State the College Safety emergency phone number

Follow safety rules while in the laboratory

Locate equipment needed to safely work in the laboratory

Clean up after labs properly and thoroughly



Welcome to microbiology! Microorganisms are essential to life on earth. They provide many benefits to our planet and us. Nevertheless, they may cause disease in living organisms. Thus, the study of microbiology laboratory procedures is not without risks. These risks are minimized when you are aware of the rules of laboratory safety and make them a habit. If you regularly follow the rules, you should do well in the lab and enjoy the experience. It is a fascinating world you are about to enter!

Some individuals are at increased risk of infection. These include those with diabetes, undergoing chemotherapy, who are pregnant, taking immunosuppressive drugs (such as corticosteroids), who are HIV positive, and/or those with an autoimmune disease. If you have any reason to suspect you are at higher risk of infection than the average student, you should discuss the situation with your physician and/or your instructor. Perhaps you would be well advised to take the course at another time.


The following rules are basic laboratory safety procedures. READ AND FOLLOW THEM CAREFULLY ALWAYS. Anyone choosing to disregard these rules or who exhibits carelessness that endangers others risks immediate dismissal from the laboratory and withdrawal from the class.

1 Read the day’s exercise and complete the pre-assessment questions and the online quiz (if assigned by your instructor) before you come into lab to work. This preparation should enable you to work more efficiently and safely as you need not race through the work due to mistakes made because of lack of planning.

2. You may not bring anything into the microbiology lab.

  • Store personal belongings in the lockers outside the microbiology lab.
  • No electronic devices are allowed into the microbiology lab (cell phones, iPads, laptops, smart watches, Fit bits).
  • Use only college provided writing utensils in the microbiology lab.

3. Do not smoke, eat, drink, apply cosmetics or lip balm in the lab. At all times keep your hands and fingers away from your face (especially your eyes and mouth). Do not handle contact lenses. Do not put pens, pencils or the bow of your glasses in your mouth. Do not chew on your fingernails. These items could become contaminated.

4. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after entering the lab and before leaving the lab. Pay special attention to the area under the fingernails and under rings. Turn the faucet off with a clean paper towel. Discard the paper towels in the trash.

5. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be worn when working in the lab:

  • Long pants, no skin can be showing, so you may have to wear socks with your shoes. A skirt can be worn but it must fit close to the body and again no skin can be showing.
  • A closed, long-sleeved laboratory coat must be worn in the laboratory always and should be left in the lab between classes. If a culture is spilled, it is easier to disinfect the lab coat than your clothes. In addition, the lab coat should prevent permanent dyeing of your clothes with laboratory stains.
  • Disposable gloves must be worn while working with live microbes or potentially hazardous materials. Write your first initial and last name using a permanent marker on the gloves. Remove gloves by pulling them inside out and discard in the autoclave trash.
  • Safety glasses with side panels must be worn for normal laboratory procedures involving liquid cultures that do not generate a splash hazard (e.g., proper pipetting, streak plates, etc.). Use a face shield when performing procedures that may create a splash hazard (e.g., staining).
  • Closed-toe shoes that are solid, not made of cloth, not perforated (no ballet flats) must be worn in the lab.
  • Long hair should be fastened and dangling jewelry or loose hanging garments or sleeves should not be worn. They may contaminate cultures.

6. Disinfect your laboratory bench with disinfectant before and after laboratory work. Discard used paper towels into the regular trash receptacles.

7. If living material is spilled, spray disinfectant on a paper towel and use it to cover the involved area. Allow the disinfectant to remain on the contaminated area for a minimum of 15 minutes. Dispose of the paper towels in the autoclave trash. Notify your instructor of the accident so that proper procedures are followed.

8. Dispose of contaminated materials properly:

  • All contaminated glass slides or cover slips should be disposed of in the disinfectant basin.
  • All tape and stickers should be removed from contaminated glass test tubes and the tubes should be placed in the discard racks.
  • Contaminated Petri plates, swabs, etc. should be discarded into the autoclave trash.
  • Do not discard contaminated materials in the wastebasket. If you are uncertain how/where to dispose of materials, ask your instructor for clarification.

9. Always transport and keep cultures in a rack, do not lay test tubes down on the table. Do not walk through the lab with an open culture dish or tube or a loop or pipette containing infectious material. Do not under any circumstances carry a culture out of the lab.

10. Handle ALL microorganisms, whether classified as pathogen or not, with aseptic technique. Any microorganism can cause disease under the proper circumstances. Be certain that a contaminated inoculating wire or loop is properly sterilized after use. If a glass slide or test tube is broken, notify your instructor to dispose of it properly. Never throw glass in the trash or autoclave bags. Do not attempt to pick up any broken glass with your fingers. Cuts should be treated promptly. Open cuts must be protected (such as by a band aid or gloves) when working in the laboratory.

11. To avoid burns, be aware of the location of the Bacticinerator® which is used in almost every exercise. The fire extinguisher is located on the wall near the entry/exit door.

12. In the event of a chemical spill, move away from the area and notify your instructor immediately. A spill kit is located under the cabinet by the entry/exit door. If a chemical is on the skin or eyes, continuously flush with water for 5 minutes and rinse from clothing. Emergency eyewash and shower are located inside the laboratory next to the entry/exit door. Wear gloves when cleaning up potentially hazardous substances. Use water to flush the spill area if appropriate.

13. Return all reagents, cultures, glassware etc. to the location from where they came. Any dye or other reagents that are spilled should be cleaned up immediately. Bleach or acid‑alcohol works well to remove stain if it is utilized promptly after the spill occurs. (Do not use both bleach and acid‑alcohol together!).

14. General Clean Up Procedures:

  • Put everything back from where it came
  • Empty the table trash bin into the large trash receptacles by the doors
  • Put all stain bottles and reagents back into the correct containers
  • Distilled water bottles and disinfectant bottles must be refilled
  • Take all personal belongings from under the table and push in the chairs

15. Visitors, including children, are not allowed in the lab area at any time.

16. Exit doors are located at the back of the laboratory and are marked by lighted overhead “Exit” signs. The entry/exit door opens into the main hallway. The prep room exit door opens into the prep room and then into the main hallway.

17. The emergency telephone is located on the podium in the laboratory. The campus emergency telephone number is 480-784-0911. This phone is to be used for emergencies only.


For any on-campus emergency you should first call the Public Safety EMERGENCY number at 480-784-0911 (FROM A CAMPUS PHONE JUST DIAL 40911). Campus police officers will respond more quickly than municipal police.

In the event of a major campus emergency you may be directed to take specific action, including evacuation or locking down in place. Notification will come from your VoIP telephone, ALERTUS emergency beacons or other available methods. It is important that you follow the instructions provided in the notification. By considering what actions you would take in an emergency you are reducing your potential for becoming a victim. 




Photo of Dr. William Stewart Halsted

In 1889 American surgeon Dr. William Stewart Halsted came up with the idea for disposable gloves because of a request from Caroline Hampton, his surgical scrub nurse. Dr. Halsted was using a combination of carbolic acid and mercuric chloride as an antiseptic during his surgical procedures. Ms. Hampton complained that the chemicals were giving her a rash on her hands. Dr. Halsted reached out to the Goodyear Rubber Company with a design, and together they invented the world’s first pair of rubber gloves. Other staff and surgeons began wearing the gloves because of increased dexterity, not to prevent infections.


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Laboratory Exercises in Microbiology Copyright © 2022 by Anne Mason M.S. and Jill Raymond Ph.D. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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