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Answer by barney41 on question Lab Tech office space requirements

Submitted by sat on 31 July 2014

The aspect of having an office space separate from chemicals is very clearly stated in AS/NZ2243.1:2005 Safety in laboratories. Part 1: Planning and operational aspects. Section 2. Planning the laboratory for safety.

“2.2.6. Write-up areas

Precautions should be taken to ensure that reading and writing materials do not become contaminated or damaged.

Write-up areas shall be separated from areas where hazardous materials are used or harmful processes are undertaken.” [1]

Education Queensland Organisational Health Unit has produced a very useful fact sheet which outlines science laboratory and preparation area safety. It quotes the Australian Standard (AS2243:1:2005) for planning and operations in laboratories and refers to this clause stating that hazardous material storage and usage areas, as well as harmful processes, must be separated from write-up areas. I draw your attention to the second point of the ‘Key points to remember’ section.

This fact sheet also states that local exhaust ventilation should remove contaminants from the air at their source. This ventilation should not replace the requirement for office space to be separated from areas where laboratory procedures take place.

See: (link updated June 2020)

[1] This extract from AS/NZ2243.1:2005 Safety in laboratories Planning and operational aspects is reproduced with permission from SAI Global Ltd under Licence 1407-c117.

Addendum: In December 2016, the Science ASSIST experts released some guidelines for the design and planning of secondary school science facilities in Australian schools in line with current regulations.