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Wellesley College-BISC 209 Microbiology -Spring 2010


Laboratory safety is the responsibility of everyone working in the laboratory. The following laboratory rules are provided to help ensure your safety and the safety of others during the BISC 110 lab sessions. You should also be sure to read the Wellesley College Lab Safety Manual available at

1. There is NO eating, drinking, chewing gum or smoking permitted in the laboratory at anytime. Mouth pipeting is not allowed. Pencils, pens, or other materials should never be placed in your mouth. Keep your hands away from your face to prevent undesirable material being transferred to your face. Always wash your hands before leaving the laboratory.

2. To avoid possible contamination, coats should be hung on the hooks provided in the corridor outside the laboratory.

3. Unneeded books may be placed in the lockers outside the laboratory or stored in your book bag under the lab bench. This reduces clutter in the lab, reduces the chance that you will contaminate any of your belongings and it protects others against tripping over books or bags in the aisles.

4. Each laboratory is equipped with fire alarms, fire extinguishers, a fire blanket, a safety shower, an eyewash and a first aid kit. Your instructor will indicate the location of each during the first laboratory period.

5. If you have long hair, pin or tie it out of your face. Loose hair can contaminate an experiment or catch on fire when using open flame.

6. Should your hair or clothing catch on fire: DO NOT RUN. Shout for help and someone will give you the fire blanket. Wrap yourself in the blanket, then fall to the floor and roll slowly back and forth to put out the flames.

7. All accidents such as burns, cuts, eye contamination, spills, etc., should be reported to your instructor immediately. Open cuts should be covered with bandages or wear disposable gloves. Students who have suppressed immunity are urged to discuss your relevant medical history with your instructor, privately, before beginning this laboratory course.

8. Mix liquid cultures gently to avoid foaming and splashing, either of which may produce an aerosol of the bacterial culture.

9. If a culture is spilled, cover the area with towels and soak the towels with disinfectant. Notify your lab instructor immediately. Let the towels stand for half an hour. Place the contaminated materials in a container with disinfectant or in a plastic autoclave bag which can be sealed.

10. You must wear a protective lab coat or apron when in the lab. The lab coat or lab apron must be removed before you leave the lab, even if it is for a short time. Avoid wearing clothing with long, full sleeves to the laboratory. Open toed shoes are not permitted.

11. Decontaminate work surfaces at the beginning and end of each laboratory. Use the disinfectant provided in the laboratory. Every student must wash her hands, with disinfectant if necessary, before leaving the laboratory.

12. Transfer needles and loops are sterilized by heating the entire length of the wire to redness before and after using. Spattering is avoided by first holding the needle above the flame.

13. Gas burners must be turned down or off when not in use during the laboratory period. Be sure that gas burners are turned off at the end of the laboratory period.

14. Inoculated media placed in the incubator must be properly labeled (i.e. with your name, date, and the nature of the specimen), and put on the assigned shelf. Cultures are never to be taken from the laboratory.

915. Eyepiece, lenses and objectives, as well as the microscope stage, should be clean before and after use. Lenses of the microscope must be wiped off with lens paper only (NO PAPER TOWELS OR KIMWIPES). Return microscopes to lockers at the end of lab.

16. Chemical and Biological materials must be disposed of in the proper manner. Pay attention to “Clean-Up” instructions that indicate how each material should be discarded or stored. It is the responsibility of each student to follow these directions. When in doubt, double-check with your instructor.

17. Non-toxic paper products can be placed in the wastebaskets. Disposable glassware should be put in the large blue and white recycle containers at the front of the lab. Non-disposable glassware should be rinsed out and placed either on your bench to dry or in baskets by the sink at the front of the lab. Broken glass and Pasteur pipettes should be discarded in the red “sharps” container at the front of the lab. Wet trash, such as wet leaves, can be discarded in the small garbage pail lined with a plastic bag.

18. It is the responsibility of all Science Center personnel working in laboratories to know and to follow the provisions of the Chemical Hygiene Plan. The purpose of the Chemical Hygiene Plan is to describe proper practices, procedures, equipment and facilities for faculty, students, staff, and visitors in order to protect them from potential health hazards presented by chemicals used in the laboratory workplace, and to keep exposures below specified limits.

You may view the Chemical Hygiene Plan at the Science Center Lab Safety web site at


NIH Biosafety Levels: Link to the National Institute of Health's Biosafety Guidelines at

Biosafety Level Agents Practices________ Safety Equipment________ Facilities
BSL-1 These agents are not generally associated with disease in healthy people
  • Good microbiological practice
  • Hand washing
  • No eating, drinking, or gum chewing in the laboratory
  • Pipeting devices-mouth pipeting is prohibited
BSL-2 These agents are associated with human disease
  • Limited lab access
  • Most work may be performed on a bench top
  • Biohazard warning signs
  • "Sharps" precautions
  • Biosafety manual defining any needed waste decontamination or medical surveillance policies
  • Class I or II Biological Safety Cabinets (BSCs) or other physical containment devices
  • Lab coats, gloves, face protection, as needed
  • Open bench-top
  • sink for hand washing is required
  • Autoclave available
BSL-3 These agents:
  • Are associated with human disease and cause illness by spreading through the air (aerosol)
  • Cause diseases that may have serious or lethal consequences
BSL-2 practice plus
  • Controlled access
  • Decontamination of all waste
  • Decontamination of lab clothing before laundering
  • Class I or II Biological Safety Cabinets (BSCs) or other physical containment devices
  • Protective lab clothing, gloves, respiratory protection as needed
  • BSL-2 plus:
  • Physical separation from access corridors
  • Self-closing, double-door access
  • Exhaust air is not recirculated
  • Negative airflow into laboratory
  • Design includes back up/redundant systems
BSL-4 These agents:
  • Are associated with human disease and cause illness by spreading through the air (aerosol) or have an unknown cause of transmission
  • Cause diseases that are usually life-threatening
BSL-3 practices plus
  • Clothing change before entering
    Shower on exit
  • All material decontaminated on exit from facility
  • Class ll procedures conducted in Class III BSCs or Class I or II Biological Safety Cabinets (BSCs) or other physical containment devices
  • Protective lab clothing, gloves, respiratory protection as needed
BSL-3 plus
  • Separate building or isolated zone≤li>Dedicated supply and exhaust, vacuum, and decontamination systems
  • Design includes back-up/redundant systems
  • Other requirements outlined in NIH/CDC publication Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories

Links to Labs

Lab 1
Lab 2
Lab 3
Lab 4
Lab 5
Lab 6
Lab 7
Lab 8
Lab 9
Lab 10
Lab 12