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How the Right Pipet Tip Can Reduce Your Risk of Repetitive Stress Disorder

How real is the risk?

Repetitive Stress Disorder (RSD), Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI) or Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTD’s) have been identified as a serious workplace issue in the past decade, amounting to tens of billions of dollars in costs associated with diagnosis and treatment. In a recent news release summarizing 2009 statistics, the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Statistics reported over 348,740 cases of ergonomically related injuries, which represented over 28% of all cases of workplace injuries and illnesses reported. Furthermore, over 40,000 cases were directly related to hand, wrist, finger and arm RSD’s.

For laboratory technicians, the repetitive nature of standard laboratory techniques, especially pipetting makes the risk of RSD quite real. In a study published by Bjorksten et. al., manual pipetting for more than 300 hours per year increases the risk of hand and shoulder injuries. When put in perspective, full-time laboratory technicians who pipette just three hours per day will far exceed the risk factor described in the study. Many RSD’s among lab technicians can be traced to the choice of pipettor and the forces required for insertion and ejection of pipette tips.*

How can you reduce RSD/RSI by using a different pipette tip?

The Biotix Technical paper referenced below provides a summary of a very thorough study conducted by an independent testing laboratory comparing the Biotix tips with nearly all of the different options that are available in tip hub design. This included Rainin LTS tips, standard tips as well as flexible top tips from Thermo, MBP and Sorenson.

The Biotix tip has a proprietary design called FlexFit™ which can best be described as a mold design that resembles an accordion. This allows the tip to easily conform to the hub of the pipettor with far less force than a standard tip. This also reduces the amount of force required to eject the tip since it isn’t wedged on as tightly.

So the question is how good this design compares with the proprietary design of the Rainin LTS and with the flexible top tips that are available from Thermo, MBP and Sorenson?

And the winner is…

Since this was a Biotix study, you might suspect that the Biotix tip came out on top. However it is truly remarkable how this compared with "generic" tips or even other flex top tips! In a comparison of "Total Muscle Work (EMG), the least force of all was a Biotix tip used on an Eppendorf Research Plus pipettor – requiring less than half the EMG of the Rainin LTS pipettor. The Rainin LTS was roughly the same when the Biotix tip was used on either a Gilson or VWR UHP pipettor.

* Biotix Technical Bulletin "Superior Laboratory Ergonomics in the Biotix Universal Pipette Tip" Published 2012


If you are concerned about reducing RSD, RSI or CTD’s in your lab but you can’t afford to replace your entire inventory of pipettors, then you should seriously consider using the Biotix tips or another flexible top tip.

If you would like to receive the Biotix Technical paper, please contact Biotix Customer Service at