General Sars Centre Routines
Sinks and drains
- Sars Centre animal facilities are connected to a water purification system (“the pyramid”) that chlorinates and irradiates waste water. It is vital that no insoluble particulates or strong chemicals be placed into these facilities’ sinks/drains as it will seriously damage the purification system.
- Sinks/drains in Sars’ laboratories and fume hoods empty waste water directly into the surrounding fjords. DO NOT wash waste products down the drain. Hazardous or toxic substances should not be allowed to enter the environment via this route. (See Annex 11 for threshold values of waste concentrations.)
Glassware and plastic items must be brought to the washing room where they will be cleaned in the dishwasher and returned to the lab group storage cabinets by washroom personnel.
- Re-usable glassware and plastics MUST be cleaned with water by the user in order to remove minor chemical contamination and other visible dirt before being placed in the plastic bins for collection.
- Label all glassware and plastics with a Sars group number (e.g. S1). Use an inscribing/etching pen whenever possible as labels made with a permanent marker pen will wash away over time.
- Examine glass items before use; chipped or cracked glass must be discarded.
- Do not place damaged glassware in the plastic cleaning bins! Glass items must have rounded/filed edges to avoid cutting injuries.
- Avoid sudden temperature changes when handling glass so as to prevent breakage.
There is a common autoclaving service at the Sars Centre for wet and dry autoclaving. Items to be autoclaved should be left in the washroom on the assigned shelves (wet or dry) and will be taken care of by washroom personnel.
- Items for autoclaving must be labelled with at least your name, group number and contents. This is necessary for:
The safety of the people performing the autoclaving.
To avoid mixing substances that should not be autoclaved together.
- Wet autoclaving: Sorted, autoclaved and then left on the shelf assigned ‘finished’.
- Dry autoclaving: Performed once a day, left to dry overnight and then brought back to the storage place in each lab or on the shelf labelled “finished”.
There is a common use storage of dry ice in the -80° ultrafreezer #1. When receiving a shipment which contains dry ice, please add any leftover dry ice to this shared stock.
- Do not touch dry ice with your bare hands. When transferring dry ice between containers, wear gloves or use an appropriate instrument so that you are protected from ice burns.
- Dry ice outgases CO2 and can pose a risk if it is used or stored in a small airtight place (lack of oxygen).
UV Radiation - room 234B2
We use an Ultraviolet (UV) Trans-illuminator to visualize fluorescent markers that are used in gel electrophoresis for nucleic acids (DNA, RNA) and SDS-PAGE for proteins. UV trans-illuminators are major sources of UV radiation which can cause damage to your skin and eyes after only very short exposure times.
- UV radiation is mutagenic and cancerous
- It can negatively effect your eyes (photokeratitis, photoconjunctivitis and cataracts).
- It can also cause skin erythema (sunburn like condition), elastosis (photoaging and skin cancer).
- When using UV radiation you must use the face-shield provided next to the UV trans-illuminator and wear a long sleeved lab coat and gloves. Also ensure that your chest, wrists and neck are covered.
- Always avoid looking directly into the UV light. Only observe your samples through the safety face-shield or the UV safety cover.
Liquid Nitrogen (-196 °C)
The Sars Centre has a common supply of liquid nitrogen, located in the corridor adjacent to the -80° freezers.
- Can cause frost injuries in contact with skin (can develop into third degree burns). Use insulating gloves.
- One liter of liquid nitrogen expand to 700 L nitrogen gas. Lack of oxygen can arise when nitrogen evaporated in airtight spaces (lifts, closed cars etc.)
- Use protective equipment when working with or transporting liquid nitrogen from one container to another. Faceshield, insulating gloves, shoes with enclosed toes which protect the instep – no sandals, and clothing that completely covers arms and legs.
- Use a suitable container; with spill-proof lid (that allows equalization, so no pressure builds up inside the container) and handles, when transporting small amounts of liquid nitrogen between labs.
- If you use a lift for transport purposes; the lift must be empty and the container marked with a warning label preventing other people from entering the lift.
- When filling liquid nitrogen into the large drums from the smaller storage bottles: Never work alone, and keep your body away from the containers in case of spillage or loss of grip.
Gas and Gas cylinders
The Sars Centre currently uses two types of compressed gas:
Nitrogen cylinders (50 litre) MUST ONLY be handled and transported by trained personnel and must be stored in a room specified for the storage of gas under pressure (“Gass under trykk”); such rooms must be clearly labelled.
Propane cylinders (2 or 4 litre) present in most labs, can be used by all lab members after receiving safety and handling instructions.
Propane Safety Guidelines:
To make propane easier to detect in the event of a leak or spill, a chemical compound is added to give it a distinctive smell, like rotten eggs or cabbage. Trust your nose; never ignore the smell of propane. Always treat it as an actual leak until confirmed otherwise.
If you smell propane
- No flames or sparks! Immediately put out all open flames. Do not operate telephones, cell phones or other equipment. Do not turn lights on or off. Flames or sparks from these sources can trigger a fire or explosion.
- Shut off the gas. If you are able to, safely turn off the cylinder valve. To close the valve, turn it to the right (clockwise).
- Report the leak. Leave the area and contact the Safety Delegate and the Head of Administration.
Propane Handling and Storage:
- Propane cylinders are ordered through the administration front desk. Remember to put out the empty cylinder for collection (ground floor of HIB) on the day that the new cylinder is ordered for.
- Upon delivery, inspect the propane cylinder for cuts, gouges, dents and rusting. Replace the cylinder if necessary.
- Always store propane cylinders in an upright, vertical position so that the safety release valve will function properly.
- If a gas cylinder is not in use for a period of more than two weeks, it must be stored in the gas under pressure storage rooms.
- Before use: check rubber tubes and hosing for any cracks or holes
After use: Always close the valve, even if the gas cylinder is empty.
- Ensure that all valves are closed before unscrewing the regulator from an empty cylinder and screwing it onto a new one.
- Important: an ‘empty’ cylinder is never completely empty! Empty cylinders are as potentially dangerous as full ones.