Safety Services


Controls in registered rooms

Below is guidance on controls that need to be in place when working in registered rooms.

On this page

> Controls in registered rooms
> Safety cabinets
Approaches to control - by example 

Controls in registered rooms

TopicWhat is needed?Additional guidance
BenchingBenching and flooring should be easy to cleanThis means impervious to water, resistant to disinfectants and other cleaning agents used and smooth and continuous with floor coverings coved to the walls.
Handwash basinThere should be a hand wash basin near the exit of the laboratoryTaps should be able to be operated without using the hands eg wrist/elbow taps or automatic proximity controls.
RoomThe room door should be lockable and/or have access controlThis is to prevent unauthorised access during procedures - suitable signage should also be posted.
 The room should be screened from view (from outside)Could be on a temporary basis, eg blinds on doors and windows to be used when procedures are taking place.
Access controlsIf the room is used for non-animal work, use of the room should be managed to control cross-contamination

This could be achieved by the use of a central booking system or else only using the room during defined periods eg at the start/end of the working day.

No non-animal work should take place during a procedure and only those directly involved in the procedure should be present. Where this is not possible eg room contains shared, specialised equipment, measures are needed to control contamination of room and the equipment in it by allergens.

CleaningThe area where the work is carried out must be cleaned at the end of the procedure

Wet cleaning rather than dry sweeping should be used.  A HEPA filtered hand-held vacuum cleaner could also be used to collect any fur/hair.  A suitable disinfectant should be used to decontaminate the working area.

If space is shared with other users, there should be documented procedure in place to indicate when the room is "safe" for others to use eg a sign-off sheet to indicate that work areas have been cleaned and disinfected and all waste disposed of appropriately.

Waste handlingAll waste should be removed from the room at the end of the procedure and taken to the bulk waste storeIf immediate disposal of carcasses is not possible, these should be double-bagged and frozen pending final disposal.
TransportAll animals should be transported to the room using appropriate filter-topped transport boxes and only opened within local exhaust ventilation (LEV) in the roomBoxes should be cleaned and disinfected before return to the BSU; contaminated boxes should remain in the LEV pending cleaning.  Transport between sites should be carried out using the road transport service organized by Biological Services.  Transport within buildings should be carried out avoiding public areas/general circulation, eg using goods lifts, as far as possible.  Where this is not possible, transport should be carried out at the beginning/end of the working day.
VentilationAll work should take place using some form of local exhaust ventilation (but see below and Approaches to control - by example)    Departmental rooms are unlikely to have dedicated ventilation systems in place, so LEV should be used for all procedures.  Although rooms may be ventilated for comfort reasons, the extracted air may be circulated elsewhere within the building so this should not be used to control airborne allergen.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)A Howie style laboratory coat/back-fastening gown (preferably disposable) and non-latex gloves should be worn for all procedures

Re-usable equipment eg lab coats should be changed regularly and stored safely eg in a lidded container/fastenable plastic bags if the room is used for non-animal work.  Clothing for laundry should be placed in appropriate lidded containers.

Personal protective equipment such as laboratory coats should be different, eg by colour or design, to those worn elsewhere in the Department.  This will help ensure that contamination is not spread beyond the registered room.

If all work takes place within suitable LEV, Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) does not need to be worn (but see "Approaches to control - by example").

Safety cabinets

In some cases, using LEV, in particular, safety cabinets might impact on your ability to work safely eg where a close visual examination is necessary to carry out a delicate surgical procedure. 

This should be identified in your risk assessment and the following controls measures considered:

  • Respiratory protective equipment (e.g. tight fitting face masks) must be worn by all those involved in the procedure - the number of individuals present should be kept to the minimum required.
  • Any procedures that could give rise to the release of allergen such as clipping or shaving of fur should be carried out using LEV or ventilated clippers/razors prior to the procedure or else in the BSU before transporting the animal(s) to the registered room.
  • Consideration should be given to the use of sedation (if not already required for the procedure) to minimise the movement of the animal (provided that this is permitted under the conditions of the Project Licence).

Approaches to control - by example

In certain cases, the nature of the work means that the use of local exhaust ventilation and/or respiratory protective equipment would impact significantly on the ability to work safely. In such cases, the risk assessment for the work must justify not using these specific controls and specify clearly what other measures will be used to control exposure.

The following guidance is based on examples of actual activities carried out at UCL to help you decide on appropriate measures (these are in addition to general controls in registered rooms)

  • Limit the number of animals present in the room at any one time.
  • Direct handling e.g. preparatory work should be carried out in a defined area and using appropriate personal protective equipment and respiratory protective equipment - ideally any exposure prone procedures such as shaving/clipping of fur should be carried out in advance of moving the animal to a registered room (using LEV in a BSU).
  • Surgical procedures should be carried out in defined areas that are cleaned directly after use - PPE/RPE should be worn during surgery and the animal covered e.g. with disposable drapes which are disposed of after use.

Consider how to control exposure during longer experiments - for example:

  • Measures used to control light/temperature/humidity can also be used to control the spread of allergens, e.g. using curtains around experimental rigs, placing an animal in environmental control chambers, covering an animal with surgical drapes.
  • Working with animals under anaesthetic will limit movement and so the liberation of allergens.
  • If observation over long periods of time is needed, this could be done remotely e.g. using video cameras.

Last updated: Thursday, July 30, 2020