Process Steps


Safety and Regulations

Student and teacher safety is of paramount importance in the planning, design, specification, operation, and maintenance of laboratory and support spaces. The scope of this site does not allow for a comprehensive catalogue of lab safety considerations, regulations, procedures, and equipment. What is provided here, however, is an overview of safety in the science and tech ed labs and a list of links to web and other resources that address these issues in detail.

New and renovated facilities and the equipment installed in them will be subject to a variety of regulations to ensure lab users’ and building occupants' safety. The various regulatory agencies include, but are not limited to:


  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
  • Fire
  • Electrical
  • Unified Building Code
  • American Association for Laboratory Animal Care (AALAC)


  • School Building Requirements and Guidelines
  • Building Code
  • Fire


  • Local Building Code
  • Fire Marshal

Some of the building performance issues regulated include:

  • Space allocation per student
  • Clearances between fixed equipment and furnishings
  • Air quality and air exchange
  • Hazardous waste handling and disposal
  • Electricity
  • Fire rating of construction materials
  • Fire suppression systems
  • Chemical use

Selecting a project team (architects, engineers, lab designers, project manager / construction manager) that has worked on several projects of a similar type and size as the one your group is considering is the best insurance that all codes and regulations will be met.

As new facilities are occupied it becomes the responsibility of faculty and staff to ensure safe lab operation. Each faculty and staff member teaching or working in the lab must be trained in the safe, proper use of the facility, the equipment, and the materials used. Moreover, these people should be trained in the most effective ways of teaching students these safety principles and practices.

In lesson planning and experiment design, the teacher's role becomes central to promoting safe procedures and techniques. Development of experiments that promote efficient, safe material and tool handling, safe dispensing of materials, routine clean-up, the safe use of heat sources, and other basic routines are all essential to a safe lab environment and experience for students.

Beyond this individual responsibility, it is important for a faculty or staff member to be designated and trained as a facility safety coordinator available to colleagues for advice and recommendations when questions arise or new experiments are being developed. This person should also be charged with developing facility-wide safety procedures for day-to-day operations as well as for emergency situations, and periodic self-inspections. Often, these routines will need to be practiced by the teaching team so it will be adequately prepared to respond to emergencies. Procedures that require such routines include: chemical handling and solution preparation; chemical disposal; chemical spill response; student protection device standards e.g., when to wear eye, skin, hearing, and breathing protection apparel; and how to use power tools and other potentially dangerous apparatus. The goal is for safety practices to become second nature.

Web Safety Resources


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