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Foundation training in laboratory safety. Faculty Safety Managers: Jan de Abela-Borg and Stefan Hoyle. Training program. Module 1: Principles of laboratory safety (including bio safety) Module 2: Hazardous chemicals Module 3: Gases, cryogenics and other hazards Assessment MCQs.

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foundation training in laboratory safety

Foundation training in laboratory safety

Faculty Safety Managers:

Jan de Abela-Borg and Stefan Hoyle

training program
Training program
  • Module 1:
  • Principles of laboratory safety (including bio safety)
  • Module 2:
  • Hazardous chemicals
  • Module 3:
  • Gases, cryogenics and other hazards
  • Assessment MCQs
learning outcomes
Learning outcomes
  • Course Aim:
  • Provide an understanding of how to work safely in the laboratory
  • Module 1 Objectives:
    • Be able to define Hazard and risk
    • Describe basics of risk assessment
    • Explain the relationship between Bio Hazard Groups and Lab Containment levels
    • List the routes of exposure
    • Describe the mode of operation of Microbiological safety cabinets
what are we trying to prevent injuries

Images 2, 3, 4 & 5 were accidents that occurred at other organisations not Imperial College London

What are we trying to prevent? Injuries.........................





compliance requirements
Compliance requirements

UK legislation

Faculties and Depts

summary 1
Summary (1)
  • Lab safety is important to prevent harm to individuals, equipment or facilities, the environment or the public image of the organisation (and therefore funding).
  • The College follows the Regulations of UK law as set out in the UK Health and Safety at Work Act
  • Students are treated as staff for the purposes of health and safety
which one of these groups of answers illustrates good lab practice
Which one of these groups of answers illustrates good lab practice?
  • Writing tidily in lab book, wearing labcoat and safety glasses, turning off lights when leaving the lab
  • No eating or drinking, wearing labcoat and safety glasses, knowing correct waste routes
  • Reporting accidents and near misses, leaving door open when working alone, cover cuts on hands with gloves
  • No eating or drinking in the lab, leaving door open when working alone, wearing disposable gloves when transporting samples between labs
  • Asking the cleaners to clean up chemical spills, turning off lights when leaving lab, wash hands before leaving lab
good lab practice
Good lab practice
  • No eating, drinking, applying cosmetics or mouth pipetting
  • Housekeeping
  • Storing or using personal items in the lab (food, iPods, presents etc)
  • Responsibility for work and the safety of others
  • Labcoat, safety glasses and gloves
  • Good glove practice and hand hygiene
  • Covering cuts or grazes as appropriate
  • Lab coat cleaning
  • Dealing with spillages
  • Reporting accidents and near misses
  • Removing waste via the correct route and recycling
risk assessment process
Risk assessment process......

Something with the potential to cause harm

Identify the hazard

Identify who may be harmed

The likelihood and severity of harm occurring

Evaluate the risk and

identify control measures

Record the assessment

Review the assessment

control of substances hazardous to health coshh regulations
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations

“hazardous substances”

Chemicals (incl toxins)


Biological agents

Any other substance hazardous to health inc wood dust, plant toxins, cleaning materials, oils and plenty more!)

coshh risk assessment general provisions
COSHH risk assessment – general provisions
  • Assess health risks
  • Prevent or control exposure
  • Use control measures
  • Maintain, examine and test control measures
  • Monitor exposure
  • Health surveillance
  • Information, instruction and training for persons who may be exposed
  • Arrangements to deal with accidents, incidents and emergencies
coshh preventing exposure
COSHH – preventing exposure

1st fundamental principle – prevent exposure

Elimination – Don’t do it or;

Substitution - substituting ‘it’ with another substance which presents less, or no risk;

using another process which doesn’t create a hazardous form of that substance.

Segregation - If substitution is not possible then start by considering whether the work is adequately isolated from other staff, students, contractors or visitors.

coshh controlling exposure
COSHH – controlling exposure
  • 2nd fundamental principle – control exposure
  • Engineering control – Using equipment and lab design to prevent exposure for example, microbiological safety cabinet, enclosed centrifuge rotors, non absorbent lab furniture, laser interlocks, extraction for solder etc.
  • Procedural control – Ensuring those doing the work are competent, follow procedures and where appropriate know emergency actions.
  • Management control – Monitoring and reviewing controls to ensure implementation, for example, health surveillance, equipment maintenance, providing training, reviewing assessments.
coshh biological agents
COSHH – Biological agents

