From: ILPI Support <info**At_Symbol_Here**ILPI.COM>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Lab Design
Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2018 10:30:42 -0400
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Message-ID: EA80A027-8ADF-4F95-AE53-47C311F2E6F0**At_Symbol_Here**

Miscellaneous random considerations in lab/building design/operation/flow off the top of my head:

Ice machine placement. Ideally in an alcove off a hallway with water supply line.

Minus 80 freezers - location and putting them on the building's generator line.

Electric infrastructure/upgradability.

Freight elevator big enough to handle seriously tall equipment.  And/or possibly a dumbwaiter for moving chemicals only.

NMR - magnetic shielding issues, location.

House supplied nitrogen lines; using boiloff from main tank or on a floor-by-floor basis off a gas pack. (Gas issues already addressed previously, too).

Placement of worker desks - NEVER in the lab, ideally adjacent to the lab, partitioned with safety glass.  Break room, electrical outlets, phone charging stations etc.

Keycard security/access. 

Windows on doors of labs; worker safety vs security.

Fume hoods should not be located near doorways/egress as a fire/explosion there could trap occupants (and doorway is bad location for airflow).

Fixed vs reconfigurable lab benches/fixtures.

Dry ice storage vs dry ice generators.

Wheelchair accessibility and ADA; emergency showers/eyewashes, doorway + aisle widths etc.

Broken glass and sharps policy, collection boxes, disposal.

Waste satellite accumulation areas. Container + labelling standardization.

Segregation of research space vs teaching space (myriad issues pro/con there).

Cooling water for reflux etc.  Recirculating chillers (requires space/electric), vs closed dual loop w/ building chilled water supply etc. See recent discussion on list.

Already touched on - venting for vacuum pumps and, in particular, glove boxes.

Barcoding, cradle-to-grave inventory system.

Stockroom location, access, hours, policies.

Solvent dispensing, bonding/grounding, drums, gravity (see recent thread in this forum),

Establish chain of command protocol for laboratory accidents, fires, incidents; who reports to who at time of incident, who reports to the Incident Commander of first responders - where, how? Need stakeholder meeting of PI's, dept chair, building maintenance, campus security, local fire/EMS.

First aid kit, AED, spill response kit locations/policy/maintenance. Emergency landline phone or intercom to Public Safety.

Mercury use policy/protocols. As well as ones for all those high risk and highly regulated chemicals.

High pressure reaction protocols.  Some building still have bomb rooms with blow-off roofs, concrete partitions etc.

Sounds silly but bicycle storage. Apparently, some believe that safety showers are bike stands. Students will ride bikes to lab and need a place to securely store them.

Perchlorates and fume hoods-always exciting.

Ventless fume hoods - ooooh, the controversy.

Safety shower privacy curtains (previously discussed here) and/or designed into accessible alcoves. Also activation alarms (local and/or remote).

And many more!

Rob Toreki

Safety Emporium - Lab & Safety Supplies featuring brand names
you know and trust.  Visit us at
esales**At_Symbol_Here**  or toll-free: (866) 326-5412
Fax: (856) 553-6154, PO Box 1003, Blackwood, NJ 08012

On Oct 29, 2018, at 9:33 AM, Mary Beth Mulcahy <mulcahy.marybeth**At_Symbol_Here**GMAIL.COM> wrote:

Thanks everyone, and Ralph I had never seen that publication so thanks for posting the link.

Support staff is definitely included in the stakeholders, I just happened to only mention the  audience that I would be talking to. Actually, the link Ralph posted does a nice job listing different stakeholders.

I thought there might be some more stories or there like the flooring example. If anyone thinks of others, I'll be listening. 

Kimi, do you keep the researchers involved in the design process after you have them fill it the form, or do you feel that one you are aware of the hazards that EH&S can shepherd the rest of the process through?

