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Laboratory Manager

Anthony Mitchell
Tel +64 27 412 8120

For those intending to work in a University of Otago, Christchurch (UOC) laboratory, an appointment should be in place prior to induction and the access form (see below) should be signed by your departmental administrator. There are other HR and UOC processes below, also for your administrator to consider prior to induction.

The laboratory manger will then provide a full laboratory induction and sign off the same access form. While laboratory induction is a mandatory part of lab safety and access approval, it is not “lab training”.

All laboratory members must have at least one supervisor trained in biological sciences and an experienced lab buddy must be appointed for subsequent specific laboratory training.

If you need access to enter a restricted access laboratory floor for reasons other than working in the laboratory, please contact your departmental administrator as you will require a different form of induction prior to sign off of this access.

Off boarding of lab members must include the completion of a leaving form. It is coordinated by Divisional Services and Administration when a staff member or research student is exiting the university. The leaving form location is shown below.


Human Resources forms

University of Otago, Christchurch forms

Access and compliance documents

Laboratory access and compliance documents are available on the following shared directory:

U:\Deans\Health and Safety (Laboratory)

If you cannot access this directory, please contact your departmental administrator.

Health and Safety in the Laboratory

  • Health and Safety inductions are provided to all individuals requesting access to floors containing laboratories.
  • It is important for supervisors to be aware that they are responsible for ensuring their students receive appropriate health and safety training for the particular techniques and materials that they will be using for their project.
  • The UOC Laboratory Manager is responsible for ensuring that general health and safety training is given to staff and students working in the laboratories.
  • Supervisors of laboratory based students should contact the Laboratory Manager once projects have been decided to determine what training is necessary. The University has a responsibility to ensure that laboratory staff and students work in a safe manner. This includes staff of the Canterbury District Health Board and students working in University of Otago, Christchurch buildings.
  • The Laboratory Manager is also responsible for the UOC shared facilities equipment and can organise instruction for students on the correct operation of this equipment on request. Each laboratory based student will receive a tour of the laboratory floors, where they will be shown the location of the various pieces of shared equipment as part of their induction.
  • The UOC Laboratory health and Safety manual can be downloaded from the U drive:
    U:\Deans\Health and Safety (Laboratory)\Laboratory Compliance\2 UOC Lab Health and Safety Manual

Biological Compliance

As a result of the provisions of the Biosecurity Act (1993) and the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act (1996), supervisors of projects within UOC are responsible for ensuring that:

  • Research has approval from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA- previously ERMA) or its delegated authority, the University of Otago Institutional Biological Safety Committee, for all projects that involve the importation or development of new organisms (including genetically modified organisms); or to import or manufacture hazardous substances (IBSC doesn't do this). The HSNO Act requires that before such approval can be granted, a risk assessment of the new organism must be carried out and controls to contain the organism must be imposed for laboratory research or field-testing.
  • All biological products are imported using a specific protocol. Lists of products on all Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI - previously MAF) permits have been provided to each group. Supervisors should contact the Laboratory Manager regarding the importation of any biological products listed on MPI permits. Supervisors are then required to ensure that records are kept for the use and disposal of restricted biological products and for the importation or development of new organisms in their research group. These records must be submitted to the Laboratory Manager at the end of each month.
  • Operating procedures used in the facility sector for which they have supervisory responsibility must be technically appropriate for the containment of any species of micro-organism being held and comply with the requirements of any import health standard issued by MPI and containment controls imposed by EPA.
  • All people that work in the group must be familiar with the principles of containment and the procedures of the facility which ensure containment and have appropriate training for handling any micro-organisms used. Training records for staff and students must be maintained as well as copies of any containment controls specified by EPA, import health standards, release approvals, biosecurity clearances and biosecurity directions relating to organisms held in the Group.
  • The UOC Containment and Quarantine manual, MPI Training and Question Sheets can be downloaded from the U drive:
    U:\Deans\Health and Safety (Laboratory)\Laboratory Compliance\3 Biological Compliance

Bringing new equipment into the laboratory and maintenance of equipment

  • All general service maintenance requests for laboratory floors should be directed in the first instance to the Laboratory Manager, who will co-ordinate with the contractors and Property Services.
  • Please include the Laboratory Manager in plans to purchase new laboratory equipment prior to purchase, so that we can be certain that all related support equipment, service requirements and available space are considered.
  • Any electrical equipment brought into any laboratory area must be assessed for appropriateness in the context of safety and fitness for purpose prior to use. According to this policy and AS/NZS 3760:2003, any electrical equipment or item brought into the laboratory requires a safety assessment, electrical testing, tagging with approval and recording by the Laboratory Manager.

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