Lab Hazards

Good Laboratory Practices- Must for all aspiring Scientists

An aspiring and budding Microbiologist should always initiate their study by first understanding and learning Good Laboratory Practices (GLP). These Practices are general rules and regulations that every Microbiologist should follow in the lab. We are aware that Experiments are always associated with risks, but in case of Microbiology Experiments, the level of risk is higher because of the involvement of Pathogenic microbes and hazardous chemicals.

Good Laboratory Practices are not only required to make your experiment successful, but also for your safety. While working with pathogenic organisms, there is always a possibility of getting you an infection and hence there is need to follow the Good Laboratory Safety Practices.

As a Microbiologist, you should always treat all microbes as potential Hazard because you never know when the microbes get mutated or transformed, and become pathogenic. For microbiologists the safety levels have been divided into four classes: Bio-safety Level 1, 2, 3, and 4 (BSL – 1, 2, 3 and 4). This classification is based on the pathogenicity level of microbes. BSL-1 is for non-pathogenic microbes, BSL-2 is for microbes which might be moderate risk for us, BSL -3 is for microbes which may cause us potential diseases and BSL-4 is for microbes which cause life threatening diseases. As a student, you may work at BSL -1 and BSL-2.

Before following the Biosafety level rules, the students need to follow some laboratory good practices and make them as laboratory habits. Such Good Laboratory practices are as follows-

  1. Wear lab coats while entering the laboratory to protect yourself and your clothing.
  2. Tie your hair.
  3. One should not wear any make up or cosmetics in the laboratory.
  4. Do not keep your belongings like bag, books, water bottle, tiffin box etc. on bench tops.
  5. Wash you hands with disinfectant before entering and while leaving the laboratory.
  6. Do not eat tiffin box, munch the snacks, drink, or smoke.
  7. Do not use laboratory’s fridge for cooling your water bottle or any other stuff.
  8. Wear appropriate shoes that will protect your legs in case of mishap.
  9. Avoid wearing loose outfits, dresses with frills or bell sleeves. Such dresses are more prone to accidents.
  10. Before initiating the experiment, disinfect the working bench top with liquid disinfectant like alcohol.
  11. Wipe your hands with alcohol.
  12. Sterilize your inoculating loop and other sterilization accessories by flame sterilization.
  13. Switch on the Bunsen burner only when it is in use and off it once its work is done.
  14. Keep alcohol at safe distance from Bunsen burner.
  15. Sterilize and autoclave all the required material.
  16. Do not speak while performing the experiment.
  17. Label your test tube or petriplates and write your name, aim of the experiment in short form and date.
  18. Do not use pipette via mouth.
  19. Use trays to carry the lab requirements and do not hold them in bare hands.
  20. Open the lid or cotton plug of any microbial culture in sterile condition and only inoculation purpose.
  21. In case if any accident, spills or injuries happens then report it to the lab assistant or teaching faculty immediately.
  22. You should be aware of fire extinguisher, emergency exit, availability of first aids etc.
  23. Before discarding any material, autoclave or disinfects them and throw it in biohazard bag.
  24. The sharp stuffs like needles or scalpel should be thrown separately and label it.

Various laboratories have various protocols set over the due course of time for safety purposes. These are created with a view to safeguard the student, the lab, and the experiments. Hence, it is the responsibility of every student who enters the lab to follow above rules and regulations.

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