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What Does a Laboratory Coordinator Do?

A laboratory coordinator oversees the daily operations of a lab, ensuring safety protocols are followed, managing staff, and maintaining equipment. They play a crucial role in scientific research, ensuring accuracy and efficiency. But how do they manage all these responsibilities while maintaining the lab's productivity?
Nick Mann
Nick Mann

A career as a laboratory coordinator typically involves working within a facility such as a university or government department. These individuals are responsible for overseeing a laboratory and making sure that everything runs both smoothly and safely. While the specific type of workplace settings can differ, the fundamental job duties of a laboratory coordinator are basically the same. These include training staff members, supervising staff, ensuring laboratory safety, maintaining equipment and ordering supplies.

One of the most important responsibilities of this position involves properly training staff members. Since the daily activities of a laboratory can be complex and often involve expensive equipment, it's crucial for a laboratory coordinator to provide his subordinates with in-depth training. This may involve educating individuals on safety regulations, equipment use, equipment care and cleaning practices. Consequently, a laboratory coordinator must have expert knowledge in his field and be able to effectively communicate with others.

A Bunsen burner, a type of laboratory equipment.
A Bunsen burner, a type of laboratory equipment.

In addition to training, he must also supervise staff members and provide assistance when necessary. Since he is usually the one responsible for his laboratory's performance, it's imperative that he carefully monitor all employees. This includes ensuring that staff members use equipment correctly, follow laboratory guidelines and stay on task. Along with this, he may help a subordinate with a particular project if problems arise.

A petri dish in a lab.
A petri dish in a lab.

Ensuring laboratory safety at all times is also extremely important. This type of workplace environment often deals with dangerous materials like combustibles, chemicals and biological wastes, so a laboratory coordinator must always adhere to safety regulations. It's up to him to make sure that wastes are properly disposed of and that employees wear adequate safety equipment, like goggles, when working on certain projects. Consequently, this position requires an individual who is organized and has an eye for detail.

A laboratory coordinator may manage chemical supplies.
A laboratory coordinator may manage chemical supplies.

Another responsibility of a laboratory coordinator is maintaining equipment. Items like microscopes, storage containers and Bunsen burners all need to be cleaned and properly stored when not in use. To accomplish this, he might assign subordinates to follow cleaning checklists to make sure that all equipment is well maintained. Along with this, a laboratory coordinator must make sure that his laboratory is cleaned and sanitized on a daily basis.

A laboratory coordinator may be in charge of ensuring all lab workers use the proper safety equipment.
A laboratory coordinator may be in charge of ensuring all lab workers use the proper safety equipment.

Regularly ordering supplies is an additional part of this job. Since most laboratories are constantly using materials for experiments, it's necessary for a laboratory coordinator to stay on top of inventory and order supplies before they run out. This may include items like glassware, chemicals, glass slides and petri dishes.

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    • A Bunsen burner, a type of laboratory equipment.
      A Bunsen burner, a type of laboratory equipment.
    • A petri dish in a lab.
      By: ggw
      A petri dish in a lab.
    • A laboratory coordinator may manage chemical supplies.
      By: Yuri Bathan
      A laboratory coordinator may manage chemical supplies.
    • A laboratory coordinator may be in charge of ensuring all lab workers use the proper safety equipment.
      By: luchschen_shutter
      A laboratory coordinator may be in charge of ensuring all lab workers use the proper safety equipment.