Team:Austin UTexas LASA/Safety


When it comes to safety, LASA does not take short cuts

Safety is not something to disregard. Especially in a lab where one is surrounded by dangerous chemicals that need to be handled carefully. We at LASA understand the consequences of not following all safety regulations, so we make sure to avoid all accidents possible.

General Lab Attire

  • Gloves, lab coats, and pants are mandatory for protection from potential spills and to avoid contamination
  • Closed toe shoes are required to protect feet from spills and falling objects
  • Long hair tied back to prevent contamination and being caught on objects
  • Loose clothing and hanging jewelry are not permitted in the lab to prevent being caught on objects and contamination


  • All laboratory equipment is checked constantly to make sure it is fully functional
  • Detailed logs are kept of equipment checks and who uses the equipment for the purposes of repair in the future

Organization and Storage

  • Laboratory supplies are kept in an organized manner so supplies for experiments can be located in a safe manner
  • Organization spreadsheets updated so all materials are accounted for
  • Flammables such as ethanol are stored safely away from flames
  • Acids and bases are also kept separated to prevent hazards
  • Although not used in our experiments, the team knows how to store cryogenics and compressed cylinders as other members of the lab use these hazards
  • Personal items are kept in a separate location from the laboratory to prevent tripping and also to keep better organization of materials
  • All items are properly labeled with name, date, and/or concentration (if applicable)


  • All members in the lab are extensively trained in laboratory procedures
  • If members forget how to complete experiments, they have mandatory refreshers to make sure they are safe while completing the experiments
  • Always one experienced person working at the bench at a time

Lab Notebook

  • The notebook is used to keep all information about the whereabouts of objects known by all members

Chemical Safety

In order to ensure safe chemical usage in the lab, LASA puts extra effort into taking care of our chemical's needs, whatever they may be

  • First of all, we always pay attention to fire hazards by keeping combustibles at a minimum and only turning on gas or keeping an open flame when it is actively being used
  • While LASA has not specifically used them, flume hoods have been made available for us to be trained on
  • We always label our items. This way if they are misplaced we are able to find them still. It also helps nonLASA students identify our project parts
  • We also keep track of where we store things, in fact we have a refrigerator spreadsheet
  • Everyone knows how to access exits and where telephones are, in case of an uncontrollable chemical disaster
  • Each member of the team is trained on how to use a fire extinguisher, so in case the situation arises, we can use one.

Emergency Situations

  • All members know the contact to Environmental Health Services in case of an emergency
  • All members know where the exits and telephones are
  • All members know where the eyewashes and safety showers are located
  • All members can use a fire extinguisher in the case of an emergency

Biological Safety

  • As per the rules of iGEM, we stay away from all level three and four organisms, as they could cause serious harm to us
  • We also use mechanical pipettes not only to ensure better measurements but to increase control (2 for 1!)
  • We also get a two for one when we properly dispose of our pipette tips and beads: It keeps our lab clean and keeps bacteria under control
  • Wiping the work bench routinely with a disinfectant is also good for keeping bacteria under control and out of our experiment. It also keeps our bench clean
  • While this may seem like the most obvious, it is arguably one of the most important. No food or drink should be in the lab. If we need to eat a snack, there is a lounge just down the hall that we can go to and eat
Safe Project Design
  • E. coli being used for experiments are nonpathogenic
  • All dangerous chemicals are substituted with safer chemically equivalent compounds

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