Microbiology Laboratory Agreement


General conduct and safety guidelines


This document describes general laboratory safety rules and personal conduct requirements for Microbiology at Oxnard College.  Read the course syllabus and this entire document carefully.  Read the safety information in the laboratory text.  After reviewing the information, print out the last page of this document, sign it, and submit it to the instructor.


Brief Laboratory Orientation:

            In order to work in the laboratory, it is important to understand the Oxnard College safety protocols, microscope care guidelines and the laboratory text safety recommendations.  Much of the time you should remember some basic guidelines, as follows: 

(1)  Wash your hands and clean your desk before and after lab, and prior to leaving the lab for the restroom (alcohol based hand wash OK).  Do not leave the lab with your lab coat on to go to the restroom - this is a safety violation.  Note this rule specifically applies to microbiology Š why?

(2)  Wear a lab coat always in lab (and safety glasses when appropriate).  Many of you are employed in health and dental care environments.  Do not come to class in your uniform or hospital scrubs as this is neither appropriate nor safe for you or your clients.  If you work in environments with pathogens, you will be well served to change at the location provided to you at work.  In addition, all students are advised to develop good habits around microorganisms by changing clothes and shoes, showering, and drying when returning home after class.  Your lab coat will remain at lab all semester unless it is autoclaved.  Soiled lab coats can be exchanged for sterile ones if you suspect contamination.

(3)  Care for the microscope and lab equipment.  You will be assigned a specific microscope and will be responsible for itÕs care.  The condition of the microscopes will be monitored.  Note its condition when you retrieve it from storage and keep a record in your lab book for each session (a page for this purpose is a good idea).  Things to consider:  Are the ocular lenses facing forward? Is the light switch off?  Is the stage clean?  Is the distance from the objective lenses to the stage at a maximum?  Is the low power lens properly in place?  Are the lenses clean, and is there any oil present on any lens?  If left on the scope, oil will degrade the lenses.  When you use the microscope, note whether you can properly focus with each lens.  One problem that leads to misunderstandings is that the 40x and 100x objective lenses are approximately the same length.  If there is oil on the sample and the 100x lens is rotated towards the 40x lens, it is possible to sweep the 40x lens through the oil of the slide.  When cleaning your scope before putting it away, use fresh lens paper to check for immersion oil first on the 100x lens.  Keep using fresh lens paper until the lenses are clean.  Individual lens papers are always removed fresh from the book and are never re-used.  The immersion oil is only used with the 100x objective lens.  Only special lens paper is used to clean lenses and remove oil. 

(4)  Safely handle bacteria and dispose of contaminated waste.  A tray for handling contaminated waste is designated each class.  Within this container we generally designate three types of waste that should be kept separated:  (a) disposable petri dishes are placed in autoclave bags, (b) reusable glass tubes are put into racks or baskets with the tape labels removed and/or written information wiped clean, and (c) glass slides are placed into a beaker. 

(5)  Do not bring food or drinks into the lab at any time.  As the semester progresses, this safety violation will be viewed harshly and with more scrutiny.

(6)  In order to perform your work appropriately in the lab you will need your laboratory guide, a small laboratory notebook (a composition type book is suggested), a pen, a blue sharpie permanent marker, masking or colored tape, vinyl gloves, and glass slides.  Do not write directly on glass tubes - use tape labels.  If you label glass directly, you may use a blue sharpie, as it can be removed with hand sanitizer strength alcohol.  (Black sharpie pens are not allowed because they are more permanent and difficult to clean.)  Plastic petri dishes can be labeled directly - on the media side of the dish.

(7) Bring to the attention of the instructor any conduct you determine is unsafe.


Professional Attitude:

The instructor has the option to drop you and will lower your grade one letter per day if you are absent for the equivalent of more than two semester weeks (4 days) of instruction at any time during the course.  This is an expensive course for the college to offer.  Microbiology skills are developed consecutively and so missing class will make it more difficult for you and the instructor to keep you on track in the class.  You are expected to be on time, attentive and reasonably behaved.  These are minimal expectations that fit with the career pathways in microbiology, including the health, marine, environmental and biotechnical sciences.  If the instructor asks you to finish your work and leave on any particular day, put your things away and go home.  Excused absences need documentation from a physician.  You are responsible for all course material whether you are present or not.  You are also requested to notify the instructor at the beginning of the course as to any special arrangements needed for your successful performance this semester, including any special learning or disability needs.



Exams follow standard testing protocol.  Books and backpacks are placed in front of the class and not accessed until after the exam is turned in; only #2 pencils are allowed; no hats, caps or clothing which limits the view of the student; hands need to be kept on the desk; leaving the room requires turning the exam in to the instructor; eyes must be kept focused on the exam and not wandering elsewhere; spacing between students is required during the exam; alternate versions of the exam are circulated; a time limit is placed on the exam constituting the class session; no notes, no external aids, no calculators and no electronic devices are allowed.

Academic Honesty:

A health, medical, research or dental career depends on a collection of individuals who can function honestly and reliably together.  There is a correlation between those who can function independently and a high career achievement potential.  There are also many unfortunate cases where errors made by medical professionals can be traced to a failure to adhere to common rules.  All instances of cheating, plagiarism, or other forms of academic dishonesty will be reported to the schoolÕs administration and potentially subject you to disqualification in the course or college. If you are not sure what constitutes academic honesty for a particular situation, check the Oxnard College Catalog.  Additionally, it is important that you understand common rules for extracting information for your written assignments.  Reading about plagiarism, a form of academic dishonesty, particularly with respect to Internet citation at the site www.plagiarism.org is recommended.


Emergency Procedures:

Some safety procedures are noted in the lab textbook.  Beyond that, you must notify your immediate instructor (lab or lecture) when there is an injury.  Generally, injured persons should only be moved or cared for by professionals.  An accident report must be filed within 24-48 hrs. after any injury.  Call 911 if the campus contact numbers for police are not responsive or available.


Microbiology Laboratory Agreement



            I have carefully read this syllabus, the Microbiology Laboratory Agreement, and the safety instructions in the laboratory manual.  I have heard descriptions of supplemental safety procedures specific to Oxnard College.  I understand and intend to follow these safety guidelines and inform Dr. Nicholson (and/or my laboratory instructor) when appropriate, if I have questions about the safety of the work I am performing.  I do not intend to perform any procedure that will bring harm to myself or to others.  I understand that I am responsible for understanding additional verbal safety instructions that will be presented to me as the class progresses.

            I understand that failure to comply with the policies and instructions presented in the syllabus, the Microbiology Laboratory Agreement, and the laboratory text may result in loss of points in the course, dismissal from the class period, dismissal from the course, or expulsion from the program and/or college.

            I will attempt to the best of my ability to understand the laboratory procedures I am expected to perform and communicate relevant questions I have immediately to my laboratory instructor.


                                                            Name (printed)__________________________


                                                            Name (signed)__________________________


                                                          Date             ___________________________