Laboratory Practices


Access to biohazardous materials shall be limited to authorized personnel only. The control of biological hazards shall be maintained by securing and locking the laboratory when unattended by authorized personnel and during all off-hours. During transportation between laboratories, biohazardous materials must be properly packaged and must not be left unattended or unsecured.

In response to National Concerns and recent catastrophic events, the following information has recommendations for improving laboratory security. These actions should be taken for your safety and the security of sensitive areas on campus:

  • All areas of the University having electronic locking devices, of any type, should make whatever changes to their systems necessary to fully enable the system which results in access by such device at all times.
  • All areas where research is conducted utilizing hazardous material, radioactive material, biohazardous material, and other sensitive materials should have controlled access for authorized personnel only.

Laboratories using biohazardous materials must be kept secured at all times. Several federal, state, and consensus standards require that the laboratory doors and hazardous material areas have, at a minimum, limited access and require the areas be kept locked when no laboratory staff are present. Security recommendations also include having a routine intra-laboratory inventory mechanism for identifying missing biological, hazardous or radioactive material inventory. This requires an ongoing inventory be maintained.

Laboratories have also experienced thefts, many of which occurred because doors were left open and laboratories were unattended. Computers, wallets, and other personal items have been stolen. There has been “unauthorized sharing of supplies” from laboratories. There is also the potential for sabotage to ongoing research. Laboratory Principal Investigators or Supervisors need to take these steps in order to provide security against terrorism, larceny, and to remain in compliance with various regulations:

  1. All staff should wear university identification badges.
  2. Approach any visitors that appear to be wandering in laboratory areas and ask if you can help direct them.
  3. Lock all equipment (e.g. freezers, cabinets, incubators, and scintillation counters) that may contain biohazardous material and are located in hallways or areas outside of laboratories.
  4. Keep laboratory doors closed at all times (they also provide correct air flow and fire safety).
  5. Lock laboratory doors when no one is present.
  6. Post and keep current the “Emergency Notification Signage” on laboratory doors. Include name of responsible person, a second person knowledgeable with the laboratory, and a 24-hour contact number (MUPD).
  7. Take an inventory of all hazardous, biohazardous, and radioactive material. Track the use of this material and report any missing inventory to MUPD and Environmental Health & Safety