Do's & Don'ts in the Hale Lab
(a.k.a, how to make your life and those of others more enjoyable and productive in the laboratory)
If you have more to add, don't hesitate to send them to me!
- Take a few minutes to clean up after you have worked in the lab. As in the wild, leave no trace.
bottles must be labeled with at least: initials, contents, and date
(w/year). This is a protocol followed by all functional and
productive laboratories. Unlabeled bottles, including media, will
- If a biohazard bag is full, seal it and place in an autoclave bin. Place new bag on rack.
- Be sure to close the preproom door tightly when leaving.
- Do not mix glassware with plastic products in the autoclave bins. The plastic melts and encircles the glass.
- Always spray the hood surface with 70% alcohol before and after use.
adding more materials to the autoclave-bound cart, don't just throw
your stuff on the cart. There are autoclave bins on the cart.
Place your items in an appropriate bin (see note above). Someone
will have to do this; why not you?
- Wash your hands before leaving the lab.
- Don't make loads of broth and then not use it. Make what you need for the near future.
- Prepared petri plates are fine at room temperature for a good while. Refrigeration leads to condensation problems.
- Do not use the PC while wearing gloves.
- All contaminated materials must be set in the autoclave bins next to the laminar flow hood.
- If you move equipment or supplies, be sure to return them to their original location before you leave.
- When playing music in the lab, close the door to the hall. Sound carries.
- After using the PC, close the applications when finished.
- The PC next to the plate reader is to be used only for plate reader work.
- If you open a window to the outside, close it before leaving.
- Label your tip boxes and return them to your lab bench after use.
- Contaminated broth has been on the rise in the lab; use care when extracting broth with pipets.
- Remove tubes from the shaker and plates from the incubator when no longer needed.
- If using the gel documentation system, always check to be sure you turned off the UV transilluminator.
- When using the bunsen burner at the hood, double check to make sure you turned it off.
- If working beyond midnight, have ABH contact Security.
- If you're having a bad day, it's best to stay out of the lab.
- Don't place heavy items (e.g., textbooks) on preproom shelves. Better safe than sorry.
- Keep a thorough notebook...and don't forget to maintain a useful table of contents.
- Be pleasant and supportive; everyone has a lot to do...not just you.
- If you don't know how to use a piece of equipment, ask someone who does. Don't experiment.
- Label your pens and return them to your lab bench.
- Don't fill your notebook with loads of printouts. If you have a lot, set up a folder and note the location in both.
- After pouring plates, immediately rinse empty bottle with warm water. Otherwise a thin film remains after washing.
- If an item (e.g., tubes, tips, media) is getting low, write it on the board and include your initials and the date.
- Do not remove or use anything from another person's lab bench/shelf without their permission.
- If media or agarose overflows in the microwave, clean it up while it is still in liquid form.
- When using the small autoclave, be sure the reservoir is between hi & lo, and the top is fully closed before tightening.
- Empty tip boxes should be placed behind the small autoclave.
- Pitch in in keeping the lab clean; your help will be appreciated and the lab's productivity will be enhanced.
working with liquid nitrogen stocks, place cryovials in -20
freeze-racks (bottom level of freezer) while using. Return to liquid
nitrogen promptly after use.
- Always turn off the large spectrophotometer after use.
- If using the microscopes or colony-counter at the back table, don't forget to return the cover after use.
supplies and reagents should not leave our lab for use by others or for
your courses; each lab and course has its own budget.
tall chair belongs at the laminar flow hood. If you move it to
work in the hood, be sure to return it to its proper place when you're
finished. It should not be left where it blocks use of the back
table or the autoclave.
- Spray down surfaces used for microbial work.
- If you need a peaceful moment, go into the preproom, close the door, turn off the lights, and enjoy the stars above.
- After using the analytical balance, clean up dropped media particles around the balance.
- Autoclave tape has a cryptic nature. After tearing off a peace, fold over the end so the end can be found.
- Don't forget to re-plug the portable pipet-aid in the preproom after use.
glassware is available above the analytical balance. After use,
clean and place on drain rack in the preproom. When dry, place
back on the shelf where you got it.
microwaving media, never use glassware with a top. Use a beaker
much larger than the prepared volume AND cover with a watch glass,
which you can find on the shelf above the microwave. Always watch
the microwaving; media with agar loves to boil out of the beaker.
If so, clean up (carefully).
have two step stools in the lab, one in the preproom and one under the
colony counter table. If you use one, return it to its proper
place before you leave, otherwise it is a hazard.