DIY Podcast: Lab Safety Audio Clips Transcript
International Space Station Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur discusses lab safety equipment and techniques. You can mix these audio clips with your own narration. Listen to the audio and download the clips you want to use in your podcast or other audio production.
Bill McArthur: 1-a. For all the work we do, it's very important to always keep safety in mind because accidents will do two things. One is they're dangerous to you. Also, they'll ruin the experiment.
2-a. There are a couple of important principles that we employ to help ensure safety while we're up here. And the first one, of course, is we try to prevent accidents to begin with. In any laboratory environment, occasionally you may work with hazardous materials or hazardous instruments, hazardous objects. And so it's always important to wear appropriate safety equipment.
3-a. It also serves an extremely important function to help isolate us from potentially hazardous materials. What we can do is we can set up experiments inside the glovebox. And so now we have the glass front of the glovebox, or the plastic, and that protects us from the materials. We have ventilators inside.
4-a. Of course, like any laboratory, we use a lot of electricity. In the space station here in the U.S. segment we use 120 volts DC. Woohoo! Let me tell you. That will give you a shock.
5-a. Here in space, because we are dealing with such a high level of direct current -- as I said, 120 volts -- unlike in your home or perhaps in your laboratory, we never connect a piece of electrical equipment to an outlet that has power applied already.
6-a. Before we will actually connect a piece of equipment or disconnect it, we turn its power off. Then we make or break the electrical connection. If we've connected an electrical device, the first thing we do is make sure the outlet is off, connect all the cables that are required to go to that piece of equipment. Then we will turn the power on here and then sequentially turn on any equipment that is downstream from the power outlet here. Therefore, we are never actually making a connection into live, electrical power.
7-a. We're very conscious of the various hazards that exist in space or in a ground-based laboratory. You should be very conscious of all these hazards. Always pay attention to them and take steps to make sure that you protect yourself, that you isolate yourself, that you have some type of barrier between yourself and dangerous materials.
8-a. What we've done is connected a series of hoses to them. And so what we can do is we can allow water to flow first into the uncontaminated eye. It fills up that part of the swim goggle. It goes through another tube to the other half of the swim goggle -- the contaminated eye. And then it flows out into this bag in which we would collect the contaminated water.
9-a. Fortunately, on this mission so far we haven't had to use any of these items. But first, we have them. Secondly, we know where they are. Lastly, we've been trained to use them. So don't forget laboratory safety. It can be the difference between having a wonderful experiment and having just a very, very unpleasant day.
10-a. Make sure you have some protection between you and hazardous materials, hazardous objects, hazardous equipment. Know what safety equipment that you have. Know how to use it, and follow the safety rules. If you do, you'll have a wonderful day in science.
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