Chapter 6: Laboratory Training

Laboratory Training

Training is required for all laboratory workers (faculty, staff, students, and visiting scientists) at The University of Nevada, Reno. The exact training required for a particular person will depend on the hazards to which he or she is exposed. It is the responsibility of the Laboratory Supervisor to ensure that all personnel receive training that is appropriate for their job duties and exposure potential. A schedule of upcoming training classes provided by EH&S is available at the online EH&S training registration site.

Laboratory Safety Training

EH&S conducts laboratory safety training in a modular format that includes the following topics: chemical hygiene, hazardous waste, chemical spill response, laboratory ventilation, and biosafety. Because virtually every laboratory worker utilizes chemicals, the chemical hygiene, hazardous waste, chemical spill response, and laboratory ventilation topics are required for all laboratory workers. The biosafety training is designed for laboratory workers who work with biological agents.

General Biosafety Training

EH&S offers a general biosafety training class as part of laboratory safety training. The biosafety training lasts approximately one hour and covers regulatory requirements, the University Biosafety Program, general biosafety work procedures, and biohazardous waste disposal. University laboratory workers who work with biological agents are expected to attend this course. Workers must receive training prior to beginning laboratory work with biological agents. Currently, each individual is required to attend this general biosafety training once; however, completion of an online refresher course is required annually. Additionally, ongoing training is required as part of laboratory specific training requirements (see section below).

Bloodborne Pathogens Training

Laboratory workers who are exposed to human blood and body fluids, unfixed human tissue, or human cells are within the scope of the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard. It is the position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and OSHA that all cell lines of human origin are considered potentially infected with bloodborne pathogens, and that these materials be handled using a minimum of BSL-2 containment and procedures (see Chapter 9). Consequently, all people who work with human cell lines are required to be in the Bloodborne Pathogens Program (see University Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan) and complete annual Bloodborne Pathogens training.

HIV/HBV Laboratory Training

Personnel who work in research laboratories that culture, produce, or otherwise perform microbiological manipulation of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or hepatitis B virus (HBV) must receive additional training beyond the standard bloodborne pathogens training. Prior to working with HIV or HBV, laboratory workers must demonstrate proficiency in standard microbiological techniques, and in the practices and techniques specific to the laboratory. Additionally, workers must have prior experience in handling human pathogens before working with HIV or HBV. Personnel who do not have experience working with human pathogens must be trained in the laboratory before working with HIV or HBV. Initial training must not involve the use of infectious agents. Training and work activities should be progressive as proper techniques are demonstrated and workers are permitted to handle infectious agents only after demonstrating proficiency to the satisfaction of the Laboratory Supervisor. Although this specialized laboratory-specific training is the responsibility of the Laboratory Supervisor, the training should be coordinated with the Biosafety Officer to ensure proper documentation and recordkeeping.

Packaging and Shipping of Infectious Agents Training

Personnel who package and ship infectious agents such as microorganisms, blood samples, and clinical samples for pathological testing, are required by federal and international regulations to receive training every two years (see Chapter 15). EH&S offers this training periodically and upon request.

Laboratory Specific Training

Individual laboratories are required to develop specific training for the particular agents and procedures that will be used in that laboratory. This training should be specific to the hazards in the laboratory and to each person’s laboratory duties. Each person in the laboratory must understand the hazards associated with laboratory operations, how to prevent exposures to biological and chemical agents, and exposure evaluation procedures. This laboratory specific training should not duplicate the general biosafety training, but should supplement it. Training records must be maintained by each laboratory. The names and signatures of the instructor(s) and laboratory personnel, signature of the PI (if not the instructor), topic of training, and date that training was conducted, should be recorded on a documentation form and maintained by the laboratory. Ongoing training is required as new hazards and procedures are introduced into the laboratory. The occurrence of spills, spread of contamination, near misses, etc. also indicate the need for refresher training.

BSL-3 Training

All personnel who work in BSL-3 laboratories must receive training on BSL-3 practices and procedures that is specific for the BSL-3 laboratory in which they will work. This training must be documented as described above, with records maintained by the laboratory. Training topics should include:

  • BSL-3 biosafety principles and procedures (as specified by the most current versions of the BMBL and the NIH Guidelines).
  • Proper use of biological safety cabinets.
  • Personal protective equipment use (selection, donning, and doffing).
  • Decontamination and biohazardous waste management.
  • Agent inventory and facility security.

Incident response (spill response, personnel contamination, evacuation procedures, etc.).

Chemical Hygiene Training

Virtually every laboratory utilizes hazardous chemicals to some extent so all laboratory workers must attend laboratory safety training, which is described above

Radiation Safety and Laser Safety Training

Personnel that utilize radioisotopes or x-ray generating devices must attend radiation safety training. Likewise, personnel that operate Class 3B or 4 lasers must receive laser safety training. Contact Myung Chul Jo (784-4540), the University Radiation Safety Officer (EH&S), for information and scheduling.