mike@standardsmichigan.com | Standards Michigan

Author Archives: mike@standardsmichigan.com



The Alchemist’s Laboratory – After the Picture of Breughel the Elder, engraved by Cock (Sixteenth Century) (1878)

Today we at 11 AM/EDT we host one of our periodic accounting review sessions of the best practice literature governing the safety and sustainability of instruction and research laboratories in the United States specifically; but also in global markets where many of our colleagues at research universities do their work.

Laboratories are technically complicated and sensitive area of concern for education communities not only responsible for the safety of instructional laboratories but also global communities that must simultaneously collaborate and compete.  We have been tip-toeing through the technical and political minefields for nearly a decade now and have had some modest success that contributes to higher safety and lower costs for the end user.

Like all of our daily sessions — open to everyone.  Use the login credentials at the upper right of our home page.



Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute

National Conference of Standards Laboratories

National Institute of Standards and Technology/Information Technology Laboratory

The NELAC Institute

Laboratory Safety Guidance

Biosafety Cabinetry


Laboratory Design

Chemical laboratory, Paris. 1760


Reposted by ANSI July 13, 2020



Last week the American National Standards Institute notified stakeholders that the Standardization Administration of China (SAC) — the ISO member body for China — has submitted a proposal for a new field of ISO technical activity on “Laboratory Design”.   The proposal bears resemblance to a notice of public consultation that was posted last year; now linked below:

ISO TSP 290 (Laboratory Design)

Comments on the (apparently revised) proposal are due at ANSI offices on August  3rd.

We refer you to Steve Cornish (scornish@ansi.org) and/or Henry Cheung (HCheung@ansi.org) at the American National Standards Institute.

We maintain consensus products of this nature on our Global and Laboratory teleconferences; open to everyone.  See our CALENDAR for the next online meeting.

Originally posted May 25, 2019


ISO Member Nations | Click on image


“Science, my boy, is made up of mistakes,

but they are mistakes which it is useful to make,

because they lead little by little to the truth.” 

― Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth


The Standardization Administration of China (SAC) — the ISO member body for China — has submitted a proposal for a new field of ISO technical activity on “Laboratory Design” with the following scope statement:

“…Standardization in the field of laboratory design including site selection and design planning, the functional division of experimental areas, the determination of scientific and technological processes, layouts and design of furniture, and the scientific design of the facility taking into account environmental conditions and impact.  Excluded:

– IEC/TC 64 (Electrical installations and protection against electric shock);
– IEC/TC 81 (Lightning protection);
– IEC/TC 66 (Safety of measuring, control and laboratory equipment);
– IEC/TC 85 (Measuring equipment for electrical and electromagnetic quantities).

Once the new TC is established, liaisons with other relevant ISO technical committees will be established, including ISO/TC 48(laboratory equipment), ISO/TC 212 (Clinical laboratory testing and in vitro diagnostic test systems)and CASCO as well as relevant IEC technical committees (IEC/TC 45(Nuclear instrumentation), IEC/TC 62 (Electrical equipment in medical practice), IEC/TC 65 (Industrial-process measurement, control and automation), IEC/TC 76 (Optical radiation safety and laser equipment) and IEC/TC 104 (Environmental conditions, classification and methods of test).  Note: the TC will support the contribution of the laboratory design industry to UN Sustainable Development Goals and enable countries to address a wide range of global issues including eradication of hunger and poverty, health, climate change and economic development….”

“…The new TC will stipulate technical design requirements for a diverse range of laboratories with different functions and responsibilities. It will include, but not limited to:

1. site selection and design planning;
2. layouts and design of furniture (e.g workbenches, fume hoods, safety showers, biological safety cabinets, etc);
3. electrical, water and gas supply systems, drainage, fire prevention, HVAC, auto-control and decoration;
4. laboratories featuring bio-safety, constant temperature and humidity, and other special laboratories;
5. laboratory safety, staff health, environmental protection, and energy saving;
6. Smart laboratory (use of new technologies such as big data, cloud computing, block chain, etc. to empower laboratories, e.g. increase the depth and width of services provided to clients, improve the servicing level during the consulting, design and maintenance phases.)…”

