Housekeeping, Labeling and Storage

4-1. Doors are closed while work is in progress.

Laboratory doors must be closed for proper access control, separation of the laboratory work area from public access hallway and for proper biosafety cabinet functionality.

4-2. Biosafety (BSL-2) door sign is posted at laboratory entrances.

A printable copy of the UVM biosafety level 2 door sign can be downloaded from and should be posted at all entrances to the laboratory.

4-3. Adequate handwashing facilities are available in the lab.

The National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control require that hand washing sinks be available in all laboratories where biological materials are used. If your laboratory does not contain a sink, please contact the Biosafety Coordinator at for assistance.

4-4. Clean lab coats are worn when working with biohazardous materials.

Disposable lab coats

  • Disposable lab coats should be disposed of as biohazardous waste if they come in contact with infectious or potentially infectious materials. or at the end of the workday.

All work areas (surfaces and equipment) must be decontaminated with an appropriate disinfectant when work is completed or at the end of every workday.

Non-Disposable (cotton) lab coats

  • Depending on use, cotton lab coats should be properly laundered at least every other week or more frequently .
  • Cotton lab coats should never be taken home for laundering.
  • If your laboratory does not have any means of safely laundering cotton lab coats (e.g. a uniform laundering service), contact the Biosafety Coordinator at for assistance.

4-5. Equipment and work surfaces are decontaminated upon completion of work.

All work areas (surfaces and equipment) must be decontaminated with an appropriate disinfectant when work is completed or at the end of every workday.

4-6. Lab chairs are covered in vinyl, not cloth or fabric.

Chairs used in laboratory work must be covered with a non-porous material that can be easily cleaned and decontaminated with appropriate disinfectant.

Contact the Biosafety Coordinator at for information regarding where to purchase these chairs.

4-7. Biohazard labels are posted on equipment used with biohazardous materials.

All equipment (e.g., freezers, centrifuges and biosafety cabinets) used with biohazardous materials must be labeled with a biohazard label (red or red/orange universal biohazard symbol with the words biohazard beneath it).

Contact the Biosafety Coordinator at for labels

1) Food or drinks are always absent from the lab.

-No food or drink is to be stored or consumed in the laboratory if hazardous chemicals or infectious agents are present.

-Environmental Safety recommends against marking off a portion of the laboratory as a ‘clean area', where food is allowed. A clean area should be separated from the laboratory space by walls and closed doors.

-Best practice: Wash your hands before leaving the lab and before consuming food and snacks.

2) All chemical containers and work surfaces are free of spilled residues and debris.

-This best practice can help prevent accidental exposure to hazardous chemicals. Contamination can occur easily and can sometimes be unseen.

3) Clutter is removed from work areas.

-Prevent unnecessary laboratory accidents by cleaning up clutter on a regular basis. A cluttered lab can often be the root cause of accidents and can make cleanup more costly.

-An uncluttered lab can aid in research productivity.


4) There are no visible trip or slip hazards in aisles.

-Roughly half of UVM's reported injuries involve a slip, trip or fall. These are often preventable injuries.

-To prevent slips and trips, full-coverage footwear should be considered based on the amount and type of walking and standing performed.

-Prevent slips and trips by eliminating any wet or oily floor surfaces and keeping floor clutter to a minimum.

-Extension cords should not be used on a permanent basis. If you are using an extension cord for long periods of time, consider submitting a Work Order to Physical Plant Department and having a permanent outlet installed in the area.

5) Plumbing drain traps are filled with water to prevent odors.

-When standing water evaporates from the U-shaped pipe (called a 'drain trap') under the sink, it allows sewer gases to enter occupied spaces.

-It is typically not easy to see standing water below a drain cover.

-If you use a sink regularly, the trap will stay full.

-If you have unused sinks like cup sinks or floor drains, where water is not run into them regularly, pour about a gallon of water down the drain to make sure there is enough water in the drain trap to prevent sewer gases from entering your lab.

6) Broken glass disposal boxes are in use and not over-filled.

-Broken laboratory glassware that is empty and not contaminated with hazardous materials should be placed in a sealed cardboard box for disposal. If necessary, you can order the large cardboard containers for broken glass from a laboratory supply vendor.

-When the box is full, close all sides and tape the lid securely closed with wide clear or duct tape (NOT ‘Scotch’-type tape from a desk dispenser). Label the box as Trash.

-Custodians will dispose of full and taped up broken glass boxes as trash if they are prepared properly and not excessively heavy. If your glass box is very heavy, please consider taking it on a cart to a trash dumpster or trash compactor yourself.

-If broken glassware is grossly contaminated with a hazardous material (so much that it is dripping), place it in a leak-proof container (such as inside two ziplock bags placed in a cardboard box) that will not be punctured or torn by the glass. Label the container with the appropriate hazard warning(s) and a laboratory waste tag. Enter the tag online at <>.

-If the broken glassware is contaminated with biologically hazardous material, place the sealed cardboard box in a red biowaste bag and dispose of through the UVM biowaste disposal system. See:

7) Shared spaces are kept clean, organized and labeled by users.

-Shared laboratory space, such as cold rooms, present special challenges to users.

-Clean up contamination and clutter as it occurs.

-Return chemicals to proper storage.

-Label all equipment with the Supervisor's name.

-Make sure there is a completely filled out Emergency Contact sticker on the outside of the door.

-DO NOT use cold rooms to store food or party supplies such as cakes, veggie platters, alcohol, flowers or any other food or non-lab items. Yes, each of these has been found in UVM cold rooms!