ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences




  • food or drink should not be consumed in the laboratory.
  • food should not be left lying on benches or stored in laboratory refrigerators. Both represent a potential source of contamination.
  • smoking should never be allowed in the laboratory. Cigarettes, cigars or pipes represent a possible ignition source as well as a route of exposure for micro-organisms and toxins7.
  • the application of cosmetics should be prohibited except for the use of hand or barrier creams.
  • wear a long sleeved laboratory coat or gown with elasticized wrist bands. A coat should be buttoned at the front and a gown tied at the back. Fluid resistant material is recommended7
  • shoes should be rubber soled and cover the whole foot. Slip-on shoes are better than lace-ups because they can be removed more quickly in an emergency.
  • long hair should be secured to prevent contact with contaminated surfaces and to prevent shedding organisms or skin flakes into work areas. Beards represent a similar problem and should be covered.
  • hanging jewellery, that may become caught in equipment or touch contaminated surfaces, should be prohibited.


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