Laboratory safety

Safety instructions prior Lab work

Our top priority in the lab is protecting humans and the environment. Therefore, before we were able to start our work in the laboratory we received a safety and security briefing. This also included instructions about work in a bio-safety laboratory level 2 (BLS-2).

We learned about the proper handling of GM-organisms, chemical safety, correct waste disposal, and Personal Protective Equipment (e.g. goggles, lab coats, and gloves). Other vital aspects of our safety and security training included learning about the emergency exits, the eyewash stations, emergency safety showers, fire extinguisher use as well as the first aid kits.

The access was only permitted once undergoing, completing, and signing the safety briefing.

Waste management

Working with GMOs, hazardous, and harmful chemicals we had to dispose of our waste properly. For the appropriate waste disposal we used the University waste management service. We had to take care of disposing of the waste in corresponding containers, such as contaminated goods, toxic goods, halogen or halogen free liquids. Biological agent contaminated waste had to be disposed of in the BSL-1 trash, which was then autoclaved.

Project safety

Potential Hazards of GMOs

All of our work was performed in a Biosafty level 1 Laboratory (BSL-1). The German genetic engineering Law (Deutsches Gentechnikgesetz, Article 1 G 2121-60-1 of 20 June 1990 I 1080 (GenTG) is very strict. We worked in compliance with this, minimizing risks. Working with non-pathogenic organisms which are not known to cause disease in adult humans with functioning immune systems and have, in general, a minimal potential hazard to the people in the laboratory and the environment. The organisms we worked with were Escherichia coli DH5α, Escherichia coli BL21(DE3), Escherichia coli RIPL, Escherichia coli C43, Escherichia coli HB101, Synechocystis sp. PCC6803.

All waste contaminated with the modified microorganisms, was stored separately and sterilized by autoclaving before being disposed of.

Hazardous chemicals

In addition to the always worn lab coat and safety goggles, gloves must be worn when working with hazardous substances. Due to working with carcinogens, mutagens, acids, and corrosive chemicals we had to be aware of the hazards and danger of the chemicals in order to work in a safe manner, with the right safety precautions, for handling them.

Corona safety

Due to the Corona Pandemic, additional safety precautions had to be taken. There were safety measures and Corona guidelines introduced by the University of Hamburg, which we followed to protect ourselves and the people around us.

We had to always wear masks and a social distancing had to be followed. A limit on the number of the People in the Laboratory was put in place. In the beginning only three people, later five, were allowed to work at the same time. Regular Antigen tests were performed, and the working hours were documented.

Our weekly meetings were held online to minimize the personal contact and avoid spreading the virus.

Gentechnik Sicherheitsverordnung - GenTSV

© iGEM Hamburg 2021