Electrical and Utility Issues

The lab shall be fitted with electrical outlets that can accommodate current requirements with an additional 20% to 40% capacity. At minimum, bench-top outlets shall be 20-amp staggered-outlet circuits with both circuits GFCI protected for any bench-tops that include utilities provided to the bench-top.

 

The lab may have several pieces of equipment that require greater than 15 amps of electrical current. Such items include low-temperature freezers, biosafety cabinets, centrifuges, and incubators. Such equipment shall have its own dedicated power-supply circuit installed.

 

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Circuit breakers should be located outside the lab, but not in rated corridors.

In the event of an emergency, the laboratory may be unsafe to enter. The International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) recommends against putting electrical panels in rated corridors.

 

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Electrical receptacles above countertops and within 6 feet of sinks or other wet areas should have GFCI circuit protection. Receptacles that are not readily accessible or receptacles for appliances occupying dedicated space that are cord-and-plug connected in accordance with NEC Section 400-7A (6–8) are excepted from this requirement.

 

NFPA 70, Chapter 2, 210–8

 

Main valves for gas and vacuum lines should be located outside the lab - elsewhere on the floor or in a mechanical room.

 

In the event of an emergency, the laboratory may be unsafe to enter. Hence, the valves for gas and vacuum lines should be located outside the lab. See also the 'General Requirements For Laboratories' section of this document, specifically the 'Nonstructural Seismic Hazard Abatement' subsection.

 

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Flexible connections shall be used for connecting gas and other plumbed utilities to any freestanding device, including but not limited to biosafety cabinets, incubators, and liquid nitrogen freezers.

 

Seismic activity may cause gas and other utility connections to the biosafety cabinet to break off. Leaking natural gas is a fire hazard, and flexible connections minimize this potential hazard.

 

For additional information, see the subsection 'Nonstructural Seismic Hazard Abatement' in 'General Requirements for Laboratories.'

 

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