Team:ETH Zurich/lab/safety

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== Safety Training ==
== Safety Training ==
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As part of our institution guidelines, it is mandatory for every student to take the Safety Course organized by the department's Safety Committee. The course is held by Mr. Niels Buerckert, biosafety officer at D-BSSE. In addition, all team members received the standard lab training from our supervisors.  
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As part of our institution's guidelines, it is mandatory for every student to take the Safety Course organized by the department's Safety Committee. The course is held by Mr. Niels Buerckert, the biosafety officer at D-BSSE. In addition, all team members received the standard lab training from our supervisors.  
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The topics taught ranged from personal protection such as appropriate clothing when working in the lab which includes wearing a lab coat, gloves, goggles, no contact lenses, long trousers and appropriate shoes to general lab rules like no food and drinks (also no storage in lab fridges) and no smoking. Further topics included maintenance of a clean workspace, correct labeling and storage of chemicals and biological substances, and instructions on transportation of chemicals and solvents in the building (not passenger elevator but freight elevator and usage of correct chemical container in a bucket).
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The topics taught ranged from personal protection such as appropriate clothing (see Figure 2) when working in the lab, which includes wearing a lab coat, gloves (see Figure 3), goggles (see Figure 1), no contact lenses, long trousers and appropriate shoes, to general lab rules like no food and drinks (also no storage in lab fridges) and no smoking. Further topics included maintenance of a clean workspace, correct labeling and storage of chemicals and biological substances, and instructions on transportation of chemicals and solvents in the building (not in the passenger elevator but in the freight elevator and the usage of correct chemical container in a bucket).
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[[File:ETH2014_Safetyglasses.jpg|300px|left|thumb| '''Figure 1''' Safety eyewear]][[File:ETH2014_Safetyclothes.jpg|262px|left|thumb| '''Figure 2''' Appropriate clothing]]
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We were instructed to take extra measures when working with flammable substances (especially ethanol) and people with long hair were instructed to tie their hair back when working with a flame. We also received detailed instructions on handling substances like acids, bases, methanol, ethydium bromide, ethers, ethanol and the use of safety tools such as eye shower and fume hood were introduced.  
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We were also instructed to take extra measures when working with flammable substances (especially ethanol) and people with long hair were instructed to tie their hair back when working with a flame. We also received detailed instructions on handling substances with known dangers such as acids, bases, methanol, ethidium bromide, ethers, or ethanol, and the use of safety tools such as eye shower and fume hoods were introduced.
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Furthermore we have been instructed how to react in case of emergency such as fire or accident. We discussed different scenarios and correct behavior. Important phone numbers and contact persons have been introduced. We learnt how to treat people with minor injuries such as cuts or burns. The importance of seeing a physician after an incident was emphasized.
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Furthermore we were instructed how to react in case of emergencies such as fire or accidents. We discussed different scenarios and correct behavior. Important phone numbers and contact persons were introduced. We learnt how to treat people with minor injuries such as cuts or burns. The importance of seeing a physician after an incident was emphasized.
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You can find out more about ETH safety guidelines in this [[Media:ETH_Zurich_safety_manual_en.pdf‎|file]].
You can find out more about ETH safety guidelines in this [[Media:ETH_Zurich_safety_manual_en.pdf‎|file]].
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[[File:ETH_Zurich_2014_Glassesandgloves.jpg|600px|center|thumb|'''Figure 3''' Safety equipment]]
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== Risks of our project ==
== Risks of our project ==
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=== Risks to the safety and health of team members, or other people working in the lab ===
=== Risks to the safety and health of team members, or other people working in the lab ===
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According to the  WHO bio-safety manuscript, the organisms used by our team belong to the category of Risk Level 1. In this level, these organisms are defined as unlikely to cause human or animal disease.  
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According to the  WHO bio-safety manuscript and the applicable national rules, the organisms used by our team belong to the category of Risk Level 1. Organisms of this level are considered as unlikely to cause human or animal disease.  
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Since all strains used and all those, which are intended to be used in the future, are harmless in terms of pathogenicity and toxicity these organisms or biological parts do not raise major safety concerns. The work in the wet-lab is carried out in a S1 laboratory with conventional safety standards. Regular safety precautions such as wearing gloves, glasses and a lab coat to protect us are implemented. No bacteria are released into the environment and all material contaminated with bacteria is autoclaved at 120 degrees Celsius. All chemicals used for the project are collected and disposed separately.
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Since all strains used and all those which are intended to be used in the future are harmless in terms of pathogenicity and toxicity, these organisms or biological parts do not raise major safety concerns. The work in the wet-lab is carried out in a S1 laboratory with conventional safety standards. Regular safety precautions such as wearing gloves, glasses and a lab coat to protect us are implemented. No bacteria are released into the environment and all material contaminated with bacteria was autoclaved at 120 degrees Celsius and 1 bar overpressure. All chemicals used for the project were collected and disposed separately.
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=== Risks to the safety and health of the general public and the environment ===
=== Risks to the safety and health of the general public and the environment ===
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The experiments conducted and the system we are working with have no direct contact with the environment outside the laboratory and therefore our project provides no remarkable risk to the general public. Since all team members are following Good Laboratory Practices (GLP), we are working on a good basis to prevent the unintended release and spread of bacterial cultures. Additionally, the strains used for the experiments are not expected to survive under environmental conditions outside the laboratory.
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All experiments involving live bacteria were conducted in an environment designed to contain bacteria. Therefore, there is no direct contact with the environment outside the laboratory and therefore, together with the fact that the involved bacteria are of biosafety level 1, our project provides no remarkable risk to the general public. Since all team members are following Good Laboratory Practices (GLP), we are working on a good basis to prevent the unintended release and spread of bacterial cultures. Safety measures like autoclaving and protective equipment will mitigate the risks to the environment.
