Ergonomics around pipetting could affect one’s pipetting technique and pipetting results. Applications and assays are more sensitive, miniaturized, and perform quicker. To get some reliable data out of the assays, smaller volume errors have to be avoided since they could severely impact the quality of experimental results. In today’s blog, we will describe how using ergonomic pipettes, and solid pipetting techniques could improve the quality of assay results. Read on to learn so much more!
An Introduction to Ergonomic Pipetting
Work-related injuries among lab workers are a common concern. The average lab worker spends significant time pipetting, averaging around two hours a day. Although there isn’t an official limit to how much pipetting has to be done per person, studies have shown that around 300 hours of pipetting per year increases the risk of injury. Therefore, pipetting ergonomics is crucial. An ergonomic pipette has low weight, shorter pipette length, low pipetting forces in tip loading, low pipetting and tip ejection forces, ergonomic finger hook, and easier hold with non-circular cross sections and light volume adjustments.
In contrast, pipettes that aren’t optimized for ergonomics tend to be heavier, longer, and require higher forces to work. Such pipettes could lead to fatigue in the thumbs, neck, shoulders, and back due to the forces needed to operate the pipette. Fatigue has been shown to connect poor ergonomics to increased error rates around lab work. Sartorius pipettes are designed as ergonomic pipettes, which cause as little strain as possible for the user while still providing accuracy and precision.
Methods and Materials
Pipetting performance during three hours of pipetting using mechanical pipettes is tested by calculating the standard deviation of the pipetting results around the 30-minute periods for every pipette. The mechanical pipette was compared to two mechanical pipette models from many other brands, which are longer, heavier, and require higher forces to operate. Every data point in the graph contains a minimum of about 60 individual measurement points. All pipettes were tested with matching a manufacturer’s tips. All pipettes were calibrated and serviced before testing.
Other aspects that pipette ergonomics could also affect the reproducibility of results. While pipetting non-ergonomically, there is an increased tendency to hold your pipette wrongly or to have uneven rhythm and timing, all while pipetting due to fatigue and pain. All of these can be sources of error in pipetting results. The impact of holding the pipette at the wrong angle on the quality of results was tested. In serial dilutions, any pipetting errors made in the early tubes and wells are propagated to subsequent wells or tubes.
To learn more about ergonomic pipetting, give the Lab People a call!
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