A Giant Traditional Chinese Painting | CLICK ON IMAGE

A Giant Traditional Chinese Painting | CLICK ON IMAGE

“…The setting up of laboratory design TC and establishment of laboratory design standards will benefit organizations and groups as follows:

      1. Laboratory owners (including governments, scientific agencies and enterprises, etc.): Laboratory owners will understand the principles and methods of laboratory design for better management of laboratory design, construction, acceptance and operation. The investment budget will have a reference basis; construction cost will be better controlled; investment risk will be lowered; project quality can be better evaluated; construction cycle will be shortened; capital usage efficiency will be raised;
      1. Laboratory designers: Laboratory designers will understand the principles and methods of laboratory design, and will have standards to follow and verify by, make fewer design faults and ensure laboratory design to be more scientific and professional; laboratory environmental facility will be improved in terms of safety, energy conservation, environmental friendliness, as well as impacts on human health and well-being.
      1. Laboratory constructors: Laboratory constructors will have construction and acceptance standards to refer to; the construction quality will be raised; technology advancement will be promoted; the industry will be further regulated.
      1. Laboratory users: Laboratory users will understand the principles and methods of laboratory design; stakeholders can communicate with each other in a more informed way and evaluate laboratories based on common standards, making laboratory use, operation and management more scientific and regulated. Smart laboratories will allow more functions and add value by integrating technologies of big data, cloud computing and internet of things, etc.
      1. Laboratory operators: Laboratory operators will understand the principles and methods of laboratory design, which will facilitate the maintenance of laboratories; Smart laboratories will enable the remote digital control of laboratory operation and facilitate reliable, efficient and convenient maintenance.
      1. Society:  The society will be able to cultivate more professional personnel in the field of laboratory design; a more sound and fair development of laboratory design and construction both home and abroad will be facilitated; more energy-saving and environmental-friendly design will promote the sustainable development of the society; the premium laboratories will inspire the creativity of researchers and promote the advancement and development of technologies. Smart laboratories will facilitate technological progress, product quality improvement, data recognition as well as international trade….”

“Louis Pasteur” | Albert Edelfelt (1885)

If the proposal is accepted, China is willing to undertake the work of secretariat of the new TC and will provide all necessary resources including financial and human resources as well as facility supports.   A partnership agreement between China and France at committee level is foreseen.   

Anyone wishing to review the proposal can request a copy by contacting ANSI’s ISO Team (isot@ansi.org), with a submission of comments to Steve Cornish (scornish@ansi.org) by close of business on Friday, June 28th

N.B. This proposal will be featured in an ANSI Online news story and open for public review and comments from relevant US stakeholders via notice in Standards Action. In addition, ANSI will conduct targeted outreach to gather input on this proposal.  Based on the input received from US stakeholders, a recommended ANSI position and any comments will be developed and presented to the AIC for approval before the ISO voting deadline of August 13, 2019.  Contact Steve Cornish (scornish@ansi.org)

ANSI’s due process requirements were applied to this ISO/SIA/AFNOR proposal and comment from US stakeholders were consulted.  It appears that most US stakeholders do NOT want to participate in the development of this standard as currently written.   The public comments are available from Henry Cheung (HCheung@ansi.org) who has also prepared a draft statement from ANSI.

Comments on the draft statement are due August 2nd.  


Perspective:  We have been down this road before.  The original University of Michigan user-interest advocacy enterprise — through ANSI — was persuasive in having “facilities” struck from the scope of the original ISO TC/276 Biotechnology project proposal (Global Secretariat: Deutsches Institut für Normung) back in 2012.  Now we circle back to a proposal that captures the facility component as an articulated enterprise which, in large research colleges and universities, is a delicate risk aggregation that generates significant revenue.

As always, we are happy to discuss any consensus product coming from anywhere on earth that affects the safety and sustainability agenda of the education facility industry.   Just click the login credentials at the upper right of our home page any day at 11 AM Eastern time.    We also sweep through the status of international consensus products emerging from ISO, IEC and ITU technical and management committees.  See our CALENDAR for the next online meeting; open to everyone.

