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REFERENCE NO: AHC/1998/1/2.1



This procedure is to familiarise (new) staff members with general and some specific safety considerations. Emergency and hazards which could be encountered in the collection are presented.


Instructions on safety aspects, emergency and hazards should be carried out on the day of arrival for each new employee. This introduction should take the form of a general tour of the collection laboratories. The instructor should check each item as it is dealt with, and ensure that the form is signed by instructor and the new staff member: name, date and signature are needed. The completed form is kept in staff files held in the head office.

Safety instructions for all staff members have to be repeated at intervals as foreseen by national regulations or at least at intervals of two years.

The following list is a check list to be used during the introduction tour of new staff members of the collection and for the two-yearly repeated safety instructions. Due to differences in the national regulations, this list is only an example.

Fire precautions 

  • What to do in case of fire
  • Emergency notice posted in each laboratory
  • The emergency phone number
  • Position of fire alarm points
  • Position of fire extinguishers
  • Escape routes
  • Assembly points


Safety Information 

  • Introduction and legislation
  • Contents of Code of Safety Practice
  • Accident/incident procedures, Work Related Upper Limb Disorders (WRULD)
  • Physical hazards, including electrical hazards
  • Biological hazards, sources of laboratory infections
  • Chemical
    • locations and contents
    • staff must read relevant forms before beginning work
    • staff must consider regulations when planning new procedures
    • storage of hazardous chemicals (toxic compounds/solutions, flammables, acids)

  • Access to laboratories
  • Unpacking of cultures received for deposit (see M/1998/1.06 Appendix 4)
  • Protective equipment
  • Sterilisation and decontamination, disinfecting procedures
  • Waste disposal and disposal procedure
    • chemical and toxic waste
    • radioactive waste
    • clean paper
    • clean plastic
    • clean glass
    • contaminated paper, plastic (incl. pipettes, syringes, ), petri dishes
    • (contaminated) cannulas
    • contaminated glass equipment (beakers, flasks, pipettes, )
    • others (batteries, alumina foil, metals, )

  • Liquid nitrogen (see M/1998/1.06 Appendix 1) and solid carbon dioxide handling (risks, alarm system)
  • Transport of biological materials
  • Collection specific safety procedures: COSHH, Fire safety, Office safety, Radiological safety
  • Safety Notice Board, locations
  • Manual handling
  • Information on repeating safety instructions at regular intervals


Information on equipment operation 

  • Use of autoclaves
  • Use of centrifuges
  • Use of containment cabinets
  • Use of fume cabinets
  • Use of oven
  • Handling liquid nitrogen equipment
  • Use of controlled-rate freezers
  • Disposal of equipment


Safety contacts 

  • Head of the collection (room and telephone number)
  • Representative for general safety (room and telephone number)
  • Representative for biological safety (room and telephone number)



The following publications may be useful in establishing a general safety program for biological laboratories:

  • Collins, C.H. et al. (eds.). Safety in Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology. Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd., Oxford. 1992. ISBN 0 7506 1105 7
  • Collins, C.H. Laboratory-acquired infections. Third edition. Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd., Oxford. 1993. ISBN 0 7506 0642 8
  • Fleming, D.A. et al. (eds.). Laboratory Safety, Principals and Practices. Second edition. ASM Press, Washington, D.C. 1995. ISBN 1 55581 047 0
  • Miller, B.M. et al. (eds.). Laboratory Safety: Principals and Practices. American Society of Microbiology, Washington, D.C. 1986. ISBN 0 914826 77 8
  • Raynburn, St. R. The Foundations of Laboratory Safety. A Guide for the Biomedical Laboratory. Springer-Verlag, New York. 1990. ISBN 0 387 97125 4
  • WHO. Laboratory Biosafety Manual. Second edition. World Health Organization, Geneva. ISBN 92 4 154450 3

Guidelines prepared for CABRI by CERDIC, DSMZ, ECACC, INRC, November 1998
Page layout by CERDIC
Copyright CABRI, 1998

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