Safety and working practice in the labs

Table of contents:

Remember - you are personally responsible for finding out routines for how to work safely and in accordance with Swedish laws. You also have the responsibility to report any safety issues that come to you attention. Failure to do this can cause personal injury to you or your co-workers.


Before you start working in the lab, you first need to complete the lab safety tour by the person responsible for that in your lab.

In addition, you have to go through the web course in laboratory safety.

Lab Safety

  • You have to know the location of, and how to use:
    - Emergency exits
    - Fire extinguisher
    - Fire alarm
    - Reassembly point
    - Evacuation procedures
    - Emergency showers
    - Eye showers
    - First aid kit
    - Defibrillator
    - Chemical spill equipment and routines.
  • You are responsible for finding out the routines for how to work safely, for instance how to handle equipment, chemicals, GMO, radioactivity, contagious material (virus, bacteria or parasites in for instance blood, faeces, feathers). You are required to make a risk assessment for all new activities.
  • Working alone is not allowed if the task might pose any kind of risk. Not all laboratory tasks are allowed to do when you are alone in the lab, for example phenol-chloroform extractions.
  • In case of accidents or potentially dangerous situations, always inform the safety officer and the head of the department.
  • Do not eat or drink in any of the labs.
  • Do not wear lab coat and gloves in offices or lunchrooms.
  • Never use contaminated gloves when touching things that others might come in contact with. Change gloves often, especially if you work with hazardous chemicals.
  • Be aware of how chemicals can cause irritation and harm: Avoid wearing rings during lab work as they will trap chemicals as well as germs. Do not use contact lenses during lab work as they will absorb chemicals splashed in your eye preventing the eyes being properly rinsed.
  • Keep your work area tidy; less things in your work area will reduce the risk of accidents.

Risk assessments

You are required to make a risk assessment for all new activities.

All risk assessments should be available at the lab. Please ask your safety officer where they are stored in your lab/at your programme.

Safety equipment

The department is responsible for checking all emergency equipment in the labs. It is not taken care of by campus management.

  • Eye-showers must be checked at least once a month. It must be documented on the chart next to the shower.

Other practical information

  • Always mark boxes (for instance with samples), kits, reagents etc with your name, group name and date.
  • Save energy: for example, turn off the lights when leaving the lab, shut down equipment that does not need to be on, close the window to the fumehoods.
  • When leaving for the day, make sure the work area is clean.


We have a huge collection of samples stored in freezers and elsewhere. Make sure you mark everything with your name, your supervisors name, date and content. Always consult the lab coordinator where the best place for storage is.

Note that if we keep organisms of risk class 2, 3 or 4, we need to let Arbetsmiljöverket know. For more information, see Biosafety. There you can also find information about the joint permit for Uppsala University for import and usage of non-human pathogenic biological samples (each individual research group does not have to apply for permits from Jordbruksverket).


While the cleaning staff clean the floors and empty the black waste bins, we have to take care of everything else in the laboratory.

Note: If the cleaning staff sees something in the normal trash that should not be there, they will put a red tape on the bin and you have to take the trash out yourself.

When leaving

When leaving (or just stop working in the lab for a longer period of time), please make sure you take away things you no longer need – and see to it that things get new owners in case it might still be useful to someone.


If you leave samples behind, make sure they are marked properly and that someone is taking over the ownership of the samples. Everything should be marked with content, date and contact person.

Last modified: 2021-09-09