The laboratory (originally laboratory majority usually laboratories or laboratories, better laboratories, working from the Latin laborare =, suffer, struggle ) refers to a job especially in the field of natural sciences. In the laboratory, a variety of experiments, process controls, quality controls, tests and measurements (in particular calibrations ) performed and / or chemical materials are processed and manufactured chemical products ( eg chemistry lab ).

Laboratories can be found in chemistry, physics, biology, pharmacy and medicine, engineering and technology in the photo, even in experimental psychology and economics. A well-known example outside of the natural sciences is the " sleep lab ".

Spreads are also laboratories in industrial plants, where they are used, for example, the quality inspection of incoming materials, as well as review of the products manufactured and properties of product development.

The laboratory equipment is highly dependent on the type of institution and to accommodate the special requirements in terms of safety, cleanliness, availability of materials, tools and equipment account. In many different chemical and biochemical laboratory glassware ( round-bottom flask, distillation bridge, condenser, beakers, etc.) are required, which analyzes and syntheses can be performed. In addition, worked mainly within hoods ( left), in which gases or aerosols are aspirated during the reaction from the air, and which protect the workers in an accident from splinters or splashing liquids. Also safety cabinets are used in microbiological laboratories, which are kept sterile by suitable pumps and filtration systems to protect the worker and his experiments from the influence of microorganisms.

Due to the use of harmful and flammable substances may in chemical laboratories not eat, drink or smoke are also wearing appropriate protective clothing ( lab coat, suitable other clothing, goggles, gloves, sturdy shoes ) is required in the rule. Flammable or hazardous substances are stored in safety cabinets.

Laboratories in physics usually have connections for three-phase current, compressed air, as well as from normal drinking water network separate cooling water pipes. The room also features some mostly electronic instruments, often vacuum equipment and, depending on a special area of ​​work more devices belong. An important type of laboratory especially in solid-state physics is the clean room in which there by a special ventilation system, the wearing of protective clothing and avoiding certain activities a particularly clean, especially dust-free working environment.

In the engineering sciences as a laboratory not only appropriately equipped and used rooms designated, but also a class of courses at universities and colleges, where practical skills and dealing with specific devices, software or similar. to be trained in terms of exemplary tasks.

Lately find so-called pocket labs ( lab-on -a-chip system) increased application.

Concept of protection levels

For laboratories in which hazardous materials, working with biological agents or genetically modified organisms, is in Germany by different legal classification in four protection levels ( Ordinance on Hazardous Substances ) or risk groups ( Biological Agents ) and Biological protection levels (genetic engineering safety regulations ) prescribe what structural and organizational measures pulls itself. In Switzerland, similar rules apply

Protection levels according to the Hazardous Substances Ordinance ( Germany )

According to the Ordinance on Hazardous Substances hazardous substances used in the laboratory must be tested for their vulnerability. In addition to the classification of the hazardous properties are (ie, toxic, flammable, etc.) to take into account the frequency of use, the amounts and various physical properties such as the concentration in the air, distribution, etc., and working conditions.

Based on these data then, the grading:

  • Minimize the hazards by appropriate design features (eg, withdrawal ) and organizational (eg special workplace hygiene ) measures
  • All fabrics characterize
  • There shall be no food containers used for hazardous substances
  • Safe storage of hazardous materials
  • Measures of the Stage 1
  • Check substitution of dangerous substances
  • Prohibit eating, drinking and smoking
  • Separate work and personal clothing
  • Allow working alone only with appropriate protective measures
  • Level 2 measures
  • Use closed systems, if possible
  • Restrict access to laboratory workers
  • Store hazardous materials under lock and key
  • Measures of the level 3
  • Work area clearly marked
  • Take measures for the detection of substance release

Levels of security under the Genetic Engineering Act ( Germany )

The laboratories are divided into four Biological protection levels that result based on the degree of risk of the organisms used. It is additionally divided into security levels for laboratories and production areas. The higher level includes the security measures of all lower levels. The security levels are defined in the Genetic Engineering Act, the measures in genetic engineering safety regulations. The security levels correspond essentially to those of the biological substances.

