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EHS Training

EHS has completed the new on line Introduction to Laboratory Safety Course, this course replaces the monthly classroom offerings and removes any remaining barriers to full compliance by anyone working in a DC laboratory specifically undergraduates with class conflicts.


Introduction to Laboratory Safety on line course


Radiation Safety Classroom Training - Contact EHS 646-1762

Engineering Safety within the Lab

The essential key to working safely within a research setting is to

1. Identify the hazards

2. Understand the risks associated with those hazards

3. Develop ways to minimize or remove the associated risks.

Conducting a research risk assessment should be performed periodically throughout your research protocol and before commencement of all new research procedures.  For more information concerning research risk assessments, please click HERE.

Areas to reduce exposure and risk within a Biological Research Lab

Use of a Biological Safety Cabinet (BSC)

A biological safety cabinet is the primary means to reduce the exposure of microbial aerosols to the researcher and prevent exposure within a BSL-2 lab. When working within a BSC it is important to remember the following things:

1. Decontaminate BSC work surfaces before and after use

2. Reduce the amount of material placed within the BSC to not interrupt airflow and reduce BSC effectiveness

3. Workflow should be conducted from clean to dirty with the BSC

4. Biological waste should be collected within the BSC and placed within a larger biohazard waste bag at the end of BSC use. This will prevent spills and drips from occurring when disposing of material outside of the BSC during use.

5. Always use a non-porous chair when working within a BSC. Cloth chairs are NOT allowed.

Use of a Centrifuge for Biological Samples

Centrifugation within a biological research setting can potentially pose an exposure hazard due to the possibility for aerosolization of biological material.

It is essential that sealed rotors or safety cups with airtight seals be used when centrifuging BSL-2 material.

Centrifuge rotors and buckets should be loaded and unloaded within a BSC and decontaminated before and removal from the BSC.

After centrifuge use the interior of the centrifuge should be decontaminated with an appropriate disinfectant for the biological used.

Laboratory Housekeeping

Proper housekeeping of a research laboratory can greatly reduce the possibility of exposure and increase research integrity at the same time.

Remember the follow key items in regards to laboratory housekeeping:

1. Non-research personnel also enter your laboratory (custodians, maintenance personnel, visiting scientists). It is essential to keep pathways clear of debris as to not inhibit their ability to perform their daily tasks and prevent egress in the event of an emergency.

2. Keeping lab benches clear of clutter reduces the possibility of spills, especially near the edge of the bench where passersby could knock an item off of the bench and create and exposure.

3. Spills within the lab should be cleaned IMMEDIATLEY by LAB PERSONNEL. Custodians should not attend to laboratory spills and potentially place themselves at risk of exposure. Research staff are responsible for cleaning of all spills of laboratory materials within the lab.

4. Life safety systems (eyewash, safety shower, fire extinguishers) should be kept clear of clutter and should have a clear path to and from at all times.


Last Updated: 4/29/14