What training is required to work in a laboratory?

George Mason University laboratory personnel, students, support services staff, and visitors entering laboratories or laboratory support rooms are required to receive safety training commensurate with their level of participation in laboratory activities and the duties they are to perform.

  • Laboratory Safety Orientation training is required and must be renewed annually (by way of Laboratory Safety Refresher) for anyone working in a laboratory, including BSL-2 laboratories.
  • Biological Safety for BSL-2 Laboratories training is required and must be renewed annually (by way of BSL-2 Biosafety Refresher) for all individuals conducting laboratory work in BSL-2 laboratories. This class also fulfills the annual Bloodborne Pathogens training requirement.
  • Animal & Vivarium Safety training is required for individuals working with animals, and must be renewed every three years.
  • Radiation Safety Fundamentals and Radiation Safety Program Hands-On training is required and must be renewed annually for individuals working with Radioactive Materials.

Training is offered monthly at both the Science & Technology and Fairfax campuses. For a complete list of training and to register, click here.

How do I order a lab coat?

Requests for lab coats are handled by your department. To order a lab coat, contact the lab coat liaison for your department. If you do not know your lab coat liaison, contact EHS and provide your supervisor’s name and laboratory location.

Lab coats are required for BSL-1 and BSL-2 research laboratories and for instructional laboratories operating at BSL-2. Lab coats are recommended for instructional laboratories operating at BSL-1. Lab coats should cover the entire upper body, extend to the knees, and fit comfortably without hanging too loosely from the arms. Lab coats are laundered by an outside contractor on a routine basis. Lab coats should not be laundered by laboratory personnel.

How do I order waste supplies?

To order chemical, biological, or radiological waste supplies, contact EHS and provide a brief description of the container or supply you are ordering. Please give information regarding the material, color, capacity, and anything specific about the item. Also provide your name, building, laboratory room number, and a telephone number where you can be reached for supply drop-off.

When does EHS pick up hazardous waste?

EHS conducts routine inspections of all Satellite Accumulation Areas. Pickups occur once a week, however, more frequent pickups can be scheduled in situations where laboratories will generate a high volume of waste in a short period of time. To schedule a waste pickup, contact EHS.

What do I need to consider when receiving a package that contains chemicals or biological materials?

  • Inspect the package for signs of damage including leaks, broken outer packaging, or a strange odor.
  • If the package is damaged or leaking, do not accept it.
  • In the event the transporter does not accept the package, move the package to a fume hood and contact EHS.
  • If the package is in good condition, take it to the appropriate laboratory.
  • If the package includes potentially-infectious materials, open the package inside a biosafety cabinet.
  • Dry ice from these packages should be placed in a chemical fume hood to sublime. Never place dry ice into a laboratory sink as it may cause pipes to rupture.

How do I ship chemicals, biological materials, or radioactive materials?

Laboratory personnel must ship all chemical and radioactive materials through EHS. Biological materials and dry ice are also shipped by EHS. If laboratory personnel frequently ship biological materials or dry ice, they may be trained to ship these materials. This decision is made on a case-by-case basis by EHS.

Personnel who wish to ship materials through EHS must contact EHS at least two working days prior to the desired shipping date.

When requesting that EHS ship laboratory materials, laboratory personnel must provide:

  • Itemized list of contents of the package that includes the complete name, volume/weight, and physical state.
  • An appropriate shipping container that meets UN packaging requirements. (This can be purchased through EHS if the department does not have the appropriate containers and the shipment is urgent).
  • Dry ice (if required) and the weight of the dry ice to be included in the package.
  • Package dimension(length, width, height, and weight).
  • Insurance for the package (if any).
  • Sender address and contact information.
  • Recipient name and address, including telephone number.
  • Payment information (fund code or org number to be used to conduct a journal voucher).

On the day of shipment, bring the package to EHS before 12:00 pm.

Who removes broken glassware boxes from laboratory spaces?

Housekeeping removes broken glassware boxes from laboratories. However, housekeeping will not remove overfilled boxes or boxes that are dangerous to handle (i.e., shards of glass sticking out of the sides or glass protruding from the opening). Prepare your broken glass as follows in order to ensure housekeeping pick up:

  • Construct broken glass box, line with plastic bag, and place the cover on top.
  • Do not overfill broken glassware boxes.
  • Close the box when it is 75% full.
  • Label the box as trash to assist housekeeping in identifying boxes that are ready for pickup.

If housekeeping does not remove broken glassware boxes, laboratory personnel can transport the box to a dumpster for disposal. Additional broken glassware boxes can be obtained from EHS.

What kind of gloves should I purchase for my laboratory?

The type of gloves appropriate for a laboratory activity depends on the type of chemical and the breakthrough times can be affected by a variety of characteristics including but not limited to:

  • Thickness of glove material.
  • Concentration of the chemical worked with.
  • Amount of chemical the glove comes in contact with.
  • Length of time which the glove is exposed to the chemical.
  • Temperature at which the work is done.
  • Possibility of abrasion or puncture.
  • The chemicals and other materials to be used.

Consult the Glove Selection Chart in Appendix C of the Laboratory Safety Manual to select the best type of gloves for your activity. If you have additional questions, contact EHS.

How often does the biosafety cabinet in my laboratory need to be certified?

  • Annually
  • After relocation

EHS coordinates the certification and you will be notified to ensure it does not interfere with your schedule.

What training do I need to work in a laboratory that has biological materials?

  • Biological Safety for BSL-2 Laboratories, One-Time*
  • Laboratory Safety Orientation, One-Time
  • BSL-2 Biosafety Refresher, Annually thereafter*

* Biological Safety for BSL-2 Laboratories and BSL-2 Biosafety Refresher fulfill a BSL-2 laboratory worker’s annual Bloodborne Pathogens training requirement.

For more information or to register for training, click here.