Lab Safety

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The following policies have been designed to protect you, your lab partners, and the students that will be using the labs after you.

No one plans to catch their hair on fire or spill caustic chemicals on their lab partners. That’s why they are called accidents. You need to understand how to prevent laboratory accidents and what to do when they happen.

Before getting started:

  1. Know the location of and how to use the safety equipment in the lab, including the fire extinguisher, shower, eye wash station, first aid kit
  2. No eating, drinking, smoking, chewing gum or applying cosmetics in the lab. Don’t bring food or drink containers into the lab unless they are in your backpack.
  3. Appropriate clothing must be worn at all times. No open-toed shoes are allowed and long pants are recommended. Avoid wearing loose clothing or clothing you care about. Loose or bulky clothing can catch on lab equipment and result in clothes being permanently stained or could damage equipment.
  4. Long hair must be tied back so that it does not fall into flames, chemicals or biohazardous materials. Baseball caps must be removed
  5. All backpacks, purses or other personal belongings must be tucked away in the back corner closet of the lab.
  6. Open wounds must be covered with a bandage before beginning your lab.

When conducting experiments:

  1. Carefully follow the instructions for each experiment. Unauthorized experiments are not allowed.
  2. Safety glasses are required when using chemicals (staining reagents, alcohols, etc). Safety glasses/goggles are available and it is highly recommended that you wear them at all times in lab.
  3. Gloves are readily available and required for working in this lab.
  4. Read the labels on the reagent bottles carefully before using them. Using the wrong chemicals could create a hazardous situation. Never place any chemical or biological material in unlabeled test tubes, bottles or containers of any kind.
  5. Do not touch or taste the bacteria, chemicals, or supplies in this lab. You will never need to check the odor of any chemical or biological agents in this lab, so please do not.
  6. If you come in contact with chemicals, wash them off immediately. Use the eyewash fountain to flush chemicals from your eyes. Chemicals spilled over a large part of the body should be washed using the safety shower. Remove all contaminated clothing and flood the exposed area. If your clothes catch on fire go to the safety shower or drop and roll.
  7. You will be working with flammable solvents and open flames. Never leave a burner flame unattended. Turn off all equipment before you leave the lab. In the event of a fire immediately notify your instructor, locate the fire extinguisher, and put out the flames. If you are not immediately successful pull the fire alarm.
  8. In the event of a fire alarm, turn off the gas at your bench and exit through the stairwell. Please gather on the lawn area in the front of the building.
  9. Mouth pipetting is forbidden.
  10. Don’t use cracked or chipped glassware; it could easily break while you are working.
  11. Dispose of damaged or broken glassware in the broken glassware container, don’t throw it in the regular trash, the custodial staff could be injured.
  12. All electrical cords should be wrapped around the lab bench legs and not be left draping. If the bench legs are not available, electrical cords could be wrapped around water or gas outlets when possible to prevent equipment from being pulled off tables.
  13. Injuries should be reported to your lab instructor immediately. You must fill out an injury report form for any injury incurred in lab.
  14. Do not put biological materials down the sinks.
  15. All spills containing microbes must be soaked in Cavicide for 10 minutes before clean up. This includes floors, clothes, books, lab benches, etc. Used paper towels should be placed in the biohazard bin for disposal. All spills should be reported to the instructor immediately
  16. All supplies that have been in contact with microbes must be soaked for 10 minutes in Cavicide before disposal or placed in the appropriate biohazard bag for autoclaving.
  17.  Do not touch your face or hair while gloved and working with bacteria or chemicals.

Completion of the laboratory exercise:

  1. Never remove any equipment, reagents, chemicals, media or cultures from the lab. All slides and specimens must remain in the lab.
  2. Your lab bench must be wiped down before and after each lab. Chemicals or biohazardous materials left behind may endanger those using the bench after you.
  3. You must wash your hands before leaving the lab. You can easily transfer materials you have unknowingly left on your hands to foods you eat and people you touch.

Additional information:

  1. No children are allowed in the lab except on organized school sponsored field trips.
  2. A list of the potential chemicals and biological that you may be exposed to during your lab experience is available, if you would like to have a copy, please ask your instructor. If you feel that you may be at risk, due to pregnancy, illness, sensitivities or any other situation, please be advised that TMCC strongly urges you to discuss potential hazards and associated risks with your physician. Although the TMCC faculty and staff will take every realistic precaution, we cannot control your behavior or that of your classmates.
  3. Please do not lift heavy items in the lab, if you need something ask your instructor to do so.
  4. You will be issued a lab coat, which must be worn and kept buttoned during lab. The lab coat stays in your assigned drawer or cubby when you are not working in lab. Please remove your lab coat if you need to leave during the lab. Your lab coat protects your clothes from stains and helps to contain bacteria in the laboratory.
  5. Appropriate aseptic technique will be observed at all times. Your instructor will direct you in the proper procedures so your technique is aseptic. We will be using some mildly infectious micro-organisms in the lab and it is important that you follow instructions carefully.


