Many of the microorganisms used in this course may be pathogenic for humans and animals. As a result, certain rules are necessary to avoid the possibility of infecting yourself or other people.Anyone who chooses to disregard these rules or exhibits carelessness that endangers others may be subject to immediate dismissal from the laboratory. If doubt arises as to the procedure involved in handling infectious material, consult your instructor.
In 1997, the American Society for Microbiology, through its Office of Education and Training, adopted the following on laboratory safety. Each point is considered essential for every introductory microbiology laboratory, regardless of its emphasis.
A student successfully completing basic microbiology will demonstrate the ability to explain and practice safe
1 Microbiological procedures, including
- reporting all spills and broken glassware to the instructor and receiving instructions for cleanup
- methods for aseptic transfer
- minimizing or containing the production of aerosols and describing the hazards associated with aerosols
- washing hands prior to and following laboratories and at any time contamination is suspected
- never eating or drinking in the laboratory
- using universal precautions (see inside front and end covers of this laboratory manual)
- disinfecting lab benches prior to and at the conclusion of each lab session
- identification and proper disposal of different types of waste i. never applying cosmetics,including contact lenses, or placing objects (fingers, pencils) in the mouth or touching the face
- reading and signing a laboratory safety agreement indicating that the student has read and understands the safety rules of the laboratory
- good lab practice, including returning materials to proper locations, proper care and handling of equipment, and keeping the bench top clear of extraneous materials
2. Protective procedures, including
- tying long hair back, wearing personal protective equipment (eye protection, coats, closed shoes; glasses may be preferred to contact lenses), and using such equipment in appropriate situations
- always using appropriate pipetting devices and understanding that mouth pipetting is forbidden
- locating and properly using emergency equipment (eye-wash stations, first-aid kits, fire extinguishers, chemical safety showers, telephones, and emergency numbers)
- reporting all injuries immediately to the instructor
- following proper steps in the event of an emergency
- train faculty and staff in proper waste stream management
- provide and maintain necessary safety equipment and information resources
- train faculty, staff, and students in the use of safety equipment and procedures
- train faculty and staff in the use of MSDS. The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) requires that all hazardous substances, including microorganisms, be labeled in a specific manner. In addition, there must be a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) available to accompany each hazardous substance. MSDS sheets are now supplied with every chemical sold by supply houses. The person in charge of the microbiology laboratory should ensure that adherence to this law is enforced.
All laboratory work can be done more effectively and efficiently if the subject matter is understood before coming to the laboratory. To accomplish this, read the experiment several times before the laboratory begins. Know how each exercise is to be done and what principle it is intended to convey. Also, read the appropriate sections in your textbook that pertain to the experiment being performed, this will save you much time and effort during the actual laboratory period.
All laboratory experiments will begin with a brief discussion by your instructor of what is to be done,
the location of the materials, and other important information. Feel free to ask questions if you do not understand the instructor or the principle involved.
Much of the work in the laboratory is designed to be carried out in groups or with a partner. This is to aid in coverage of subject matter, to save time and expense, and to encourage discussion of data and results. Many of the ASM’s recommended precautions are represented by the specific safety guidelines given inside the cover of this laboratory manual.