Space, Equipment Utilization and Laboratory Safety

General Rules for Use of All Laboratories

All labs contain expensive and sensitive equipment. Safe practices are always expected in the laboratories. Students are expected to maintain their individual work spaces and common areas of the labs in a clean and orderly fashion. No food or beverages are to be taken into the labs at any time except in the kitchen area. 

Laboratories are available outside of class time; however use must be arranged through the Program Faculty or the Program Director/Department Chair.

General Safety

Students must not attempt to operate any equipment without first receiving formal instruction in its use. Any student with a pre-existing medical condition that would preclude him/her from participating in any laboratory scenario must notify the course director before the start of the course or as soon as s/he is aware that the medical condition exists and may impact his/her participation. Students must return equipment to the appropriate default settings after each use to avoid injury to self or others, or irreparable equipment damage.

Practice with electrical and mechanical equipment is allowed with appropriate access and supervision per the course master for the course in which the content is covered. Students must know and abide by all indications, contraindications, and precautions of any procedures they plan to practice. Guests are not permitted in the laboratory without prior approval. Access to any lab may be temporarily restricted to students during preparation for practical exams.

All mat tables and plinths and other equipment as appropriate, that come in direct contact with persons, will be wiped with an approved chemical germicide after each use. 

A minimum of two students must be present at all times during application of exercise or use of biomedical equipment. Specific emergency procedures will be posted in each lab. The student must be familiar with these procedures. Students must immediately report all accidents or injuries to a faculty member.

During laboratory practice, students are expected to simulate patient examination and intervention skills on each other. This frequently requires close contact. Students should wear clothing that permits maximum exposure of body regions being treated while maintaining appropriate modesty. Students are expected to wear appropriate lab clothing as requested by the instructor. Any exceptions to participation and appropriate lab wear must be discussed with the course instructor.

Standard Precautions

Standard precautions will be observed in all labs, except anatomy (see modified precautions below), to minimize the risk of transmission of disease. The precautions are:

Gloves must be worn before touching blood, body fluids, mucous membranes, non-intact skin.
Change gloves after contact with each patient.

  • Wash hands immediately after gloves are removed. Wash hands and other skin surfaces immediately if contaminated with blood or other body fluids.
  • Masks and protective eyewear or face shields must be worn for procedures likely to generate splashes of blood or body fluids.
  • Dispose of all sharp items (scalpel blades) in puncture-resistant container located near point of use.
  • Do not recap needles or sharps or otherwise manipulate by hand before disposal.
  • Mouthpieces or resuscitator bags are handled in accordance with local law.
  • Waste and soiled linen are handled in accordance with local law.
  • Blood spills should be cleaned up promptly with an approved chemical germicide or appropriately diluted sodium hypochlorite (bleach) solution.
  • Wash hands between touching various lab partners

Anatomy Laboratory Safety

The Anatomy Laboratory permits dissection of human cadavers. The College is required to adhere to all statutes regarding cadavers. 

Respect for the deceased and respect for their family’s wishes are to be considered at all times. The beliefs and sensitivities that some persons have about death, the dead, or dissection of dead human bodies are to be considered and respected at all times.

Students need to appreciate the privilege of being able to dissect a human body, and act accordingly at all times. 

Second and third year students must request permission from the Program Director/Department Chair or Lab Director to use the Anatomy Lab.

Cadavers, prosected sections, or models are not to be taken from the Anatomy Lab at any time. Students are not to draw on the models in any fashion or use writing utensils as pointers while working with the models. Students are responsible for purchasing a dissection kit and gloves in advance to be used in the lab. All models and prosections are available to all students for independent study outside of the time they are being used for class. For safety, outside visitors are not allowed in the lab.

NOTE : There is no known risk of transmission of HIV or hepatitis via embalmed cadavers. Precautions for embalmed specimens are as follows:

  • Examination gloves are required; plastic apron and eye protection (face shield or protective glasses) are strongly recommended.
  • Dispose of paper towels in ordinary waste baskets and place cadaver tissue scraps in specially marked waste container.
  • Dispose of needles and other sharp items (scalpel blades) in puncture-resistant container located near point-of-use.
  • Wash hands immediately after gloves are removed. Wash hands and other skin surfaces immediately if contaminated with embalming fluid.

NOTE: Students with contact lenses, asthma, and allergies and latex sensitivities may experience increased symptoms with exposure to the Anatomy Lab. Please report any difficulty you are experiencing to the course instructor. Pregnant students should notify the course director to obtain additional information.

Clinical Skills Laboratories

Shoes, belts, jewelry or other sharp objects must be removed prior to using the examination tables, mat tables and stools to avoid damage to the upholstery. Do not use an examination table or mat table as a writing surface or study desk. Always make table adjustments slowly and return the tables to the full down position after each use. Be sure the area under high-low tables is clear before lowering.