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Risk assessment of lab activities

Safe lab activities are based on:

  • Access to information on the chemicals, microorganisms, gases, equipment, pressure, tension etc. that are being used.
  • Risk assessment of hazardous work concidering the methodology used, where the actions take place and the conditions that prevail at the workplace.
  • Take the protective measures and necessary care that are essential in order to eliminate/reduce risks.
  • Plain common sense!

Risk assessment


  • No one spending time in a lab or workshop should have to risk injury due to the activities taking place there - this concerns patients, employees, students, guests and service personnel.
  • Neither should operations in lab or workshop cause any damage to the surrounding environment. In order to ensure that it is possible to carry out care and treatment, research and education without interruption, it is also vital to protect samples, equipment and premises.
  • All government agencies require a risk assessment and, in connection with inspections, permit granting etc. a risk assessment is always necessary.


  • Risk assessments must be carried out prior to any risky operations, during planning, before purchase of equipment etc.
  • Risk assessments must also be revised when changes are made – concentration, temperature, material, current, design of premises, ventilation etc.


  1. Risk assessments must always be carried out by someone with knowledge of the process, relevant working methods and workplace. The manager responsible must read and sign these risk assessments.
  2. Routine operations: the employee responsible for analyses, operations.
  3. Education: Course Director or for students as an element of the course.
  4. Research: The individual planning the experiment/project together with the relevant supervisor.


  1. Describe the hazards associated with the chemicals, equipment, organisms etc.
  2. Identify the risk of exposure, the risk of damage to the premises and equipment and to the surrounding environment based on the working method used.
    *  How do I use the equipment, chemicals? How do I work? What conditions am I working in? What else is being used in the lab?
    *  Which risks apply under normal circumstances and which risks apply during interrupted services, accidents, ventilation failure, power cut, fire?
    *  Generally the entire process must be assessed including purchase/installation, transport, management, waste management etc. In cases where only a part of the process/experiment is included the risk assessment this must be clearly stated, as well as where information/risk assessments concerning the remaining parts can be found.
  3. Estimate and assess the size of the risks.
  4. State the necessary protective measures
  5. Inform everyone concerned about the risks and protective measures.

Advice when making risk assessments

  • Use available tools like templates, tables, instructions, databases etc.
  • When purchasing equipment ask the supplier for a risk assessment and/or necessary information.
  • If there's no risk - then you don't need to document the risk assessment. Just note that the experiment/process has been assessed.
  • Start with commonly used methods and divide the work between the people using them. You can also make the risk assessments together on group meetings.
  • Save the risk assessments in the lab or on the intranet and borrow from each other. Just make sure the risk assessment you borrow really applies for what you are doing.
  • Divide or combine risk assessments and work instructions depending on what is appropriate in each case. The risk assessment may be included in the method description. Just make sure you can tell by the name of the document that it includes a risk assessment.
  • If one or several parameters, such as concentration, might be altered in an experiment include that in the risk assessment from the beginning in order to avoid having to revise the risk assessment.
  • First aid-measures and other risk information may have to be posted at the workplace.
  • Tell each other about incidents and accidents that you know have happened – it’s important information when making risk assessments.
  • Don’t forget the environmental aspect and what to do in-case of power-loss, ventilation failure, fire and so on.
  • Are special considerations needed for pregnant or breast-feeding women?
  • Are special considerations needed for working alone? 

 Risk assessment must be carried out on a continuous basis!


Summary of the process for assessing risks! 





Templates, routines and instructions

LiU Risk assessment form - infectious agents. biological agents (not GMM)


LiU/Region Östergötland template in KLARA för working with chemicals (login necessary, please contact the KLARA Coordinator for information, see below)


Template riskassessment for laboratory work (LiU) 



LiU template Riskassessment for risk of infection during covid-19 pandemic is avaialble in Swedish at the LiU intranet, see Work environment and health.

See also pages on Specific information 




Chemical Hazards in the Working Environment



Hanna Wessman - coordinator laboratory safety, LiU
Phone +46 (0)13-28 15 64

Petra Hagstrand
Coordinator chemical management and system administrator for Chemical management system (KLARA) 
+46 (0)13-282033




Page manager: hanna.wessman@liu.se
Last updated: 2022-08-26