  • Security Level 1: Genetic work in which according to the state of science does not assume a risk to human health and the environment (eg, well-known laboratory strains of Escherichia coli or organisms used in foods such as baker's yeast)
  • Security Level 2: Genetic work in which according to the state of science to start with a low risk to human health or the environment (eg, wild-type strains of Escherichia coli).
  • Security Level 3: Genetic work in which according to the state of the science of a moderate risk to human health or the environment is assumed (eg causative agent of tuberculosis, and bovine tuberculosis ).
  • Security Level 4: Genetic engineering operations, where according to the state of the science of a high risk or reasonable suspicion of such a risk to human health or the environment assumed (eg, Ebola virus, Marburg virus, or foot-and-mouth disease ).

The work must be carried out in an area that is approved for the highest risk that can occur (eg gene from one organism to the recipient organism level 3 and level 2: approved laboratory must be step 3). At the University of Marburg in Germany there is the only laboratory that is approved for the security level 4. Production areas of this step is not available currently.

Measures of the Stage 1

  • Workspace as GM niches work area with listing of approved security level marking.
  • Carry out work in confined spaces and of sufficient size. Each employee must be provided a sufficiently large workplace. In space, a sink must be available.
  • Surfaces in the work area must be easy to clean and resistant to labor and materials used in cleaning agents.
  • The doors shall be kept closed during the work, they should have a viewing window and into the hallway pitch (emergency exit ).
  • The mouth must not be pipetted.
  • Top equipment such as needles should be used only in exceptional cases.
  • There are no aerosols are formed. The exposure of genetically modified organisms must be minimized (eg through a safety cabinet ).
  • After work and before leaving the work area, the hands must be disinfected and washed.
  • Keep labs clean and store it at the working faces only the necessary equipment.
  • The identity and purity of the organisms used is, if necessary, be checked regularly. The time intervals are determined by the possible risk potential. They are kept safe.
  • Vermin is to destroy.
  • Injuries must be reported to the project manager.
  • In working areas must not be eaten, drunk, smoked, snorted or makeup; Food and cosmetics must not be stored in laboratories. The employees must do so in social spaces, which has set up the employer.
  • It must be worn protective clothing.
  • An autoclave must be on the premises.

Risk groups according to the Biological Agents Ordinance ( Germany )

The Biostoffverordnung divides biological agents into four risk groups ( § 3), this lead to protection levels. These essentially correspond to those of the Genetic Engineering Act. The classification is based on the risk of infection.

  • Risk Group 1: Biological agents, where it is unlikely that they cause disease in humans.
  • Risk Group 2: Biological agents that can cause human disease and may be a hazard to workers; a spread to the population is unlikely; effective prophylaxis or treatment is usually possible.
  • Risk group 3: Biological agents that can cause severe human disease and present a serious hazard to workers; the risk of spreading to the community, but there is usually effective prophylaxis or treatment available.
  • Risk group 4: Biological agents that can cause severe human disease and present a serious hazard to workers; the risk of spreading to the community is great under certain circumstances; there is usually no effective prophylaxis or treatment.

In organisms of risk group 1 the usual hygiene measures should be observed. At higher risk groups / protection levels following rules apply (higher levels of protection measures include the lower levels a ):

  • Protection level 2: limit the access to named employees, disinfection procedures specific to the organisms, control of potential vectors, such as rodents and insects is recommended that the surface of workbenches is waterproof and easy to clean, also is acid, lye and solvent resistance, and resistance to disinfectants recommended that the agents must be kept, the installation of windows or the like. for observation of people and animals in the laboratory is recommended that, if necessary, all work must be carried out in safety cabinets, an incinerator for laboratory animal body is recommended.
  • Protection level 3: physical separation of air- transmitted diseases, air must be filtered, it is recommended to make the workplace so that it can be hermetically separated for disinfection, vacuum in the laboratory in air- communicable diseases, consistent control of vectors, floors are covered with waterproof, easy undress to clean material, the surfaces have to acids, alkalis and solvents resistant and resistant to disinfectants, observation windows are required, it is recommended vorzuhalten for each laboratory own equipment, work must be carried out in safety cabinets, an easily accessible animal body incinerator must be present.
  • Protection Level 4: physical separation, filtration of incoming and outgoing air, accessible only by air lock, hermetic sealing for disinfection purposes, vacuum, blankets must meet the requirements for soils, storage of working materials under lock and own equipment in any laboratory binding works only in safety cabinets, rendering directly on site.