Teaching Laboratory Final Report
The aim of piloting the Green Laboratory Program (GLP - now referred to as Sustainable Laboratory) was always to introduce the program to a teaching and research laboratory within the Faculty Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences first and receiving feedback, before implementation to the other laboratories throughout the University.
It was brought to light that a research and a teaching laboratory should be piloted because these are the types of laboratories that a most common. After an introductory email outlining the aims of the GLP was sent, the GLP coordinator met with the staff of the teaching laboratory.
- The next step was to establish where the level of environmental awareness and approach was at in the laboratory. Gap Analysis Checklist was distributed to each of the three staff members.
- After the forms were completed, the staff provided their current level of awareness regarding environmental issues but also advice and suggestions for restructuring the form for future use by other laboratory workers.
- From there, the environmental gaps in current laboratory practice were identified.
- Compared to a big lab like the Reference Lab, the gaps identified were considerably less. From a large laboratory with 35 laboratory staff to a much smaller lab with 3 workers meant implementation would be a quicker process!
- There were not as many gaps to follow up, not as much time required to spend with staff working through individual gaps, needs and of heightening awareness of GLP.
- The Gap analysis provided an easy, user-friendly means of demonstrating the improvements.
See the Teaching Lab Gap Analysis.
It was encouraging to find a well-managed laboratory. Laboratories in the University of Melbourne are subject to stringent auditing under Safety MAP. The existing practices paved the way for further improvement regarding the environment. For example,
- There are chemical and pharmacological inventories already in existence but to implement the GLP, sound environmental performance always leaves room for improvement. Greater control with segregation and handling of chemicals. Regular updating of inventories take place from now on.
- It is university policy that a safety talk is conducted and induction process is provided. They occur when a staff member commences their employment and for students, it is at the beginning of each teaching semester. Current staff will add an environmental awareness segment to the orientation process. With the aim of instilling environmental best practice in staff/students when they commence their time at the University. It is proving a successful way of implementing GLP in the first pilot.
Actions taken that are new initiatives from the GLP guidelines, include:
- Eventually add Environmental Awareness to the monthly Departmental meeting agenda. From there, ideas and environmental issues can be raised and discussed on a regular basis.
- Doing the same with Classroom staff meetings.
- Environmental considerations when running and preparing practical classes.
- Current practical sessions to be reviewed with environmental considerations. For example, the use of water aspirators on one of the student experiments.
It is anticipated that the above issues are not unique to this laboratory and will be addressed in all laboratories when implementation occurs throughout the Medical Faculty and beyond. Being a Green Laboratory is thinking globally yet acting locally. It aspires to not only to preserve the environment as much as possible but also to gain other benefits. Reducing the amounts of paper, water, chemicals, gas, power and other laboratory consumable also reduces waste and more importantly costs.