Laboratory Safety Manual





Please also note the Colleges' policies related to environmental health and safety found at:

I.                   INTRODUCTION

It is the intent of the faculty and administration in the Department of Nursing to provide a safe learning experience for all students.

The following policies and procedures are established to provide instructions in maintaining safety for students, staff and faculty while using the skills and computer laboratories (hereby referred to as "lab(s)" within the CSB/SJU Department of Nursing. These policies and procedures shall be adhered to by all concerned.

The Lab Coordinator along with the Nursing Department Safety Committee will update the contents of this manual every two years or more often as necessary. All students, staff, and faculty will be advised of these revisions. The CSB/SJU Director of Environmental Health and Safety (Ganard Orionzi) provides a valuable resource to the Lab Coordinator and is to be consulted as needed with issues related to the safety of the lab. Note that this document is consistent with the safety policies and procedures of the Colleges. The Lab Coordinator is responsible for enforcing the regulations set forth in this manual.


II.                GENERAL GUIDELINES 

  1. All faculty, staff, and students must know and practice the safety guidelines at all times while using the labs. Failure to adhere to general guidelines can result in disciplinary action. This manual will be available in the labs and electronically. Students will be instructed to review the contents upon admission to the clinical component of the curriculum and/or when utilizing the laboratory spaces.  
  2. The Lab Coordinator will schedule a yearly review for faculty and teaching assistants. Following the review, participants will be required to sign and date a form stating that they understand the policies and procedures of the nursing lab. Forms will be scanned and stored on the network under the Lab folder.
  3. All labs are locked unless occupied by faculty and/or students during class or practice. Campus Security (Dial 5000) must be notified if a break in or suspected break-in occurs.  
  4. Students are expected to come to lab prepared by having read the scheduled lab objectives and assignments prior to the start of the lab period, paying particular attention to skills that have the potential for harm to self or others.  
  5. Students will be instructed to practice and return demonstrate only those skills for which they have had prior instruction and gained familiarity with. Students should at all times practice safe and appropriate techniques while learning and practicing skills in the lab.   
  6. Students should be knowledgeable of the care, handling, and proper use of equipment prior to using it in the laboratory. 
  7. Students should report pregnancies, physical handicaps, recent injuries, illnesses, surgeries, or communicable disease to their instructors as soon as possible so that necessary precautions may be taken. A medical clearance from a physician as well as permission of the Lab Coordinator and course instructor(s) is required before students with aforementioned concerns will be allowed to utilize the laboratory spaces.



A.    Infection Control      

1.      All students shall practice proper hand washing technique while utilizing skills lab.

2.      Universal precautions should be followed at all times (Refer to Blood Borne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan, Section I) when there is exposure or potential exposure to blood or body fluids.

3.      The lab is a learning environment that is often intended to simulate a real clinical setting. As a result eating, drinking and smoking are not permitted.

4.      Gloves are to be worn by students and faculty during any contact with blood and body fluids. Gloves are utilized for practice and demonstration of skills. Gloves are utilized for personnel using harsh disinfectants to clean the lab. The Department of Nursing will provide sterile and non-sterile gloves for faculty and students.


B.     Physical Space

1.      Do not use the space for socializing

2.      Keep all doors and cabinets closed when not in use.

3.      Keep the work spaces, floors, beds and desk areas clean

4.      Report any misconduct occurring in the lab to security or faculty

5.      Laboratory doorways will be accessible at all times. Furniture will not be placed to obstruct the exits/entries.

6.      The lab will not be used as a health center for ill students, staff, or faculty.

7.      Unauthorized personnel are not allowed in the labs at any time. Injury to unauthorized personnel in the lab will not be considered the responsibility of College of St. Benedict/St. John's University.


C.     Medications and Fluids

1.      When breaking glass ampules for practice, students should protect their fingers by using a gauze covering or an alcohol wipe and should break the ampule in the opposite direction of their body.

2.      Placebos (candy pieces, commercially prepared PRACTI-med and water) will be used for simulation of oral/topical medications.  Old medicine bottles are labeled for use when simulating preparation of an actual medication order.

3.      IV fluids with expired dates may be used for practice and demonstration unless obviously contaminated.  These fluids are not for internal or actual use but for practice with manikins only.

4.      Bottles, containers or fluids mixed in the lab will be minimally labeled as follows: actual contents, date, and the initials of the preparer.


D.    Needle Safety

1.      The Lab Coordinator will annually review and document the needles and syringes the nursing department is using, why these devices were chosen, and the safety features of the devices. The Lab Coordinator will send this information to the Director of Environmental Health and Safety of the colleges.

2.      Used needles are to be disposed of the Sharps containers provided throughout the lab space.

3.      Needles provided for practice of injection are used at the skills laboratories only when the teaching assistants or faculty are present for assistance.

4.      Students must demonstrate safety precautions while utilizing needles during practice as instructed in class. 

5.      Students are to practice injections only on the manikins provided in the skills lab.

6.      Students are never to recap needles and must discard used needles in the sharps disposal container provided in the skills lab.

