Scale-up can mean different things to different people in terms of actual quantities, but the scale-up of all laboratory work needs to be addressed. It is important for all lab workers to know about scale-up, and the steps that need to be followed when they are considering scaling up their work.
Most often the term ‘scale-up’ references scale-up chemical reactions. As scale-up of chemical reactions occurs, the hazards increase compared to smaller scale reactions, and the potential for runaway reactions exists. Most chemists know that this needs to be considered during the planning stages. However, scale-up also needs to be considered when working with biohazardous materials and radioactive materials. When conducting work with biological agents, increasing the volume of materials manipulated above ten liters is considered large scale. Various considerations need to be taken into account including increased risk of exposure, spill response, and decontamination procedures. As the activity of radioactive material used at any one time increases, there are various considerations that need to be addressed with the Radiation Safety Officer.
Remember to keep an eye out for the scale-up of work being conducted at your facility. During new employee and annual training sessions, remind all laboratory workers that there are numerous considerations to take into account before beginning the work.