The primary objective in laboratory design should be to provide a safe, accessible, and comfortable environment for laboratory personnel to conduct their work. A secondary objective is to allow for the maximum flexibility for safe research use. Undergraduate teaching laboratories require additional specific design considerations. Therefore, health and safety hazards shall be anticipated and carefully evaluated so that protective measures can be incorporated into the design wherever possible. However, no matter how well designed a laboratory is, improper use of its facilities will always defeat the engineered safety features. Proper education of the facility users is essential.

The General Requirements listed below illustrate some of the basic health and safety design features required for new and remodeled laboratories. Variations from these guidelines need approval from the campus EH&S, fire protection, and radiation protection organizations.