Dept of Biological Sciences | Our research | Safety Policy | Laboratory Safety - General Guidance
Document Actions

Laboratory  Safety – general guidance

This is just a quick summary of the lab safety rules. You must read the Code of Practice for Safe Working in the Laboratories of Malet Street Main and Extension Buildings

  1. Before commencing work in the laboratory make sure that you have read, understood and followed this guidance at all times.
  2. Before starting work make sure that you have filled in a COSHH form in conjunction with your supervisor [see for guidance].
  3. Wear protective equipment as required when working in the laboratory.
  4. Never eat, drink, smoke, apply make-up in a laboratory or pipette by mouth.
  5. Read and observe any special safety instructions displayed in the laboratory or which have been issued to you (e.g. Code Of Practice For Work In Genetic Modification Laboratories - available on this page as downloadable PDF under Genetic Modification Code of Practice 2014,  Liquid Nitrogen - Code of Practice for Handling nitrogen).
  6. Keep your working area clean and free from obstructions. Do not leave coats, bags or unnecessary books on the benches or on floors to trip over. Remove waste material from your area as soon as possible and dispose of it in the appropriate waste container. When you have finished, leave your area tidy and follow any instructions for clearing and cleaning equipment.
  7. Make sure you know how to use all equipment, including safety devices, before you begin work. Do not use chipped or cracked glassware.
  8. Safety spectacles are available and must be worn whenever there is any risk to the eyes, however slight. These include chemicals splashing into the face, operating rotary concentrators, vacuum equipment, liquid nitrogen, emptying autoclaves and ultra-violet radiation.
  9. Ear protection must be worn when using sonicators and venting gas cylinders. Ensure the area is kept clear and warn others so they do not suffer ear injury. Ear protection is also required for certain operations in the workshop areas.
  10. Never work alone in an empty laboratory without informing others of your presence there.
  11. Report all breakages and spills to the laboratory manager and obey instructions for clearing up waste. Broken glass, needles and other sharps should be put into the appropriate bins or sharps boxes and NOT mixed with paper waste.
  12. Report all accidents, however minor, in the accident book at the main entrance.
  13. Radiochemicals should only be used in designated areas by registered radiation workers wearing their badge monitors. These activities are governed by special regulations laid out in The Local Rules For Radiation Safety.
  14. Genetic modification work should only be carried out in designated genetic modification areas. These activities are governed by special regulations laid out in the Code Of Practice For Work In Genetic Modification Laboratories - see link instructions above.
  15. Never pour solvents down sinks; these must be placed in the correct waste container drum for disposal of either halogenated or non-halogenated waste via the designated route.
  16. Learn the location, type and method of use of fire extinguishers, and the location of fire alarms and first aid equipment. In case of a fire alarm, KNOW the emergency escape route.
  17. Remove protective equipment (e.g. your laboratory coat) and wash your hands thoroughly before leaving the laboratory.