Issue: [19-134]

Category: Academic, International

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Christine Fischer, Jack Janveja, Richard Robben, Markus Scheufele, Larry Spielvogel

Source: ANSI Standards Action | Page 33




Laboratory chemical safety fixtures

“Der Alchemist” c. 1908 / Max Fuhrmann

We use European Norm 15154-1 and 15154-2 to enlighten differences about laboratory risk is managed among different nations — specifically between the United States and Europe. The education industry has many instructional, research and healthcare settings in which laboratory chemicals are routinely used.  The laboratories specifically, are significant revenue generators in research universities.  We contribute to leading practice discovery for any technology that reduces risk to people and property.  As we are classified as a “user-interest” in the global standards systems; we are also attentive to budget risk.

The European Norm documents are developed as a pair as shown below:

EN 15154-1 Emergency safety showers – Part 1: Plumbed-in body showers for laboratories – This document is a product specification, giving performance requirements for emergency safety body showers connected to the water supply. It is applicable to plumbed-in body showers only, located in laboratory facilities. It is not applicable to emergency safety showers used on industrial sites or in other such areas. Requirements are given in respect of the performance, installation, adjustment and marking of the showers as well as installation, operation and maintenance instructions to be given by the manufacturer. NOTE Attention is drawn to national regulations which may apply in respect of the installation and use of emergency safety showers.

EN 15154-2 Emergency safety showers – Part 2: Plumbed-in eye wash units – This document is a product specification, giving performance requirements for emergency safety eye wash units connected to the water supply. It is applicable to plumbed-in eye wash units only. Requirements are given in respect of the performance, installation, adjustment and marking of the eye wash units, as well as installation, operation and maintenance instructions to be given by the manufacturer. NOTE Attention is drawn to national regulations which may apply in respect of the installation and use of eye wash units.

The current version is dated 2006; to best of our knowledge (though there may be local adaptions that are dated later).  The European Committee for Standardization website may contain more information about status and developmental trajectory.  The International Organization for Standardization also administers two technical committees (ISO/TC 48 and ISO/TC212) also involved in laboratory safety and sustainability concepts.

We do not advocate user-interest safety and sustainability concepts in this pair of standards at the moment.  However, we do use EN 15154 et. al, for comparative purposes; setting it against the prevailing United State standard produced by the International Safety Equipment Association — ISEA 358.1-2014 Emergency Eyewash and Shower Standard.   We harvest public participation opportunities in the ISEA suite, and others, during our periodic Laboratory teleconferences.   See our CALENDAR for the next online teleconference; open to everyone.


Issue: [13-28] [15-271] [19-155]

Category: International, Laboratory Safety, Mechanical, Plumbing,

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Mark Schaufele, Richard Robben

Electrical Safety in Academic Laboratories

Nikola Tesla, with his equipment / Credit: Wellcome Library, London

At the IEEE Industrial Applications Society meetings last month in Calgary, Alberta Canada, three electrical engineering professors discussed their experiences and recommendations for electrical safety in academic settings where the teaching, research and manufacturing activity take place under the same roof; often necessarily so.  Owing to copyright restrictions upon pre-publication intellectual property we are only able to provide some of the results of the research, summarized below.   We are happy to drill down into greater detail during our monthly laboratory safety standards teleconferences.  See our CALENDAR for the next online meeting; open to everyone.

We collaborate closely with the IEEE Education & Healthcare Facilities Committee which meets 4 times monthly in European and American time zones.  Risk managers, electrical safety inspectors, facility managers and others are welcomed to click into those teleconferences also.  We expect that concepts and recommendations this paper will find their way into future revisions of US and international electrical safety codes and standards.  There is nothing stopping education facility managers from applying the findings immediately.

College of Engineering and Technology, Bhubaneswar India

Electrical Safety of Academic Laboratories | 2019-PSEC-0204

Presented at the 55th IEEE Industrial Applications Society I&CPS Technical Conference | Calgary, Alberta Canada | May 6-9, 2019


