Content that belongs in Safety in Laboratories section (safety/lab)

Biohazardous Agent Reference Documents

The Biohazardous Agent Reference Document (BARD) is a guidance resource that reviews and summarizes the nature of a pathogen or biotoxin, and offers safety requirements for work with the agent in the laboratory. The document includes characteristics of the agent, laboratory and health hazards, precautions, containment and PPE requirements, spill and disinfection procedures, exposure procedures and required follow-up, and additional references.

General Laboratory Ventilation

Laboratory ventilation involves the use of supply and exhaust ventilation to control emissions, exposures, and chemical and biological hazards. A general lab ventilation system is designed to dilute and remove contaminants through general exhaust; provide make-up or replacement air, provide heating, cooling, and humidification; and provide local exhaust for specific activities. General ventilation does not eliminate exposure. Local exhaust is the preferred method for controlling exposures.

Laboratory Clearance

A laboratory clearance occurs when a space designated as a UVM lab undergoes one of the following:

  • Renovation,
  • Relocation,
  • Closing, or
  • A change in laboratory supervision.  

This includes equipment rooms, autoclave rooms, cold rooms, etc.

Prior to any construction, lab move, or renovation, hazardous materials and contamination MUST be removed from the area.  


High and Low Pressure and Temperature Systems

Working with hazardous materials at high and low pressures and temperatures comes with inherent risks and requires planning and special precautions. When experiments have both temperature and pressure extremes, both hazards must be managed simultaneously. Controls must be in place to safeguard from explosions and implosions, which may include appropriate equipment selection, careful planning, and use of safety shields. The proper selection of glassware that can withstand thermal expansion and contraction is imperative.

Water-cooled Equipment

It is common for labs to use water as a coolant in condensers and other equipment. There are two main risks of water-cooled equipment:

  1. flooding due to equipment or user malfunction,
  2. equipment failure leads to warming of reaction and possible explosion.

For that reason, please follow the guidelines below.

Local Exhaust & Containment Devices

Research labs typically have a chemical fume hood or a biosafety cabinet as the primary engineering control. However, there are an assortment of task-oriented engineering controls to choose from when deciding which control is safest for the task at hand. Below is a list of other options to consider.

Surplus Lab Equipment

Disposal of Surplus Laboratory Equipment 

Lab equipment must be properly decontaminated before leaving your lab

Lab Decommissioning

Our laboratory decommissioning/clearance procedures have been recently updated. Please click HERE to visit the new website.


Renovating Lab

Renovating A Lab and Installing New Equipment

New researchers and new research are continuously coming into UVM’s laboratories bringing cutting edge equipment, tools and techniques that often ha

Centrifuge Safety

Centrifuges present two potentially serious hazards:

  • Physical hazards: mechanical failure due to mechanical stress, metal fatigue, and corrosion of the rotor over time
  • Exposure hazards: aerosolization of biohazardous, chemical, or radioactive materials


The majority of all centrifuge accidents result from user error. To avoid injury, lab workers should follow the user's manual for the specific unit as well as the information on this page.

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