All biological agents must be classified in one of four Hazard Groups

HazardGroup 2

Lab containment

Level 2

HazardGroup 4

Lab containment

Level 4

HazardGroup 1

HazardGroup 3

Lab containmentLevel 1

Lab containment

Level 3

Increasing hazard to human health

which group of criteria should be used to place human pathogens in the coshh hazard groups
Which group of criteria should be used to place human pathogens in the COSHH hazard groups?
  • Country of origin, virulence, concentration of culture
  • Motility of microorganism, infectious dose, route of exposure
  • Type of microorganism, route of exposure, country of origin
  • Infectious dose, availability of treatment, survivability
  • E) Incubation period, infectious dose, motility of microorganism
summary 2
Summary (2)
  • Risk assessment and planning is a essential part of safe and good science.
  • All hazards must be considered when assessing the risk from lab work.
  • Human pathogens are segregated into one of four hazard groups and must be used in a equivalent or higher containment level lab.
  • COSHH requires that exposure from substances hazardous to health is either prevented or controlled
routes of lab infection
Routes of lab infection
  • Ingestion
    • Eating, drinking and smoking in the laboratory
    • Mouth pipetting
    • Transfer of micro-organisms to mouth by
    • contaminated fingers or articles
  • Skin (percutaneous)
    • Skin puncture by needle or other sharp
    • Bites and scratches by animals
    • Existing cuts or scratches
  • Conjunctivae
    • Splashes of infectious material into the eye
    • Transfer to eye by contaminated fingers or articles
  • Inhalation
    • Inhalation of airbourne organisms
which of these measures help control percutaneous exposure
Which of these measures help control percutaneous exposure?
  • Replace sharp needles with blunt needles / re-sheathing needles after use / using correct disposal methods
  • Using correct disposal methods / wearing disposable nitrile gloves / using plastic labware instead of glass
  • Using plastic labware instead of glass / replacing sharp needles with blunt / using correct disposal methods
  • Wearing disposable nitrile gloves / re-sheathing needles / using correct disposal methods
controlling aerosols droplets

Secondary control


the worker

Controlling aerosols & droplets

Primary control measure

microbiological safety cabinets msc
Microbiological safety cabinets (MSC)
  • Required for work at containment level 2 and 3 if the work presents a risk of aerosol exposure
  • Must be correctly selected (type and make)
  • Must be correctly installed
  • Must be correctly used
  • Must be correctly maintained
how do mscs work
How do MSCs work?
  • On the handout illustrate using arrows the directions of airflows in the 3 different classes of MSCs
msc class i
MSC - class I

High Efficiency Particulate

Air (HEPA)



msc class ii
MSC - class II

Exhaust HEPA filter

DownflowHEPA filter




msc class iii
MSC – class III

HEPA filter

HEPA filter


msc airflow sensitivity
MSC – airflow sensitivity



Do not have another worker at an adjacent bench


300 mm


Allow adequate room for workers at nearby benches

differences between a msc and a fume cupboard
Differences between a MSC and a fume cupboard

Microbiological safety cabinet

Fume cupboard

using a msc
Using a MSC

Proper use: before you start workProper use: whilst at the cabinetProper use: after completion of the work

msc users training
MSC users - training
  • What you must know if using a MSC:
  • Classification of cabinets
  • Appropriate and inappropriate use of cabinets
  • Mode of operation and function of all controls and indicators
  • Limitations of performance
  • How to work safely at the cabinet
  • What to do if it stops working
  • How to decontaminate after use
  • Principles of airflow and operator protection tests
summary 3
Summary (3)
  • Identifying the route of exposure will help to identify the correct control measures
  • Controlling exposure at source protects the individual and others who may could be affected.
  • Controlling biological exposure via inhalation can be achieved by using MSCs
  • If using a MSC ensure you are using the correct class (I, II or III) and get appropriate training.
human blood and tissues
Human blood and tissues

Main infection hazard is HIV, HepB and HepC

which of these donors can you consider to be safe in terms of handling their blood
Which of these donors can you consider to be safe in terms of handling their blood?




A) 1 + 3

B) 1

C) 3

D) None

E) All

universal precautions for human blood and tissue
Universal precautions for human blood and tissue
  • Get Hepatitis B vaccination
  • Transport samples in robust containers. Use secondary containment.
  • Wear gloves, labcoat and safety glasses when handling body fluids
  • Use a MSC if generating aerosols or splashes
  • Minimise use of sharps. If sharps are required use them
  • properly
  • Dispose of waste appropriately
  • Know what to do in the event of an exposure
  • (post exposure prophylaxis)
Which of these could you import into the UK without prior consultation with College safety personnel or Regulatory authorities?
  • A) Oak leaves from Chernobyl
  • B) GM modified mouse from Beijing
  • C) Aphids from Seattle
  • D) Glowing gonad mosquitoes from Nairobi
  • E) Mouse Ear Cress from Rome
genetically modified organisms
Genetically modified organisms

What is GM?

Micro-organisms, plants and animals that have had their heritable genetic material altered by artificial means.

gmo regulations contained use
GMO Regulations (contained use)
  • Assessment
  • Notification
  • Containment
  • Emergency
  • Plans
  • Waste control
  • Report accidents
what is gm
What is GM?

Gene of interest (insert)

e.g. bacterial expression system.....



gm assessment and class
GM assessment and class

Requires that all GMOs are classified in one of four Classes

Class 1

Class 2

Class 3

Class 4

Increasing hazard to human health or the environment

Containment Level





Classification of GMM determined by Containment Level required

college procedures for gm projects
College procedures for GM projects

All GM work must be assessed by the relevant GM Safety Committee BEFORE generation, use or storage of any GM material.

If you are using GM material – ALWAYS ask to see the associated GM assessment

If using Class 2 or 3 GM material you will need to be on Bio-agents health screening provided by College Occupational Health.

Also remind your supervisor that the GM Form C needs to be updated

summary 4
Summary (4)
  • Treat all human body fluids or tissues as potentially infected
  • Before importing any material into the UK check with a FSM or the Safety Dept
  • GM material must be assessed and approved before it is cultured, stored, used or disposed of
  • GM classification is based on the risk to human health and the environment