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Laboratory Health and Safety

The ANU School of Medicine & Psychology Anatomy Facility operates under licence from the ACT Transplantation and Anatomy Act 1978 and follows the Schools of Anatomy in the ACT Industry Code of Practice.  Adherence to the regulations is monitored and failure to comply with the regulations has serious consequences.


The use of bodies and tissue specimens for research and teaching purposes is only possible due to the generosity of the donors and their families. We are extremely grateful to those members of the public who donate their bodies after death to the ANU School of Medicine & Psychology (SMP).

It is important to remember that access to and the use of human remains for anatomical examination and research is a privilege and not a right. All remains must be treated with dignity and respect at all times. Under no circumstances will the University tolerate degrading or disrespectful behaviour.

Access to the Medical Science & Anatomy Facility can only be gained by authorised students, ANU staff, approved external personnel and contractors. For the purpose of this document the four groups listed will be known as users. Access needs to be arranged by contacting the ANU SMP Medical Science & Anatomy Coordinator or the Medical Science & Anatomy Officer. All research activities need to be approved by the Academic Lead.

These guidelines apply to all students, staff and external personnel participating in practical sessions run by the SMP that involve practices, procedures or substances which could affect the Health and Safety of users involved.


The following groups should read and use these guidelines:

  • Staff
  • Demonstrators
  • Students – undergraduate, postgraduate and research
  • Approved external personnel, contractors & visitors.

The Australian National University is responsible for providing a healthy and safe environment for all users that access any of the University’s grounds or facilities. The following points must be ensured:

  • Health, safety and environmental aspects of any practical sessions are considered.
  • All users receive the appropriate information and supervision necessary to participate as required.
  • Users are warned about particular hazards, and how to avoid, eliminate or minimize exposure.
  • Proper attitudes towards health and safety are practiced and transferred to users.
  • All users are using and /or wearing appropriate safety equipment when required.
  • All accidents and incidents are reported immediately to the nominated person in charge at the time of the incident and incident notification is lodged on the ANU Workplace Health & Safety Incident Management System, Figtree, as per ANU Workplace Health & Safety Policy.
  • Users fully understand and agree to comply with the safety information by signing the Declaration Form for the Code of Conduct for the ANU SMP Medical Science & Anatomy Facility
  • All users have responsibilities under the Workplace Health and Safety Act 2011. All users are required to:
    • Avoid, eliminate or minimize hazards of which they are aware.
    • Comply with all Workplace Health and Safety instructions.
    • Make proper use of all safety devices and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Failure to bring required PPE (eg laboratory coat, closed footwear, safety glasses) if requested, could result in being refused access to the facility.
    • Not wilfully place at risk the Health and Safety of themselves or any other persons.
    • Any user entering the laboratory space, that are trying to conceive, currently pregnant or currently breastfeeding, should seek medical advice before entering laboratory spaces. Please see associated risk assessment for accessing the laboratory for specific chemical presence, specifically airborne mutagens.
    • Seek information or advice when in doubt or before carrying out new or unfamiliar work.
    • Read all Risk Assessments and Safe Work Procedures associated with the activity.
    • Report all accidents and near miss incidents immediately.

 General Requirements

Any scientific laboratory presents potential hazards. Staff will insist that users behave ethical and lawful manner and follow general rules of laboratory conduct. Failure to comply could result in exclusion from the laboratory.

  • Students and external personnel are not permitted in the laboratory unsupervised. A Staff member must be present at all times.
  • Users should make themselves aware of the location of the nearest fire exits and locations of first aid kits and fire extinguishers. Signage is located in all common areas showing locations of these.
  • Personal protective equipment must be worn at all times (eg laboratory coat, nonporous fully covered footwear and safety glasses). Users should be aware that prescription glasses do not offer the same level of protection as proper safety glasses. It is advisable not to use contact lenses during laboratory sessions, to avoid eye damage by chemical vapours.
  • Long hair must be tied back.
  • Use gloves when handling prosected specimens.
  • Handle specimens carefully and report any damage to ANU Medical Science & Anatomy Staff. During handling of cadaveric specimens and/or parts of thereof, take care that no splashing of fluids occurs. Identify and be aware of sharp bony edges in order to avoid injury.
  • Report all spillages, damages and breakages. If you spill, drop, damage or break something, warn those around you and seek the assistance of a Demonstrator or a member of the Technical Staff to clean up immediately.
  • Report all accidents. No matter how trivial, all accidents must be reported immediately.
  • Re-assemble models and return books and resources to their original location at the completion of practical classes.
  • Dispose of rubbish in the appropriate bins provided.
  • Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before leaving the Medical Science & Anatomy facility.
  • All users must complete the induction process prior to entry.

 Users of the facility must NOT:

  • Remove anything from the Medical Science & Anatomy facility.
  • Bring any unauthorised person into the Medical Science & Anatomy facility.
  • Behave in an improper or disrespectful manner when using the bodies and/or tissue specimens.
  • Use bodies and tissue specimens for entertainment, profit or personal purposes.
  • Take photographs or video within the anatomy facility (this includes camera, mobile phones, tablets, computers).
  • Bring mobile phones into the Medical Science & Anatomy facility (switch phones off and store them in a locker).
  • Bring bags, coats and personal effects into the teaching area of the anatomy facility (store them in the Medical Science Laboratory pigeon holes)
  • Eat, drink or smoke in the Medical Science & Anatomy facility (this includes chewing gum and water bottles).
  • Move cadaveric specimens from tables.
  • Intentionally damage or interfere anatomical specimens.
  • Remove any identification tags, transponders or markers.

 Report potential hazards

If you have any doubts about the safety of any equipment, or about any other aspect of the laboratory work, which you suspect may constitute a hazard to your safety or that of a colleague, please report it to a Demonstrator, Convenor or ANU Medical Science & Anatomy Laboratory staff member.

Updated:  13 December 2023/Responsible Officer:  Dean, Medical School/Page Contact:  Webmaster, Medical School