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SRIF Lab Policy

Since Life Sciences laboratories and equipment are shared by all the research groups and academic programs, special considerations must be taken in order for persons to have an equal opportunity to successfully and safely complete their research. All persons using the Life Sciences facilities must read and comply with the following policies regarding lab safety, equipment use, and lab etiquette.

Lab Safety

The safety of self and others is the personal responsibility of each and every lab user in the Life Sciences Labs. Users must constantly be aware of the hazards associated with the chemical and biological materials present throughout the lab and the instrument they are using.

A. All materials must be stored in viable, closed containers. These containers must be labeled with the original manufacturer's label, or a reasonable facsimile.

B. Each and every container used for materials must have the common compound name (no formulas or abbreviations) or the solution content and strength , the users' name, the date, and appropriate hazard information. This policy applies to all containers or glassware whether the material is hazardous or not (i.e. water, buffers, etc.) including solvent waste containers.

C. The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) must be read for all materials in use. All researchers must have a printed copy of the MSDS on file in the lab for all chemicals being used.

D. In all circumstances, the use of hazardous materials must be restricted to the exhaust hoods or biological safety cabinets. Users should be aware of the operating principles of the saftey hoods.

E. Certain materials pose a greater health hazard to people who have asthma or allergies. Notify all persons in the room of the hazards associated with any materials you are using.

F. The appropriate level of protective clothing and eyewear must be worn by all persons using hazardous materials.

G. Users must be aware of appropriate emergency procedures before they are needed . The location of telephones, fire extinguishers, eye-wash stations, showers, and spill clean-up stations must be known by all users. The location of emergency contact information must also be known by all users.

H. Hazardous material spills must be dealt with immediately and appropriately. This includes the proper cleanup of work spaces, glassware and equipment as well as the proper cleanup and disposal of consumables.

All hazardous material spills greater than 1 liter must be reported immediately to the GMU Chemical Hygiene Officer, the Campus Police, and the SRIF Lab Manager.

I. Electric shock, high temperature, moving parts or magnetic field hazards are associated with some analytical instruments. Users must be aware of the hazards associated with the specific instrument and exercise proper care in the its vicinity.

The bottom line: Know your instrument, know your materials, and know what to do in an emergency.

Equipment Use and Lab Etiquette

The laboratories and their equipment must be maintained in manner that allows for clean, safe use by all persons in the GMU science community or contracted agencies. Persons operating in a manner that jeopardizes the research and safety of others, or in a manner that damages or renders instruments or lab facilities unusable to others may have their lab privileges suspended or revoked.

A. A SRIF lab orientation session must be attended before lab privileges are granted.

B. Lab sign-up sheets are provided for each instrument on the SRIF bulletin boards.

  • You must be qualified to run an instrument before you can sign up for it. Obtain the lab manager's permission if you are unsure of your qualifications.
  • Sign up only for times when you will actually be using the instrument.
  • Notify the lab manager as soon as possible when you cannot make your sign-up times or if you will be late for your appointed times.
  • Respect the rights of others to use the instrument, and honor their reserved times on the instrument.
  • Conflicts in schedules and sign-up times are best resolved when all parties work in cooperation. Persons refusing to cooperate when asked to do so may have their lab priviledges suspended or revoked.
  • SRIF recognizes that large research projects using certain instruments are accomplished more efficiently when extended instrument time is available. By special arrangement, the lab manager may grant users extended sign-up time up to a two-week period. Additional one-week periods may be granted provided all of the following conditions are met: 1) The time period does not interfere with the research schedule of other users. 2) The user can demonstrate a compelling need for more instrument time consecutive to the original two-week period. 3) The user is willing to assist SRIF in teaching the use of the instrument to students who wish to begin projects with that instrument.

* In all cases, the lab supervisor has final say in instrument scheduling and usage.

B. Instrument Log Forms must be completed each day that an instrument is used. Instructions for these forms are found in the log notebooks for each instrument.

C. All instruments, counter tops, exhaust hoods, tool kits, and work spaces must be left in a clean and operable condition following the completion of work.

D: All data stored on computers must be backed up and deleted within 48 hours or it will be removed. In all circumstances, data on the computers is stored at the researchers own risk. SRIF will not be responsible for loss of data due to circumstances beyond our control.

E: For all guest researchers: your samples cannot be stored in the SRIF lab. Arrangements for storage and disposal of hazardous material must be made in advance prior to using the lab.

F. Notify the lab supervisor or the Assistant Director of Operations when maintenance or repairs are required for an instrument. e-mail Tom Huff

G. Lab glassware use is a privilege. Permission must be obtained in advance from the lab supervisor.

* All glassware in use must have a label with the contents name, the user's name and the date (see Safety section)

* Glassware must be cleaned properly immediately after use to avoid having solutions and compounds dry on the surface.

* Persons not cleaning their glassware immediately after use will no longer be permitted to use glassware. This rule is strictly enforced.