Mary Beth

On Fri, Oct 26, 2018, 9:09 AM Luis A Samaniego <l-samaniego**At_Symbol_Here**> wrote:

I would also add:

=B7         Rubber mats to prevent floor tile cracking when dispensing liquid nitrogen into dewars. Some researchers have a tendency to leave a dripping liquid nitrogen transfer hose nozzle touching the floor which creates floor cracks.

=B7         A snorkel exhaust system for researchers working with anesthetics during animal surgical procedures.

=B7         Ensure drench hoses do not get confused with eyewash stations as the water pressure and temperature differs .

All the best,



Luis Samaniego, CSP

Sr Laboratory Safety Specialist


Northwestern University

Research - Safety

303 East Chicago Avenue

Ward B-106, W223

Chicago, IL 60611






From: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU> On Behalf Of Brown, Kimberly Jean
Sent: Friday, October 26, 2018 5:33 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Lab Design


Mary Beth:


Your initial list covers many of the major issues I've seen.  Another thing to account for is the placement of and safety implications of free-standing and benchtop equipment that is expected to be in the space.  This is a factor when you have a definitive equipment list and are planning a space for a particular researcher, but also when you are designing a generic lab space for a specific research type with equipment that can be reasonably anticipated. 


Examples include:

  • Need for local exhaust for benchtop equipment such as furnaces, ovens, balances, vacuum pumps, flash chromatography, soldering stations, etc. 
  • Placement of chemical-storage cabinets and refrigerators (if they're near a door to the corridor, expect more odor complaints from neighbors)
  • Deciding whether chemical cabinets should be vented
  • Placement of liquid nitrogen tanks (these, as well as gas cylinders, are not always anticipated by designers or included in researcher equipment lists)
  • Need for Hazardous-gas or low-oxygen alarms
  • Amount and types of built-in chemical storage provided vs. designated locations for free-standing cabinets
  • Clearance around electrical panels (don't place the electrical panel in prime real estate for equipment and storage)


When we know who's going in the space we have them fill-out a survey of their lab's hazards early in the design process.  We can then communicate to the rest of the design team what impact these hazards may have on how the lab is built.  This helps to uncover some of the needs that may have otherwise slipped under the radar until it becomes too late or unnecessarily expensive to re-design.


Best of luck to you!



Kimi Brown

(Kimi Bush)

Sr. Lab Safety Specialist

Environmental Health and Radiation Safety

University of Pennsylvania

3160 Chestnut St., Suite 400

Philadelphia, PA 19104-6287

Office: 215-746-6549

Voice/cell/text:  215-651-0557 

fax: 215-898-0140



From: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU> on behalf of Mary Beth Mulcahy <mulcahy.marybeth**At_Symbol_Here**GMAIL.COM>
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Date: Thursday, October 25, 2018 at 6:04 PM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Lab Design



I am trying to put together an activity related to laboratory design that involves looking at the flow of personnel, waste, samples, and reagents in laboratories in a science building. In the activity, participants (scientists, engineers, and other users of the facility) are provided a laboratory layout and are then asked to discuss its strengths and weaknesses from security, safety, and practical work flow perspectives. It helps illustrate that the building/laboratory design can simplify work flow protocols and that architects actually need our input.

I'm looking for specific design issues you all have seen related to chemistry laboratories (I have a good bio lab layout already). For those of you who recently have done remodels or new builds, are there issues you were able to design out? Or, for those of you who haven't had that opportunity, do you have a dream list of what you would design out (e.g. the recent floor drain conversation on the listserve)? Are there shared equipment spaces that are perfectly or imperfectly located, or are there labs using particular materials that could be better isolated? 

A few topics I have skimmed from the listserve and elsewhere include:

1. Moving hazardous wastes from a top floor via an elevator

2. Materialreceiving and distribution

3. Conference room/admin offices/science office locations/break areas

4. Placement of safety showers/eye washes

5. Chemical storage


Any other ideas from the collective DCHAS brain would be greatly appreciated.


Mary Beth

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