Laboratory Guidelines and Safety Policies

These guidelines cover the hazardous nature of laboratories and laboratory work and direct the reader to a wide range of information available on laboratory safety.

Due to the diverse nature of laboratory work, not all specific and detailed safety information is provided in this manual. Instead reference should be made to local or departmental laboratory safety manuals and standards operating procedures (SOPs) that should be developed and made available in each laboratory area to cover the wide range of risks posed by local laboratory operations and practices.

A reference list of relevant Standards, Codes of Practice, Guidance Notes and legislative documents is provided to assist staff to achieve laboratory safety compliance and management of risks associated with laboratory work, to ensure the health, safety and well-being of all personnel working in or accessing laboratories.
  1. Only authorized persons should be allowed to enter the laboratory premises.
  2. Faculty, staff or students who wish to have access to the laboratory facility and equipment must secure the necessary forms before starting any laboratory work.
  3. All users are required to log in entry into the research facility, and the use of instruments/equipment.
  4. Laboratory doors should be kept closed always.
Personal Protection
Procedures and Use of Research Facilities
Laboratory Working Areas
Biosafety Management

BSL-2 & Cell Culture Biosafety

The purpose of Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory Biosafety Guidline is to establish a written program that provides for and supports the procedures, equipment, personal protective equipment, and work practices for protecting laboratory personnel from potential biological health hazards in the laboratory.

The need to protect personnel, product, and the environment from exposure to biohazards and cross contamination during routine procedures has never been more acute.
Standard Microbiological Practices
  1. The laboratory supervisor must enforce the institutional policies that control access to the laboratory.
  2. Persons must wash their hands after working with potentially hazardous materials and before leaving the laboratory.
  3. Eating, drinking, smoking, handling contact lenses, applying cosmetics, and storing food for human consumption must not be permitted in laboratory areas. Food must be stored outside the laboratory area in cabinets or refrigerators designated and used for this purpose.
  4. Mouth pipetting is prohibited; mechanical pipetting devices must be used.
  5. Policies for the safe handling of sharps, such as needles, scalpels, pipettes, and broken glassware must be developed and implemented.
  6. Whenever practical, laboratory supervisors should adopt improved engineering and work practice controls that reduce the risk of sharps injuries. Precautions, including those listed below, must always be taken with sharp items. These include:
  7. Careful management of needles and other sharps are of primary importance. Needles must not be bent, sheared, broken, recapped, removed from disposable syringes, or otherwise manipulated by hand before disposal.
    a. Used disposable needles and syringes must be carefully placed in conveniently located puncture-resistant containers used for sharps disposal.
    b. Non-disposable sharps must be placed in a hard-walled container for transport to a processing area for decontamination, preferably by autoclaving.
    c. Broken glassware must not be handled directly. Instead, it must be removed using a brush and dustpan, tongs, or forceps. Plastic ware should be substituted for glassware whenever possible.
  8. Perform all procedures to minimize the creation of splashes and/or aerosols.
  9. Decontaminate work surfaces after completion of work and after any spill or splash of potentially infectious material with appropriate disinfectant.
  10. Decontaminate all cultures, stocks, and other potentially infectious materials before disposal using an effective method. Depending on where the decontamination will be performed, the following methods should be used prior to transport: