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May 2014


Harvard School of Public Health 677 Huntington Ave. Boston , Massachusetts 02115
Tel: (617) 432-2100
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Guidelines for Laboratory Design: Health and Safety Considerations


This program provides real-world insight into laboratory health and safety issues, ensuring that participants can effectively design a safe and sustainable laboratory. Through a multi-disciplinary, collaborative approach participants will be able to ensure that the completed laboratory will be safe, free of hazards, ergonomically sound, and environmentally friendly.

Who Should Participate:

Individuals involved in using, managing, maintaining, designing, or constructing new laboratories or renovating existing laboratory facilities, including:

  • Architects
  • Building planners and owners
  • College or university campus planners
  • Construction engineers
  • Environmental health and safety professionals
  • Industrial hygiene and safety professionals
  • Laboratory facility engineers and scientists
  • Laboratory managers and supervisors
  • Laboratory owners’ representatives
  • Project managers and engineers

Learning Objectives:

Architects will be able to:

  • Evaluate laboratory design options related to health and safety considerations in a cost-effective way
  • Apply appropriate design information for laboratory types used in industry, academia, and hospitals
  • Demonstrate familiarity with mechanical systems vital to state-of-the-art laboratory functions
  • Assess new trends in laboratory design
  • Decommission, decontaminate, renovate, and reconstruct old laboratories and laboratory buildings

Design and facility engineers will be able to:

  • Apply laboratory design information regarding heat loads from research equipment, ventilation requirements, optimum air flows, and contamination control through air pressure regulation
  • Identify recent developments in the design of HVAC systems for laboratories, including variable air volume (VAV) systems, high performance hoods, air exchange rates, and the application of energy conservation measures
  • Incorporate into practice important information about the design of hazardous waste-handling facilities, safety shower and eyewash stations, research support facilities such as machine and glassblowing shops, and fire protection systems

Occupational health and safety professionals will be able to:

  • Complete structures that are safe and free of health hazards by consulting with architects, contractors, owners, and users during design and construction
  • Identify design features that provide solutions for the unique health and safety hazards associated with laboratories used for different functions
  • Provide detailed specifications regarding laboratory support facilities for hazardous waste storage, packaging, and shipping
  • Identify the unique needs of specific types of laboratories such as biosafety, chemistry, microelectronics, and engineering





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