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© 2020 Chester R. Cooper, Jr.

BIOL 3702L Home Page      Laboratory Exercises      Laboratory Schedule

BIOL 3702L Laboratory Safety Rules and Procedures

(updated January 6, 2020)

Each student enrolled in a microbiology laboratory at Youngstown State University must follow specific safety rules and procedures listed below as well as the Biohazard Waste Disposal Guidelines in the accompanying table. 

Failure to comply with any of these rules or procedures may result in a student’s dismissal from one or more laboratory sessions.

In addition, all students enrolled in BIOL 3702L must submit a Liability Waiver .

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Please report any “broken” links to Dr. Cooper.

Reporting an Accident or Unsafe Incident

If an incident occurs during an ongoing laboratory session, immediately report it to the laboratory instructor.

If an incident occurs during an open laboratory period, report it immediately to:

·      Dr. Cooper (330.941.1361; crcooper01@ysu.edu); and/or

·      the laboratory instructor; and/or

·      Mr. Joe Bielicki (Room 2022, in the hallway immediately behind the laboratory); and/or

·      the Department of Biological Sciences (330.941.3601); and/or

·      and/or the Office of Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (Room 2303) located across the hall from the microbiology laboratory (330.941.3700).

Links to Laboratory Safety Information

YSU Laboratory Safety Rules

Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) 5th Edition

Safety Videos: Students are strongly encouraged to view these

Microbiology Laboratory Safety

General Lab Hazards

Why Do I Have to Wear Goggles?

Personal Protective Equipment

Safety Equipment

Proper Lab Behavior

Chemical Hazards

Safe Chemical Handling

Amoeba Sisters – General Laboratory Safety
(cute and entertaining!)

Zombie College: The 5 Rules of Lab Safety
(anything with zombies can’t be bad!)

Safety Rules

1)        Follow all directions provided by the laboratory instructor.

2)        Notify the laboratory instructor of any safety concerns.

3)        Know where the following safety items are located in the lab and how they are operated:

a)    fire extinguisher(s);

b)    fire blanket;

b) first aid kit; and

c) eye wash station.

4)        Know the exits from the laboratory and the building in case of emergency.

5)        All unnecessary books, purses, briefcases, etc., must be placed in the “cubbies” provided.

6)        No food or drinks are permitted in the laboratory at any time. 

Note: Smoking is prohibited at all times on University property.

7)        Long hair should be secured behind your head.

8)        Loose floppy/flowing clothing should not be worn in the laboratory.

9)        Loose sleeves should be secured so as not to be a safety hazard.

10)     Only closed-toe shoes are to be worn in the laboratory. 

Note: Sandals are not permitted.

11)     Long pants must be worn down to the ankles. 

Note: Capri pants are not acceptable substitutes.  Dresses/skirts are not permissible unless legs are covered to the ankles. Wearing shorts is not allowed in the laboratory.

12)     All electronic items, including lap top computers, iPads, mobile phones, and like devices, are NOT permitted at any work area within the laboratory.  These items must be kept in the student’s “cubbie”.

Note: There is an exception when the camera of a mobile phone shall be used in one exercise, but otherwise mobile phones are not permitted to be used in the laboratory.

13)     Hands must be washed after entering and before exiting the laboratory.

14)     Work areas/surfaces must be disinfected before and after use.

15)     Keep hands and other objects away from your face, nose, eyes, ears, and mouth.

16)     The application of cosmetics in the laboratory is prohibited.

17)     Laboratory coats must be worn and buttoned while in the laboratory. 

18)     Laboratory coats must not be worn outside the laboratory.

19)     Protective eyewear must be worn when performing any exercise or procedure in the laboratory, including the handling of liquid cultures or during procedures that may create a splash hazard.  Also, protective eyewear must be worn when such procedures are being performed by others nearby.

20)     Wear gloves (nitrile, latex, etc.) when hands have fresh cuts or abrasions. 

Note: Gloves (latex, nitrile, etc.) are not provided except for particular exercises or unusual circumstances.  Otherwise, students must provide their own gloves and dispose of them properly after each use.  Gloves may not be removed from the laboratory or re-used.

21)     Do not wear dangling jewelry.

22)     Be careful around Bunsen burners.  Flames cannot always be seen.  Keep all flammable objects away from the Bunsen burner.

23)     Be careful around incinerators.  They are extremely hot and can cause burns.  Keep all flammable objects away from the incinerator.

24)     If using alcohol to sterilize an object, use extreme caution around any open flames.  Burning alcohol is often invisible.

25)     Keep note-taking practices separate from work with hazardous or infectious material.

26)     Use proper transport vessels (e.g., test tube racks) for moving cultures in the laboratory, and, when possible, store vessels containing cultures in a leak-proof container.

27)     Use appropriate universal precautions with all body fluids.  For more information, see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470223/. 

