Rules of the Laboratory

We wish to make the point that this laboratory is like no other you have as yet encountered at Griffith because of the nature of the biological material being studied, namely micro-organisms. Although many of the micro-organisms you will be handling are not pathogenic and are often normal flora in the human body, unusual circumstances may arise in which such organisms can establish an infection. For instance, a cut in the skin, or low resistance of the host due to a viral infection. In this sense all micro-organisms are potentially pathogenic and must be handled in accordance with some strict rules which are set out below. These rules must be adhered to, for the sake not only of yourself but of all others in the laboratory including our precious laboratory staff and demonstrators as well as all students.

There is another point to be made in this regard. The most common problem in bacteriological technique is contamination by an unknown, unwanted organism. This is why we must insist that the bacterial count in the laboratory be kept as low as possible. Special care must be taken when dealing with spore forming organisms such as Bacillus and Clostridium, since spores last a long time and are especially resistant to all kinds of chemical and physical agents. For the sake of the experiments also, then, we must carry out the proper procedures as listed below.

  1. Laboratory coats and covered footwear must be worn at all times in the laboratory.
  2. NO smoking, eating or drinking will be permitted in the laboratory.
  3. Hand disinfection facilities are provided in the laboratory. You are advised to use them not only when leaving the laboratory, but also during classes involving live cultures.
  4. Each students bench space must be wiped before and after the laboratory session with dilute sodium hypochlorite solution. Spills of stains or reagents must be wiped up immediately.
  5. Accidents of any kind, spilled strong acids/bases, cuts, burns, handling cultures e.g. breakages of tubes or spillages of cultures must be reported to the demonstrator immediately.
  6. There is mouthwash provided in case of swallowed organisms, use it immediately. All the cultures used are potentially pathogenic.
  7. Always practice aseptic techniques in handling and transferring cultures and media. No spilt liquid medium or solid agar is to be left on the bench or floor to grown unknown organisms.
  8. All cuts or open wounds must be covered with a bandage or bandaid during the laboratory session. This is particularly important with any injury to the hands.
  9. Properly label all materials to be used in the experiment. Label all petri dishes and test tubes to be incubated with the date, your name, experiment number and organism (if known) and place in the basket provided. Any unlabeled items will be discarded.
  10. Microscopes must always be returned to their proper storage case when not in use. Any damage or defect in the microscope should be reported to your demonstrator promptly.
  11. The equipment needed for the experiments will be found in your bench area. Be sure to inventory the equipment and take care in its use. No additional equipment will be provided.
  12. The following procedures must be followed for discarding unwanted material:

Convenor: Dr. Bharat Patel <>
HTML'd by Troy Baalham
[Created: 12 Sept 1995]
[Modified: 20 May 1995]