Laboratory documentation zones

Setting up zones for carrying out analyses and written work in laboratories has proven effective. These laboratory documentation zones are separate areas designated for recording and documentation activities in the laboratory. No work involving biological or chemical substances takes place in these zones. They are part of the laboratory space (for matters pertaining to the air ventilation assessment, see also Number 3.2 of DIN 1946-7 "Raumlufttechnik – Teil 7: Raumlufttechnische Anlagen in Laboratorien") and are not located completely outside of the hazard area of the laboratory. They are situated in immediate proximity to the work spaces and work processes in the laboratory and are therefore not office workstations as set out in the Workplace Directive (Arbeitsstättenrichtlinie; ASR A1.2).

The documentation and experimental zones of a laboratory shall be separated by a large-scale, fully transparent, shatterproof glass front with glass doors. This design makes it possible to monitor laboratory experiments while working in the documentation zone safely out of range of fragments and splashes. Further advantages are that less sound can be heard from the experimental zone and the documentation workstations can be designed ergonomically. It is recommended that the documentation zone be designed in such a way that it is also accessible via a separate entrance outside of the experimental zone.

When designing laboratory documentation zones, particular attention should be paid to Art. 3a para. 1 of the Workplace Ordinance (Arbeitsstättenverordnung; ArbStättV) taking into account the following criteria:

  • Draught-free fresh air supply into the laboratory documentation zone
  • Directed fresh air transfer from the laboratory documentation zone to the adjoining experimental zone
  • Appropriate design of the work and movement areas in the zones
  • The experimental zone and the documentation zone are to be connected by an entrance that complies with regulations (for example, a self-closing bidirectional door, double action door). Sliding doors may be installed if there is a separate circulation route in the laboratory documentation zone, this route leads to a safe area and Working Safely in Laboratories compliance with fire protection guidelines does not require that a second emergency route from the experimental zone leads through the laboratory documentation Zone (see section 6.2.3).

Since the documentation zone is part of the laboratory, the requirements laid out in section 4.6.2 apply. A hazard assessment can be carried out to determine whether the risk of spreading contamination by drinking out of original, sealable bottles can safely be ruled out if these conditions are complied with. The effectiveness of this measure is to be assessed and documented.

See Art. 3a para. 1 of the Arbeitsstättenverordnung, DIN 1946-7 "Raumlufttechnik – Teil 7: Raumlufttechnische Anlagen in Laboratorien".