Note: This laboratory course does not typically involve the use of body fluids, but the practice of universal precautions is nonetheless a wise idea.

28)     Never pipette anything by mouth (including water).  Always use pipetting devices.

29)     Label all materials with your name, date, and any other applicable information (e.g., media, organism, etc.) using a Sharpie or similar marker.

30)     Immediately report any broken glass, tubes, flasks, etc., to the laboratory instructor.  Do not handle broken glass with fingers; use a dustpan and broom.  If the glass is contaminated, follow all directions given by the laboratory instructor for removal and disinfection.

31)     Dispose of wastes in their proper containers (see Disposal of Laboratory Wastes below).

32)     When handling chemicals, take the appropriate precautions. 

Note: If a student is unaware of potential risks, consult your laboratory instructor.

33)     Do not pour chemicals down the sink.

34)     Do not pour biohazardous fluids down the sink.

35)     Return all chemicals, reagents, cultures, and glassware to their appropriate places.

36)     Flame transfer loops, wires, or needles before and immediately after use to transfer biological material.

37)     Do not walk about the laboratory with transfer loops, wires, needles, or pipettes containing infectious material.

38)     Turn off incinerators, Bunsen burners, and hot plates before leaving the laboratory.

39)     Report any broken equipment to the laboratory instructor.

40)     If a student is injured in the laboratory, immediately contact the laboratory instructor.

41)     Do not remove any materials from the laboratory without the written permission of the laboratory instructor.

42)     If you have a health-related issues that may make you susceptible to infections (e.g., HIV positive, pregnant, transplant recipient, etc.), PRIVATELY inform your laboratory instructor so that appropriate precautions can be taken.

43)     Unauthorized experiments or procedures must not be attempted.

Disposal of Laboratory Wastes

Students are expected to follow the guidelines below to properly dispose of laboratory materials.  If you have a question regarding the proper disposal of an item, please ask your laboratory instructor.  Do not guess as to how to handle a disposable laboratory item.

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·      Non-contaminated paper, tissues, etc., must be discarded in the normal trash receptacle. 

·      Contaminated paper, tissues, etc., must be discarded in the waste disposal barrel.

Note: Paper and paper-like materials, regardless of contamination
status, must NEVER be discarded in the bench-top waste bin.
[A HUGE DR. COOPER PET PEEVE!]

·      Used alcohol wipes (without wrappers) should be discarded in the bench-top waste bin.  The wrapper should be discarded in the normal trash receptacle.

·      Regardless of contamination status, all plastic bulb pipettes (without paper wrappers), cotton swabs (without paper wrappers), microfuge/PCR tubes, and micropipette tips should be discarded in the bench-top waste bin.

·      Regardless of contamination status, all serological pipettes (without paper/plastic wrappers) should be discarded in the designated pipette jar or container.

·      Regardless of contamination status, all glass slides and disposable hemocytometer slides should be discarded in the sharps container.

Note: Do not discard prepared teaching slides.  Return them to their original storage container.

·      Glass test tubes (containing agar, broth, or other substance) should be placed upright (with their lids attached) in the designated rack usually located in a tray next to the 37°C incubator.

·      Glass test tubes without a lid should be discarded in the sharps container.

·      Plastic test tubes (containing agar, broth, or other substance) should have their lids tightly capped prior to being discarded in the waste disposal barrel.

·      Petri dishes containing agar should be discarded with their lids attached by GENTLY placing them in waste disposal barrel.

Note: Do not toss or throw Petri dishes into the waste disposal barrel.

·      Broken glass that is contaminated should be discarded in the sharps container.

·      Broken glass that is not contaminated should be discarded in the broken glass box or the sharps container.

·      Regardless of contamination status, culture flasks should be placed in a container designated by the laboratory instructor AFTER any tape labels have been removed.

·      Regardless of contamination status, bottles (used for media, buffer, water, etc.) should be placed in a container designated by the laboratory instructor AFTER any tape labels have been removed.

·      Regardless of contamination status, all gloves (latex, nitrile, etc.) should be discarded in the waste disposal barrel.

Note: NEVER discard gloves in a normal trash receptacle.  [A HUMONGOUS NO NO!]

·      If directed, biological liquids shall be disposed by a method to be detailed by the laboratory instructor.

·      For the disposal of any item not listed above, consult the laboratory instructor.

Youngstown State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, disability, age, religion or veteran/military status in its programs or activities. Please visit the EIT Home Page for contact information for persons designated to handle questions about this policy.

It is possible that portions of this web page are not wholly in accord with the American with Disabilities Act.  If this is the case, a student currently enrolled in this course should contact Dr. Cooper (crcooper01@ysu.edu; 330.941.1361) and compliant material shall be provided as soon as practical.

© 2020 Chester R. Cooper, Jr.