Guidelines for Laboratory DesignHealth and Safety Considerations

  • Online
  • February 1216, 2024
  • $2,600
  • On-Site
  • June 1014, 2024
  • $3,200

The program will definitely benefit me and my organization in various lab renovations we are doing and in building our new institute which we are processing right now. The program far exceeded my expectations.
  • —Samaila Shawulu
  • Architecture, Design and Construction, Institute of Human Virology Nigeria

Program Overview

The design and construction of a laboratory, regardless of its use, involves many stakeholders. While providing a safe environment for laboratory users to perform their work is imperative, competing stakeholders’ needs often cause health and safety considerations to be overlooked.

Participating in Guidelines for Laboratory Design: Health and Safety Considerations will help you address this issue by providing you with an understanding of how lab design options impact the health and safety of laboratory users and the environment. With this knowledge, you will be able to incorporate the needs of all stakeholders and ensure your labs are safe, free of health hazards, and promote a healthier environment.

Participants in this program will explore and address health and safety considerations for diverse laboratory types and gain the skills they need to create a safe laboratory environment. This program covers general laboratory design challenges, as well as issues specific to chemistry, microelectronics clean room, engineering, animal, biosafety, clinical, and sustainable laboratories. Participants also address issues with new laboratory construction, renovation, and decommissioning. Implications of COVID-19 on laboratory design will also be discussed.

This course provides a unique opportunity for architects, EHS professionals, engineers, lab users, and lab managers to collaborate on laboratory design.

Guided Laboratory Tours

The online version of this program will feature three laboratories. You will participate in a virtual tour of Harvard’s newly completed Science and Engineering Complex and hear directly from the building’s designers and EHS professionals. You will also learn about Boston Children’s Hospital’s Clinical Laboratory and the MIT.nano building.

The on campus version of this program features guided tours of chemistry, clean room, nanotechnology, clinical, biosafety, and animal research laboratories at leading academic and medical institutions in the Boston area. These tours help reinforce concepts taught during the course and ensure you leave able to apply what you learned to your organization’s facilities and projects.

Previous guided tours have included:

  • Open labs at the MIT Koch Institute
  • Animal labs at the MIT Koch Institute
  • Clean rooms at Harvard University
  • Chemistry research laboratory renovations at Harvard University
  • Clinical laboratories at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Guidelines for Laboratory Design

For most architects, engineers, and constructors, building codes are the only significant guide on matters of health and safety. Few have any background for intentionally designing for health and safety in laboratories and other technical facilities.

When practitioners move beyond basic building codes to frameworks such as Sustainable Design, health and safety may be compromised further as another design consideration takes priority. By designing to code and not directly addressing the specific health and safety issues present in laboratories, architects, engineers, and constructors open themselves to potential professional, reputation, and legal liabilities.

This program will provide you with the requisite knowledge to thoroughly and proactively design for health and safety.

Objectives & Highlights

Architects will be able to:

  • Evaluate laboratory design options related to health, safety, and environmental considerations using risk assessment and cost-effectiveness parameters
  • Apply appropriate design information for laboratory types used in industry, academia, and hospitals
  • Demonstrate familiarity with mechanical systems vital to state-of-the-art laboratory functions
  • Understand the primary principles of safety, health, and environmental responsibilities and impact of these considerations on planning and sustainable design of laboratory facilities
  • Learn details of laboratory systems and planning strategies to reduce risks to occupants of laboratory facilities
  • Learn to plan laboratories so that chemical fume hoods and other potential hazardous processes and equipment perform safely
  • Decommission, decontaminate, renovate, and reconstruct old laboratories

Design and facility engineers will be able to:

  • Apply laboratory design information regarding heat loads from research equipment, ventilation requirements, optimum air flows, and contamination control through air pressure regulation
  • Identify recent developments in the design of HVAC systems for laboratories, including variable air volume (VAV) systems, high performance hoods, air exchange rates, ductless hoods, recirculation of air, and the application of energy conservation measures
  • Learn to use computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis to improve performance of chemical fume hoods
  • Incorporate into practice important information about the design of hazardous waste-handling facilities, safety shower and eyewash stations, and research support facilities

Occupational health and safety professionals will be able to:

  • Complete structures that are safe and free of health hazards by consulting with architects, contractors, owners, and users during program scope definition, design, and construction
  • Identify design features that provide solutions for the unique health and safety hazards associated with laboratories used for different functions
  • Become familiar with CFD and how it is used in laboratory design
  • Provide detailed specifications regarding laboratory support facilities for hazardous waste storage, packaging, and shipping
  • Identify the unique needs of specific types of laboratories such as biosafety, chemistry, microelectronics, animal facilities, and engineering
  • Understand the perspectives and constraints of architects and engineers, and the need to communicate with them from the earliest stages of the project through completion

Learn practical and cost-effective solutions to renovation and reconstruction issues including:

  • Green design and construction
  • Decontamination of an existing facility
  • Special health and safety precautions in partially occupied buildings undergoing renovation
  • Adding energy conservation features
  • Case studies of successful reconstructions and details of decisions not to reconstruct will also be presented
  • Laboratory ventilation including fume hoods and other exhaust requirements
  • Safety design features including fire protection, electrical systems, emergency equipment and controls, and chemical storage

Credits and Logistics

Please note: a laptop or other portable personal computing device is strongly recommended for course enrollees.


