Protocol to follow to:

Why Lab Safety?

Protect yourself and others from lab hazards, injuries, illnesses, property damage and inadvertent environmental damage

Comply with State and Federal regulations

Set a good example for all peer students

General Safety Rules

  1. Read Pre-Lab instructions carefully before attempting to do anything. Please ask your instructor or supervisor questions if you do not understand something.
  2. Safety goggles are required where there is a possibility of potential injury to the eye. Your instructor will inform you which labs require goggles.
  3. Notify your instructor IMMEDIATELY if any spills or accidents occur.
  4. After handling chemicals, always wash your hands with soap and water.
  5. During lab work, keep your hands away from your face.
  6. Know the location of the fire extinguisher, first aid kit, sharps container, and all exits.
  7. Keep your work area uncluttered.
  8. Clean up your lab area at the conclusion of the laboratory period.
  9. Never "horse around" or play practical jokes in the laboratory.
  10. Food, drink, chewing gum, applying cosmetics or taking medications are NOT Allowed in the laboratory.

Proper Laboratory Attire

  1. No open-toed shoes, shorts, capris, or short skirts are to be worn in the laboratory; you must be completely covered from the waist down.
  2. Hair should be secured in a way that it cannot fall or dangle into your experiment.


You must receive a 100% on this safety quiz in order to attend your laboratory course. Failure to adhere to any of the laboratory standards specified in this presentation or those specified by your instructor will result in your being asked to leave the laboratory and any in class assignments for that day will receive a grade of zero. Should this occur, you will accrue one unexcused absence for each occurrence.

Fire Safety

Fire alarms are located at either end of the corridor. Pull a fire alarm only when told to do so by your instructor.

Portable fire extinguishers are located throughout the corridor and should be accessible within 75 feet. Fire extinguisher use, by a student, is only allowed under the direction and supervision of the instructor. EH&S recommends hands on fire extinguisher training prior to using a fire extinguisher.

Glassware Safety

Glass Disposal Boxes are located on either side of the lab room door. If you find your container is full, please notify your lab instructor immediately and a new container will be provided.

  1. Chipped or cracked glassware should not be used. Dispose of such glassware in the appropriate labeled container.
  2. When pouring liquids into glassware, make sure the container you are pouring into is resting on a table at least a hands breadth from the edge.
  3. Do not place hot glassware in water. Rapid cooling may cause it to shatter.
  4. If you are cleaning up glass, be sure to use a broom and dustpan. DO NOT use your hands to pick up or clean up broken glass.

Chemical Safety

  1. Wear protective goggles whenever heating or pouring hazardous chemicals.
  2. Gloves may also be required to handle chemicals. Please ask the instructor or read the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the proper glove selection.
  3. Never mix chemicals together unless you are told to do so (and then only in the manner specified).
  4. Never pour water into a concentrated acid. Acid should be poured slowly into water.
  5. Follow the instructions of your teacher when disposing of all chemicals. DO NOT pour chemicals down the drain.
  6. Wash your hands with soap and water after handling hazardous chemicals.

Physical Hazards-Chemicals

Physical hazards are those substances that effect your physical safety.

  • Flammables
  • Combustible liquids
  • Explosives
  • Oxidizers
  • Water Reactive
  • Pyrophoric
  • Compressed gases

Health Hazards-Chemicals

Health hazards are acute or chronic health effects that may occur in exposed individuals. Acute-quick health related reaction to a chemical or substance (burns, blisters, dermatitis, etc.) Chronic-slow developing health related reaction to a chemical or substance (cancers, central nervous system effects, reproductive system effects, etc.)

Electrical Safety

  1. Lay electrical cords where no one can trip on them or get caught in them.
  2. Be sure your hands and your lab area are dry before using electrical equipment.
  3. Unplug cords by pulling the plug and not the cord.
  4. Unplug all electrical equipment at the end of the lab period.

Heating Safety

  1. Let burners and hotplates cool down before touching them. Test to see if they are cool enough by bringing the back of your hand close to them.
  2. Use tongs and/or protective gloves to handle hot objects.
  3. Always point the top end of test tubes that are being heated away from people.
  4. Never leave a burner or hotplate unattended.

Centrifuge Safety

Centrifugation: the lab practice which uses centrifugal force to separate substances of different densities by spinning at a high velocity

Worse-case scenario = "Catastrophic Failure"

Main Parts of a Centrifuge

  • Rotors
  • Fixed-angle (pictured in Fig. 3)
  • Swinging bucket
  • Rotor lids (pictured in Fig. 2)
  • Tubes and bottles, with lids
  • Drive shaft - what turns the rotor
  • Centrifuge lid with latch

Safe Centrifuge Use

Biohazardous liquids are often centrifuged and require special care. Typically after centrifuging a biohazard, a worker should take the rotor to a biosafety cabinet before removing the lids. If a tube has failed (leaked) during centrifuging, use proper biosafety clean-up procedures.

