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Lab Safety

Laboratory Safety is the joint responsibility of the students, faculty, staff, and the college. All students are required to sign a statement indicating that they have received, read, and understood the laboratory safety rules. Signing this document will also indicate that the student has received instruction about the MSDS sheets, NFPA codes and the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Hazard Communication Standard (1910.1200) "Right to Know" Laws.

The following are Protocols for Laboratories Held in Chemical and Biohazard Areas that must be abided by for the protection of faculty, staff and students:

  • No food, drinks and like substances that provide hand-to-mouth contact are allowed in any laboratory area.
  • No food or drink storage is allowed in technical refrigerators or freezers.
  • Refrigerators for food storage may be located in areas where eating or drinking are permitted.
  • Application of cosmetics in all laboratories is prohibited. Use of hand creams, however, is allowed and recommended for individuals performing frequent hand washing.
  • Hair should be secured back and off the shoulders to prevent contact with contaminated materials or surfaces, to prevent shedding of organisms in the work area and to keep out of moving equipment. Men with long beards should observe the same precautions provided for hair. Disposable covers are available for hair and beards.
  • Do not store personal belongings (coats, backpacks, boots and purses) in the laboratories. Lockers are provided to store belongings.
  • When working in all laboratories, long sleeved lab coats with a closable front should be worn. These gowns should be fluid resistant and disposable. These coats will be worn while in the lab and cannot be taken outside of the lab.
  • Other PPE (gloves, mask and respirators) may be required dependant on the task at hand and should be removed when exiting all laboratories.
  • Safety glasses or face shields must be worn or shields must be used when working with potentially hazardous materials that risk exposure by splashing or aerosol.
  • Latex or non-latex gloves must be worn when contact with hazardous materials is anticipated or when the task includes the use of sharps (needles, scalpels, broken glass).
  • Disposal of personal protective equipment (PPE’s) such as: gloves, masks or gowns, should be confined to regular trash UNLESS they are visibly contaminated with blood, body fluid or other potentially infectious material (OPIM).


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