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Laboratory Clean Areas

Designate a laboratory Clean Area where eating and drinking are permitted.


Eating, drinking, food storage, application of cosmetics, and handling of contact lenses in research laboratories is permitted only in approved, posted Clean Areas.

Clean Areas are not permitted in rooms where aerosol transmissible pathogens are manipulated or rooms approved at biosafety level 2+ or 3.

Designate a Clean Area

When required by space considerations, Clean Areas may be designated within lab areas containing desks, writing tables, or food refrigerators.

The area must be:

  • Physically separated from any laboratory work area by at least one meter, or by a substantial physical barrier such as a solid bookcase or an acrylic shield
  • Approved by Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S)
  • Posted with a Clean Area sign
    • Print a Clean Area sign: (PDF)
  • Equipped with a waste receptacle for non-laboratory trash only

Freezers and refrigerators in labs

Prevent the ingestion of chemicals, biological agents and radioactive materials. Avoid storing food in refrigerators and freezers.

  • Print and post a clear warning sign on lab refrigerators and freezers to warn lab personnel: (PDF) (Word file)
  • Assign a responsible person to check periodically and make sure there's no food stored in these areas.

Protect Clean Areas from contamination

  • Remove gloves and wash your hands after working with hazardous materials and before working in a Clean Area. Do not rely on hand sanitizers to clean your hands.
  • Conduct routine laboratory surveys within and at the boundaries of Clean Areas to detect radioactive contamination.
If you have questions, contact an EH&S Research Assistance Program specialist.