Executive Summary

A Shared Purpose

Designers, Safety Professionals, Engineers and Researchers collaborate to design and construct laboratories that support the University of California’s (UC) diverse research operations, and benefit from tools that bridge their disciplines.


The purpose of this Lab Safety Design Manual (LSDM) online tool is to integrate health, safety, and sustainability considerations during the planning and design phase of building new and retrofitting existing laboratories.


Designers and engineers need clarity on Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) regulatory requirements, UC Policy and acceptable Standards of Care. EH&S needs a reference that centralizes the many regulatory requirements, industry standards and accepted best practices in a form that is understandable by a broad range of disciplines. Both need a common manual that can inform the design process from the inception of programming through value engineering and construction.


The intended outcome following use of this manual, in conjunction with EH&S plan review and consultation, will be an improvement in design efficiency including the minimization of post construction retrofit or other modification requirements.


How to Use the Lab Safety Design Manual

This manual was designed for use by Design, Construction and EH&S professionals as a reference tool to help incorporate health and safety into laboratory design, construction and renovation projects for UC Locations.


This new online version of the LSDM includes several new features that allow users more flexibility than previous versions.


Some of these features are:

  • Search function: Key words can be searched to find relevant information.
  • Glossary: A glossary is included to define terms that may not be familiar.
  • Hyperlinks: Links provide additional context to deeper content, references to regulations and UC policy documents.
  • Checklists: The site includes a feature that helps users create a checklist to review and print information using a shortened format.

Understanding the Different Requirement Levels

Mandatory - Regulatory Requirement (with Citation) or UC Policy (Policy Cited)

For the purposes of this online manual, a specific point of guidance shall be considered mandatory if required by legal standard, regulatory requirement from a controlling authority (e.g., California Division of Safety and Health [Cal/OSHA]) or adopted UC Policy (e.g., Facilities Manual). All Mandatory requirements shall be accompanied by the pertaining citation from the law, California Administrative Code or UC Policy Manual. Any alternate means must first be approved by the inspectional authority of the controlling agency or entity.


UC Practice (Default Standard)

For the purposes of this Manual, a specific point of guidance shall be considered UC Practice if adopted by the UC designated subject matter experts and put forward as the standard of care required to meet the performance requirement of pertaining regulatory framework, or mission critical funding agency (e.g., National Institutes of Health/Centers for Disease Control – Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories [NIH/CDC-BMBL]) in the absence of mandatory or engineering standards. Exceptions to UC Practice or alternate means must be reviewed and approved by the controlling authority (e.g., Fire Marshals, Biosafety Officers and Radiation Safety Officers.)


Recommended - Good Practice but not excluded from Value Engineering


LDSM Limitations

The Laboratory Safety Design Manual is not all-inclusive and should not be considered the final word on health and safety design requirements for UC buildings. The best use of the manual is as a resource for EH&S and Design professionals to inform their decisions during the design and construction process.