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Name: Eating, Drinking, and Related Activities in Laboratories Policy
Responsible Office: Environmental Health & Safety

Applies to: (examples; Faculty,Staff, Students, etc)

Faculty , Staff , Students , Contractors_Vendors

Policy Overview:

Issued: 07-01-2017
Next Review Date: 06-15-2022
Frequency of Reviews: Annually

Eating, drinking, and related activities within laboratories can result in accidental ingestion or exposure to hazardous materials. Good laboratory practices, supported by the Occupational Safety and Health administration (OSHA), seeks to eliminate the potential route of exposure by prohibiting these activities in areas where hazardous materials are present. In addition, good laboratory practice incorporates standard hand hygiene practices.

This policy applies to all staff, faculty, students, and guests entering University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis laboratory areas where hazardous materials are used, handled, or stored.




Hazardous material

Any item or agent (biological, chemical, radiological, and/or physical) which has the potential to cause harm to humans, animals, or the environment, either by itself or through interaction with other factors.


  1. Eating, drinking, gum chewing, the application of cosmetics, the storage of food and beverages or similar activities are not permitted in laboratories or other facilities where hazardous materials are used, handled or stored. Food waste, wrappers, containers, etc. must not be placed in laboratory trash cans as this is considered evidence of food or beverage consumption within the laboratory. Such activities are permitted in an area (defined as a room with floor to ceiling walls and a closed door) separated from the laboratory space. If a separate area can only be accessed by going through the laboratory, then only covered food or beverage items may be carried through the laboratory. Travel mugs with lids are appropriate for coffee transport. Filling or rinsing of beverage or food containers in designated laboratory sinks is allowed only if no other sinks are available, if water in these sinks has been determined to be potable, and if the chosen sink area is not contaminated with hazardous materials. Sinks approved for the disposal of low-level aqueous based radioactive materials cannot be used for food/drink related activities. Food or beverage containers may not be stored in the laboratory and washed drinking cups, food containers or eating utensils may not be dried on laboratory drying racks. Refrigerators used for storing food or beverages should be dedicated to food only and should be located outside of the laboratory.
  2. Students participating in lab are not permitted to bring water bottles into the laboratory area.


  1. Each laboratory manager is responsible for identifying laboratories where eating, drinking, or similar activities are prohibited and for notifying individuals of appropriate areas for such activities.
  2. An offense to the policy should be noted by the instructor of the laboratory in which the offense took place. Repeated offenses will not be tolerated and are subject to consequences including, but limited to, dismissal from laboratory resulting in an incomplete laboratory grade, or automatic failure of a laboratory activity. Consequences of repeat offenses are under the discretion of the laboratory instructor.




Laboratory Instructors

Responsible for identifying laboratories where eating, drinking, or similar activities are prohibited and for notifying individuals of appropriate areas for such activities.


Laboratory Teaching Assistants

Responsible for enforcing the eating, drinking policy in laboratory by reporting offenses of the policy to the instructor to enforce the policy.

Supplemental Information: