Laboratory security is an especially important issue for laboratories, since labs often have hazardous materials that could be appropriated and misused by people with violent intentions, such as terrorists. No matter how secure the laboratory areas are, employees must be trained to ensure that unauthorized individuals do not gain access to our facility and that hazardous materials are not released, endangering employees and the public. In this training course, trainees learn all the ways to help keep a laboratory secure to protect themselves, their coworkers, and the public from harm. The main objective of this session is to provide trainees with an overview of laboratory security so that they can help maintain security in the facility and protect themselves from security risks. By the time the session is over, trainees should be able to:
- Identify security risks;
- Understand the facility’s security plan;
- Take proper precautions to prevent security breaches;
- Deal effectively with threats of violence and violent incidents; and
- Report security problems and incidents promptly.
Why “Laboratory Security” Matters:
Most people who work in laboratories are highly aware of lab safety issues. But, often, not as many pay as much attention to security issues, which are also very important. While safety and security are related, they are not the same thing. Lab safety involves issues such as preventing exposures to hazardous materials while working and preventing fires and explosions. Security, on the other hand, focuses more on threats such as:
- Entry by unauthorized people, including terrorists, thieves, and others with criminal intentions;
- Theft of materials or information;
- Misuse of highly hazardous materials that could be used to harm the public; and
- Workplace violence.
Things that must be protected in a lab are:
- Hazardous substances, such as toxic, reactive, and explosive chemicals; infectious materials; select agents; radioactive materials; compressed gases; and controlled substances. In the hands of terrorists or others with violent intentions, any of these materials could become a serious threat to lab workers and the public;
- Valuable equipment; and
- Intellectual property such as documents and information that must be kept secure.
The main points from this session on laboratory security include:
- The consequences of security breaches in the laboratory could be very serious.
- We must protect personnel, materials, equipment, and information.
- You play an important role in keeping laboratory areas secure.
- Promptly report any suspicious activity or individuals, missing inventory, or other security problems.