Young Hall 5060 & 5048 - UC Los Angeles Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry


Centrifuge Safety: Floor Models

Unfortunately, due to the improper loading of rotors, the Avanti J-25 centrifuge was heavily damaged – it has since been fully repaired.  This damage was most likely caused by people “dropping” the rotor onto the spindle instead of placing it there gently and with great care, as is specifically outlined and demonstrated during hands-on training.  The impact force of this over many users cracked the supports to the centrifuge main engine and chamber, and if left unfixed, it would have likely resulted in a major incident during a centrifugation run.

The need for extreme care when loading the rotors onto the centrifuge spindle is necessary for the long-term functioning of the system, and more importantly, for your safety and the safety of researchers around you. This need for care is especially true when using the heavier rotors (JA-10 & JA-14). If you feel that the JA-10 rotor is too heavy for you to lift and load with sufficient care, consider asking myself or someone from your lab to assist you.  The JA-10 is undeniably very heavy, and there is no shame in getting that help: life and safety are more important than any amount of pride.

Fortunately, this error was caught was before any irreparable harm was done.  The instrument is fixed and operational once again.  Users found to be using anything less than the utmost care when loading rotors into any centrifuge will have their work immediately suspended and be forced to schedule a retraining.  This is a necessary course of action now so that we can hope to prevent the sort of major blow-out incident that we luckily avoided this time.