BIOL 251 Supply List

Microbiologicals Safety Concerns & Comments 
Alcaligenes faecalis Biosafety Level 1, Risk Group 1
Bacillus cereus Biosafety Level 2, Risk Group 2
Bacillus cereus (mycoides) Biosafety Level 1, Risk Group 1
Bacillus megaterium Biosafety Level 1, Risk Group 1
Bacillus subtilis Biosafety Level 1, Risk Group 1
Citrobacter freundi Biosafety Level 1, Risk Group 1
Enterobacter aerogenes Biosafety Level 2, Risk Group 2
E. coli Biosafety Level 2, Risk Group 2
E. coli (K-12) Biosafety Level 1, Risk Group 1
E. coli (DH5α) Biosafety Level 1, Risk Group 1
Klebsiella pneumoniae Biosafety Level 2, Risk Group 2
Micrococcus luteus Biosafety Level 1, Risk Group 1
Mycobacterium smegmatis Biosafety Level 1, Risk Group 1
Penicillium notatum Biosafety Level 1, Risk Group 1
Proteus vulgaris Biosafety Level 2, Risk Group 2
Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biosafety Level 2, Risk Group 2
Pseudomonas fluorescens Biosafety Level 1, Risk Group 1
Rhizopus stolonifer Biosafety Level 1, Risk Group 1
Saccharomyces cerevisiae Biosafety Level 1, Risk Group 1
Salmonella typhimurium Biosafety Level 2, Risk Group 2
Serratia marcescens Biosafety Level 2, Risk Group 2
Shigella flexneri Biosafety Level 2, Risk Group 2
Staphylococcus aureus Biosafety Level 2, Risk Group 2
Staphylococcus epidermidis Biosafety Level 1, Risk Group 1
Staphylococcus haemolyticus Biosafety Level 2, Risk Group 2
Staphylococcus saprophyticus Biosafety Level 1, Risk Group 1
Staphylococcus xylosus Biosafety Level 2, Risk Group 2
Streptooccus agalactiae Biosafety Level 2, Risk Group 2
Streptococcus bovis Biosafety Level 1, Risk Group 1
Streptococcus faecalis Biosafety Level 2, Risk Group 2
Streptococcus mutans Biosafety Level 1, Risk Group 1
Streptococcus pyogenes Biosafety Level 2, Risk Group 2
Chemicals Safety Concerns & Comments 
Acid Fuschin Stain low hazard, skin & eye irritant (1% aqueous solution)
Acid Alcohol moderately toxic - flammable, skin & eye irritant (3% HCL Acid, 97% ethyl alcohol)
Carbol Fuchsin Stain moderately toxic - inhalation hazard, skin & eye irritant - made with phenol (4.5%)
Congo Red Stain low hazard, skin & eye irritant (0.1% aqueous solution)
Crystal Violet Stain moderately toxic - flammable, skin & eye irritant (99% ethyl alcohol)
Ethyl Alcohol moderately toxic - highly flammable, skin & eye irritant
Grams Crystal Violet moderately toxic - flammable, skin & eye irritant (99% ethyl alcohol)
Grams Decolorizer moderately toxic - flammable, skin & eye irritant (20% acetone, 80% isopropyl alcohol)
Grams Iodine moderately toxic - inhalation hazard, skin & eye irritant - (1.9% potassium iodide)
Grams Safranin moderately toxic - flammable, skin & eye irritant (19% ethyl alcohol, 1% methyl alcohol)
Hydrogen Peroxide (3%) low hazard, skin & eye irritant (3% aqueous solution)
Malachite Green Stain low hazard, skin & eye irritant (5% aqueous solution)
Methanol moderately toxic - highly flammable, skin & eye irritant
Methyl Red Indicator low hazard, skin & eye irritant (0.1% aqueous solution)
Methylene Blue Stain moderately toxic - flammable, skin & eye irritant (30% ethyl alcohol)
Nigrosin Stain low hazard, skin & eye irritant (0.1% aqueous solution)
Safranin Stain moderately toxic - flammable, skin & eye irritant (39% ethyl alcohol)
Tergitol-7 low hazard, detergent