratory tables, and lab workbenches, so you’ll never have to worry about whether or not a generic piece of equipment will fit into your lab.
This allows us to create spaces that are fully functional and organized, yet remain adaptable and functional.