Team:Wageningen UR/Safety Improvement Suggestions


Safety Improvement Suggestions

During participation in this year's iGEM competition, we summarized the experiences gotten from lab work and compiled some suggestions to improve biological safety in the iGEM lab.

To increase the safety awareness of iGEMers, it is necessary to give safety lectures to explain general safety issues, even including a first aid course. As teams come from different countries, putting official lectures on iGEM website is the alternatives. During the lecture, we recommend to include the methods of Process Hazards Analysis. This discussion is helpful for understand the hazard of processes and review them from raw materials to product. At each handling or processing step, 'what if' questions are formulated and answered, to evaluate the effects of component failures or procedural errors on the process. Attending safety lecture should be treated as a compulsory requirement before iGEMers start lab work.

it’s not only our own desire to work in safe environments, but also the moral responsibility not to endanger other people. Therefore, to submit the following items to lab instructors for approval before working in the lab is very important.
1) Experimental plans
2) List of credible hazards associated with the experiment and their consequences of hazards
3) Emergency strategy and mitigation of hazards
4) MSDS sheets of any chemicals used
5) Plan for waste disposal
6) Safety Checklist

The best way to remain safe when dealing with chemicals is to assume that any chemical we handle is dangerous. Put specific and accurate sticker on bottles to clarify the type of chemicals. The information should also include the proper place to work with them, e.g. which one should be handled in the fume hood.

To specify a system for identifying the hazards associated with materials, it is meaningful to include the National Fire Code from the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA).

Fig 1. National Fire Code in section 704