7.      Needles and other sharp objects must not be discarded in the trash or left out openly in the lab at any time.

8.      All drawers with needles should be locked at the end of Lab use and containers, bags or equipment with needles should also be secured.


E.     Electrical Safety

1.      Wet materials may not be used around electrical outlets or equipment.

2.      Faculty and students are responsible for reporting to the appropriate faculty/staff any frayed electrical cords, cracked plugs, missing outlet covers, etc., as well as any problems encountered while using electrical equipment.

3.      No electrical cords will be left in the pathway of walking traffic.  Extension cords will be properly taped to the floor if used over a walkway.

4.      Electric hospital beds in the skills lab will be inspected as needed for repairs.

5.      Electric beds shall be maintained in the lowest position.

6.      Only three-prong plugs that contain a ground wire should be used to power equipment in the skills labs.


F.      Ergonomics

1.      Students will be instructed in principles of body mechanics prior to practice and return demonstration of moving, lifting, and transferring skills.

2.      Students should use caution when practicing lifting skills and should not lift equipment, manikins, and other students who are too heavy without assistance.

3.      The equipment needed for body mechanics practice (bed, wheelchairs, stretcher, etc.) will be kept in good working condition.  Any faulty or broken equipment should be reported immediately to the Lab Coordinator.

4.      The wheels of all equipment (wheelchairs, stretchers and beds) are to be locked during practice and return demonstration.



A.    Any incident occurring in the skills, computer, or clinical labs during school hours must be reported immediately to the faculty or lab coordinator.

B.     For student or occupational exposures a "Student Accident Report Form" or an "Exposure Incident Report Form" (from the Environmental Health and Safety Page) must be filled out for the injury/incident.

C.     Protocol for a physical injury/occupational exposure (from the Environmental Health and Safety Page):

1. Immediately report the incident to the Lab Coordinator (primary contact) and/or faculty.

2. A faculty member will assess the student/staff and administer first aid as needed (per CSB/SJU policy).

3. The faculty/staff/student will be assisted to the Student Health Center, appropriate agency, or personal physician depending upon the nature of the injury.  Campus Security may be called to assist in transporting a student to a health care agency or call 911 depending on the severity of the injury.

4. The Department Chair and/or Lab Coordinator will follow up with the student within 3 working days.  A copy of the incident report and a written follow up report will be kept in the student's file.



A.    It is the responsibility of all those who use the lab for keeping equipment and the physical space clean, particularly students and faculty during and after use.

B.     Floors, counters, and furniture will be cleaned by appropriate personnel at the end of each semester and more frequently if needed.

C.     If faculty or teaching assistants notice that equipment is not functioning or malfunctioning, place a label on the equipment and notify the Lab Coordinator.

D.     Equipment located in the skills lab will be cleaned by teaching assistants as needed. The protocol for cleaning equipment is directed by the product manufacturer. Linen on beds will be changed and laundered when soiled, after extensive use, and at the end of each academic year.



A.      Potential infection wastes are collected, contained, stored, and disposed of according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines.

B.      Batteries used in skills lab equipment will be disposed of through the Hazardous Waste Office.

C.      Biohazard contaminated supplies used during competency labs are collected and stored in designated area of skills lab.  All biohazard waste will be picked up by a designated transporter.

D.      Biohazard contaminated supplies used during community promotion activities are collected in biohazard-labeled containers and transported to closest facility, to be stored in designated areas until transported by contracted biohazard company.

E.      Sharps disposal is handled by a professional disposal service. When Sharps containers are full the Environmental Health Safety Office and/or the Lab Coordinator should be notified.

F.      The Lab Coordinator will conduct a yearly evaluation of Sharps safety. The evaluation will examine clinical agency product and policy changes, as well as new Sharps-safety research and products. Student laboratory kits, laboratory supply and environmental upgrades/changes will be made accordingly.



A.    Fire

1.      Alert people in area to evacuate.

2.      Activate nearest fire alarm or call 5000 (Notify campus security).

3.      Close doors to confine fire.

4.      Evacuate to safe area or exit building through stairwell-Do not use elevator.

5.      Provide emergency personnel with any pertinent information.  Students and faculty should become familiar with the location of the nearest fire extinguishers and pull boxes for fire alarm.  Building diagrams that indicate fire escape routes and locations of fire escapes are located in each laboratory and by fire extinguishers.


B.     Other Emergencies

Contact Campus Security (5000) and/or refer to the Emergency Response Procedures at the web link and found on the back of all doors in the Department of Nursing for other emergencies including: Alcohol poisoning, assault, bomb threats, chemical spill, criminal activity, fire, suspicious person, shelter in place, medical emergency, severe weather, mental health, utility failure and weapons.

References: Please refer to the Environment Health and Safety Policies web page and the Emergency Response Procedures. The Emergency Response Procedures are attached to most doorways in the department and can be found on the shared lab O:/ drive.

Updated November 2012.