June 2024

Please check back for updated information.

Program Check-in

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
FXB Building
651 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

The program takes place at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, located in the heart of the Harvard Longwood Campus in Boston. Public transportation is also readily available to the city’s many shopping districts, museums, and restaurants.

For directions, please click here.

Continuing Education Credit

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health will grant 2 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for this program, equivalent to 20.5 contact hours of education. Participants can apply these contact hours toward other professional education accrediting organizations.

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is a registered provider with the American Institute of Architects Continuing Education Systems. This program is designated for LU Hours. In order to receive credit, participants must attend all sessions.

All credits subject to final agenda.

All participants will receive a Certificate of Participation upon completion of the program.

 ERC shield

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has an Education and Research Center (ERC) funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).


Current faculty, subject to change.

Janet S Baum, AIA, MArch

Program Director

February 1216, 2024
Executive and Continuing Professional Education
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Louis J. DiBerardinis, MS, CIH, CSP

Program Director

February 1216, 2024
Instructor in Industrial Hygiene
Department of Environmental Health
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Environment, Health and Safety
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


February 12 – 16, 2024

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This agenda is subject to change. All times listed are in Eastern Time (ET).

Friday, February 9, 2024
11:00 am–12:00 pm Optional Meet & Greet
Monday, February 12, 2024
9:00–9:15 am Information on Remote Learning Technology
9:15–9:45 am Program Introduction and Overview
9:45–10:15 am Health and Safety Codes, Standards, and Environmental Regulations for the Lab
10:15–10:30 am Break
10:30–11:30 am Lab Programming, Modular Design, and Hazard Planning
11:30 am–12:00 pm Break
12:00–1:00 pm Loss Prevention and Personal Safety for the Laboratory
1:00–1:15 pm Break
1:15–2:15 pm Laboratory Hoods
Tuesday, February 13, 2024
9:00–9:15 am Open Discussion
9:15–10:00 am Air & Gas Cleaning Technology for Laboratory Exhaust Lab Air
10:00–10:15 am Break
10:15–11:00 am Measuring Airflow Effectiveness
11:00–11:30 am Break
11:30 am–12:30 pm Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Assisted Laboratory Design
12:30–12:45 pm Break
12:45–2:15 pm Biosafety Laboratory Planning, Construction and Commission
Wednesday, February 14, 2024
9:00–10:30 am Animal Laboratory Design and Engineering
10:30–10:45 am Break
10:45–11:00 am Discussion: Harvard Engineering Laboratory
11:00–11:30 am Hazardous Lab Waste Collection
11:30 am–12:00 pm Break
12:00–1:00 pm Building Performance and Commissioning
1:00–1:15 pm Break
1:15–2:15 pm SESSION & VIRTUAL TOUR: MIT Nanotechnology Lab
Thursday, February 15, 2024
9:00–10:00 am SESSION & VIRTUAL TOUR: Boston Children's Hospital, Clinical Laboratory
10:00–10:15 am Break
10:15–10:45 am Laboratory Renovation Diagnostics
10:45–11:15 am Lab Decommissioning and Decontamination
11:15–11:45 am Break
11:45 am–12:15 pm Accident Prevention During Renovation
12:15–12:45 pm Case Study: Living Building Challenge
12:45–1:00 pm Break
1:00–2:15 pm Sustainable Laboratory Design: Construction and Operations
Friday, February 16, 2024
9:00–10:00 am Laboratory Ergonomics
10:00–10:15 am Break
10:15–11:15 am ADA: Lab Occupants with Disabilities
11:15–11:45 am Break
11:45 am–12:30 pm Trends in Laboratory Design and Costs
12:30–12:45 pm Virtual Workshop: Lab Costs
12:45–1:00 pm Break
1:00–2:15 pm Issues Discussion with GLD Faculty

Who Should Participate

This program is designed for any professional involved in designing, constructing, renovating, or managing laboratories, including:

  • Architects and designers
  • Construction managers
  • Environment, health, and safety professionals
  • Facilities managers
  • Laboratory managers
  • Laboratory planners
  • Project managers
  • Scientists, researchers, and other laboratory users

Ideal participants will come from organizations including:

  • Architecture firms
  • Engineering and construction companies
  • Government agencies
  • Higher education and research institutions
  • Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies
  • Other commercial and noncommercial research organizations