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

Classes of Biological Safety Cabinets

There are three classes of BSCs:

The Role of Biological Safety Cabinets in Research

Biological Safety Cabinets (BSCs), or biosafety cabinets, are primary containment devices utilized in laboratories for the handling of biohazardous agents. They are routinely used for a wide variety of applications, such as human and animal tissue culture, bacterial and viral work, transfection or infection of cells with recombinant DNA (rDNA), clinical sample manipulation, and animal care.

Guide for Supervisors

As a lab supervisor, you have a responsibility to maintain a safe and productive lab, and manage liability as an employer. The best way to do this is to participate fully in the UVM Lab Safety Plan and document your participation. There are four basic components of this participation: leadership, delegation, administration and follow-up. We have compiled a list of general guidelines to follow for each of these areas.


Building-Specific Safety Features

Laboratory buildings vary widely across campus. It is essential for laboratory faculty, staff and students to understand the unique safety features of the building in which they work in order to prepare for an unexpected emergency.  Features to become familiar with may include emergency equipment such as:

  • Location of fire alarm pull stations 
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Sprinklers
  • Eyewash, drench hose and/or emergency shower units


Fume Hood Operations

Fume Hood Operations

The chemical fume hood "tell-tale" indicates air is being drawn through the hood's sash opening at the proper speed.

Personal Listening Devices in the Laboratory


All lab workers should be as alert as possible to a potential unusual situation or emergency.  Therefore the following guidelines apply:

  • Personal listening devices that require the use of two earplugs are NOT recommended in the laboratory.


Building-Specific Safety Features

Laboratory buildings vary widely across our campus and it is important for laboratory staff to understand each building's unique features. Standardized features across all lab buildings include:

  • Fire alarm pull stations 
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Eyewash, drench hose and/or safety shower units


Chemical Spill Kit

The Chemical Spill Kit is distributed by Environmental Health and Safety and contains two absorbent gray pads, as well as nitrile gloves, Ziploc bags, waste tags and instructions for use. The kit must be kept full and in clear view at all times, and all laboratory workers must be trained in its proper use.

Emergency Contact Door Sign

Emergency contact numbers should be kept current and posted on the outside of the laboratory door. This is the only way emergency personnel and responders can contact the appropriate lab personnel if an incident occurs. Since emergencies often happen during off-hours, the numbers listed on the sign should be numbers where the person can be immediately reached.

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