First Aid

Become familiar with the location of the lab first aid Kit.

Eye Wash Stations are located at the instructors' desk sink in the front of the lab (Brown Hall 222, 210 only). All injuries need to be reported to the instructor immediately. Public Safety are First Responders and can be reached at 423-439-4480 from a cell phone or by dialing 911 from a campus phone.

Injury: Burns
What To Do: Immediately flush with cold water until burning sensation is lessened.

Injury: Cuts, bruises
What To Do: Do not touch an open wound without safety gloves.Pressing directly on minor cuts will stop bleeding in a few minutes. Apply cold compress to bruises to reduce swelling.

Injury: Fainting
What To Do: Provide fresh air and have the person recline so that their head is lower than the rest of their body.

Injury: Eyes
What To Do: Flush eyes immediately with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes. If a foreign object is lodged in the eye, do not allow the eye to be rubbed.

Injury: Poisoning
What To Do: Find out what substance was responsible for the poisoning and alert the instructor immediately.

Injury: Spills on the skin
What To Do: Flush with large quantities of water for at least 15 minutes. For acid spills, apply baking soda solution. For base spills, apply vinegar or boric acid.

What is Biosafety?

The measures employed to avoid infecting oneself, others or the environment when handling biohazard materials

A fundamental objective of any biosafety program is the containment of potentially harmful biological agents.

What is a Biohazard?

An agent or material of biological origin that has the capacity to produce deleterious effects on humans


  • Viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites
  • Blood, body fluids, and tissues from humans and animals
  • Transformed cell lines or human cells

Why Biosafety Practices?

Protection for:

  • Lab workers
  • Quality of research
  • Co-workers
  • Lab support personnel
  • Lab or field animals
  • Environment

Biosafety Levels (BSLs)

A BSL designation refers to a comprehensive plan for biological containment.

  • Standard Microbiological Practices
  • Special Practices
  • Equipment
  • Facilities

Here at ETSU, we have BSL-1 and BSL-2 Laboratories.

Four Levels of Biosafety Containment

Four Biosafety Levels (CDC BMBL Section IV):

  • BSL-1 agents not known to cause disease
    • Least amount of risk
  • BSL-2 agents associated with human disease which are easily treatable or prevented by vaccination
  • BSL-3 indigenous/exotic agents associated with human disease and with potential for aerosol transmission
  • BSL-4 dangerous/exotic agents of life threatening nature
    • Greatest amount of risk

Biosafety Level 1 (BSL-1)

  • For work with well-characterized agents not known to cause disease in healthy adults
  • Work is typically done on open benches.
  • Standard microbiological practices and aseptic techniques are adequate for containment.

Biosafety Level 1 labs must have...

  • Controlled access to biohazard materials, i.e., locking doors and/or cabinets
  • Clear markings to identify areas in the lab where biohazard materials are used or stored
  • Biohazard signage on the doors that includes
    • Name of the agent
    • Name and phone # of lab supervisor/P.I.
    • Universal biohazard symbol
  • Benches impervious to water and chemicals, and heat-resistant
  • Adequate space for cleaning between benches
  • Windows are not open unless fitted with screens; Pest Management Program
  • Non-porous fabric coverings on furniture
  • No carpet or rugs
  • Decontamination procedures
    • For work surfaces
    • For waste solutions (cultures, stocks, etc.)
      • Durable, leak-proof containers for transport
    • For solid wastes (typically Stericycle service)
  • An Emergency Response plan for spills of infectious material
  • Sharps management policy for handling of needles and broken glass
  • A designated dustpan and brush for cleaning up biohazard broken glass
  • Designated hand-washing sink, preferably near the exit
  • Eye-wash that is easily accessible
  • Measures in place to prevent accidental ingestion
    • Mechanical pipettes
    • No food, drink, medicine, cosmetics
    • Clearly marked non-food refrigerators/freezers

Work surfaces MUST be decontaminated once a day and after any spill of viable material.

Required BSL-1 Safety Equipment

Protective eyewear must be worn when conducting procedures, cleaning contaminated equipment

Gloves - based on type of chemicals

Optional BSL-1 Safety Equipment

  • Biosafety Cabinets
  • Lab coats