Microbiology Laboratory Safety and Basic Procedures

2 February 2017

Safety in a microbiology laboratory is important in the prevention of infection that might be caused by the microorganisms being studied. This laboratory does not require the use of virulent human pathogens. However, many types of microorganisms are potentially pathogenic. This means that, although they would not cause disease in a normal healthy host, they might possibly do so if a large enough quantity of the microbes came into contact with a compromised host, such as by wounds and cuts. In addition to microorganisms, there are some chemicals used in this laboratory that are potentially harmful.

Many procedures involve glassware, open flames, and sharp objects that can cause damage if used improperly. The following precautions should be taken to avoid the problems that could potentially occur. 1. Lab coats are required. Wearing old clothing is also desirable, since many reagents can produce permanent stains on clothes. 2. Students may not wear sandals or open toed or canvas shoes because of the constant danger of cuts and infections from broken glass found on the lab floors and the possibility of chemical spills.

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. Long hair must be tied back to minimize fire hazard or contamination of experiments.

Smoking, eating, and drinking in the laboratory are absolutely prohibited. 5. Upon entering the laboratory, coats, books, and other paraphernalia should be placed in specified locations and never on bench tops (except for lab manual). 6. At the beginning and termination of each laboratory session, bench tops are to be wiped with a disinfectant solution. 7. Observe strict personal hygiene.

Wash your hands with soap at the start of the laboratory session before performing any procedures and before leaving the laboratory at the end of the session. 8. All cultures should be handled as being potentially pathogenic and the following precautions should be observed at all times: a. Cultures must always be carried in a test tube rack when moving around the laboratory. b. Cultures must be kept in a test tube rack on the bench tops when not in use. c. Broth cultures must never be pipetted by mouth.

Always use a suction aid (never use your mouth) when filling a pipette or use a pipetter with a biological or chemical reagent. d. Spilled cultures should be covered with paper towels and then saturated with disinfectant solution. Following 15 minutes of reaction time, the towels should be removed and disposed. 9. Spills, cuts and other accidents should be reported to the instructor. 10. Aerosols should be avoided by use of proper technique for flaming the inoculating loops and needles and by performing any mixing of cultures and reagents in such a way as to avoid splashing.

Removal of media, equipment, and cultures from the laboratory is prohibited unless directed. 12. During and at the end of each lab period, used pipettes should be discarded into the designated trays. Other used glassware should normally be placed into discard trays located in the back of the lab. Plastic ware such as Petri plates and pipetter tips should be discarded in the marked wastebasket. Used paper should be discarded into wastebaskets at the end of the lab period. Broken glassware is discarded into the box marked “Broken Glassware”, not into wastebaskets.

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