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Nevertheless there is always a risk of releasing genetically modified organisms into the environment, especially in the case of an accident. The used lab E. coli strains are unlikely survive outside the lab. In the rare case that the strains would survive, transfer of genetic material between the GMOs and other bacteria could take place. However, since our constructs do not involve any toxic or harmful components they are not expected to pose a direct threat to the environment.
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In our project antibiotic resistance genes are used as selection tools and as a responsible team we ensure a proper disposal by autoclaving. Further we do not use any antibiotics that are used in clinics. Hence, a release by accident would most probably not lead to the spread of antibiotic resistant strains that would pose a problem to the medical use of antibiotics.
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Lab coat and gloves are only worn inside the laboratory to minimize the risk of spreading bacteria in the environment.
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The bacteria used for our experiments are expected to be incapable of surviving in the environment outside the lab and even in the rarest case they do survive; they do not possess any destructive potential. The particular strain cannot survive outside the lab since it is engineered to be weak and dependent on a lab nutrient mix (e.g. LB). We have also observed that the bacteria lose our plasmids over time when plated without antibiotic as the expression of recombinant proteins has an unproductive effect on the cell's resources. We are using standard and well-characterized biobricks, which do not have the potential to combine in dangerous ways. As the organisms used by our team belong to the Risk Level 1 they are highly unlikely to cause harm to adult humans or animals. Therefore we see little or no risk of our microorganisms spreading.
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Additionally, measures are taken to prevent the release of the microorganisms into the environment. All materials contaminated with bacteria is autoclaved at 120 degrees Celsius by trained faculty staff. Harmful chemicals are collected and disposed separately.
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Safety measures like autoclaving and protective equipment will mitigate the risks to the environment.
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== Measures to reduce the risks mentioned above ==
== Measures to reduce the risks mentioned above ==
To avoid misuse by unauthorized people our lab is always locked when the last person leaves. No stranger can enter the building and the lab, since only authorized persons can enter our campus. Biological waste is autoclaved regularly. As we are appropriately dressed in the laboratory with lab coat (not taken outside of the laboratory) no potential harmful organisms can escape to the environment in this way. For additional personal protection everyone washes his or her hands before leaving the lab.  
To avoid misuse by unauthorized people our lab is always locked when the last person leaves. No stranger can enter the building and the lab, since only authorized persons can enter our campus. Biological waste is autoclaved regularly. As we are appropriately dressed in the laboratory with lab coat (not taken outside of the laboratory) no potential harmful organisms can escape to the environment in this way. For additional personal protection everyone washes his or her hands before leaving the lab.  
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The risk of our project for the environment, public and also the people working in the laboratory has already been minimized when choosing the organism. As the E. coli strains used by the team belong to Risk level 1 organism no harm for human, animals and environment is to be expected.
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The risk of our project for the environment, public and also the people working in the laboratory has already been minimized when choosing the organism. As the ''E. coli'' strains used by the team belong to Risk level 1 organism no harm for human, animals and environment is to be expected.
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== Future Risks and risk-reducing features ==
== Future Risks and risk-reducing features ==
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The way our project is planned we do not intend any industrial, therapeutic, diagnostic or medicinal purposes or applications and so the organisms will be restricted to laboratory environments only. Moreover we see our project as a beginning or foundation and advancement will take time. Therefore it is difficult to envision scenarios where severe dangers are encountered. A possible scenario in the distant future could be that someone modifies our methods and use them with organisms/genes that pose greater risks than the non-pathogenic E. coli.  As the team has only used standard molecular biological methods and protocols that can be conducted in any laboratory fulfilling at least safety level 1 we see no new risks to personal, environmental and public safety arising from our project becoming more popular.
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The way our project is planned we do not intend any industrial, therapeutic, diagnostic or medicinal purposes or applications and so the organisms will be restricted to laboratory environments only. Moreover we see our project as a beginning or foundation and advancement will take time. Therefore it is difficult to envision scenarios where severe dangers are encountered in the foreseeable future. A possible scenario in the distant future could be that someone modifies our methods and biobricks and usea them with organisms/genes that pose greater risks than the system established here.  As the team has only used standard molecular biological methods and protocols that can be conducted in any laboratory fulfilling at least safety level 1 we see no new risks to personal, environmental and public safety arising from our project becoming more popular.
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Our project currently does not include such features. The system is designed in a manner that it will be necessary to have a BSL-1 lab environment that confers to safety measures. In case our project would grow into a popular product we would include a kill-switch in our system to avoid their spreading of the microorganisms outside of the controlled laboratory environment.
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The system is designed in a manner that it will be necessary to have a BSL-1 lab environment that confers to safety measures. In case our project would grow into a popular product and be used outside of a BSL-1 lab, we would include a kill-switch in our system to avoid their spreading of the microorganisms outside of the controlled laboratory environment.
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==Link to our safety form==
==Link to our safety form==
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According to [http://www.qiagen.com/resources/molecular-biology-methods/dna/ QIAGEN ''DNA protocols and applications'']
 
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Please follow this [ http://igem.org/Safety/Safety_Form?team_id=1541 link]to get to our safety form.
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Please follow this [http://igem.org/Safety/Safety_Form?team_id=1541 link] to get to our safety form.
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Latest revision as of 00:01, 18 October 2014

iGEM ETH Zurich 2014