Rodolfo Araneo, University of Rome “La Sapienza” | rodolfo.araneo@ieee.org

Payman Dehghanian, George Washington University | payman@gwu.edu

Massimo Mitolo, Irvine Valley College | mitolo@ieee.org


Abstract. Academic laboratories should be a safe environment in which one can teach, learn, and conduct research. Sharing a common principle, the prevention of potential accidents and imminent injuries is a fundamental goal of laboratory environments. In addition, academic laboratories are attributed the exceptional responsibility to instill in students the culture of the safety, the basis of risk assessment, and of the exemplification of the prudent practice around energized objects.  Undergraduate laboratory assignments may normally be framed based upon the repetition of established experiments and procedures, whereas, academic research laboratories may involve new methodologies and/or apparatus, for which the hazards may not be completely known to the faculty and student researchers. Yet, the academic laboratory should be an environment free of electrical hazards for both routine experiments and research endeavors, and faculty should offer practical inputs and safety-driven insights to academic administration to achieve such a paramount objective. In this paper, the authors discuss the challenges to the electrical safety in modern academic laboratories, where users may be exposed to harmful touch voltages.


A. Electricity and Human Vulnerabilities

B. Electrical Hazards in Academic Laboratories





A. Basic Rules of Engagement

B. Unidirectional Impulse Currents




Safety is the most important practice in an academic laboratory as “safety and productivity are on the same team”.  Electrical measurement and electrically-powered equipment of various brands and models are common in both teaching and research laboratories, highlighting the need to maintaining them continuously in an electrically-safe status.  Annual reports on the occurrence of electrical hazards (i.e. shocks and injuries) in academic laboratory environments primarily discover the (i) lack of knowledge on using the electrical equipment, (ii) careless use of the energized electric facilities, and (iii) faulty electrical equipment or cords. The above does call for the establishment of safety-driven codes, instructions, and trainings for the academic personnel working with or near such devices for teaching, learning, experiments, and research. This paper provided background information on the concept of electrical safety in the academic laboratories, presented the safety challenges of modern academic laboratories, and offered solutions on how enhance the lab environment and research personnel safety awareness to avoid and control electrical hazards.

Issue: [19-129]

Category: Electrical, Facility Asset Management, Fire Safety, International

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Rodolfo Araneo, Payman Dehghanian, Jim Harvey, Massimo Mitolo, Joe Tedesco



To order this paper:

IEEE Catalog Number: CFP19CPS-ART (Xplore)
ISBN: 978-1-5386-7551-9 2158-4907 (Xplore)
IEEE Catalog Number: CFP19CPS-USB (USB)
ISBN: 978-1-5386-7550-2 (USB)
Online ISSN: 2158-4907

Copies of this publication may be ordered from:


+1 800 678 IEEE (+1 800 678 4333)



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Our algorithm smashes horizontally through an expanding constellation best practice literature released by 1000-odd standard setting organizations every day.  These organizations throw off the better part of 10,000 titles relevant to the safety and sustainability agenda of education communities.  Many of these titles (consensus products) compete with proposals on in same, or similar domain, produced by cash-rich insiders (market-makers) at all levels of government.

The education industry in the United States is vulnerable to market-making; described at length in our ABOUT.  Education is the foundational industry for every industry; in every nation.  Every technology, every management philosophy and every hope for the future runs through it.  Once you have mastered the drudgery of making sense of all the codes, standards, recommended practices, guidance documents and similar best practice literature you are in the best position to innovate, to drive leading practice into the industry; now undergoing singular disruption.

Our raison d’être is doing; rather than teaching.  We hold daily teleconferences out of respect for the intellectual property of standards setting organizations and the blistering pace of consensus product development; much of it inspired by conformance business models.

We have been meeting online every day to reckon with these business models since 2013 and it works for “code writing-and vote-getting; a discipline distinct from the economic activity of all other non-profits in this domain.   There is no substitute for getting data-driven ideas discussed by an open and balanced technical committee that conforms to §2.3 Due Process Requirements for American National Standards.  Absent the US Standards Strategy incumbent stakeholders will make their markets in legislative bodies — summer interns prepping for “jobs in the political and administrative processes of government” in Congress, for example.

The American National Standards Institute has a standards education enterprise that we recommend: Training Courses in Standardization & Related Matters.   The education programs offered by the Geneva global standardization bodies are linked below:

IEC Academy & Capacity Building

ISO Training in International Standardization

ITU Training Overview

Several universities offer formal for-credit courses in standardization; most of them outside the United States.

In recent years we have tracked the emergence of several non-profit standards evangelizing organizations who are paid to spread the Word about standardization for incumbent stakeholders.   There are are fair number of them now —  curating standardization content — as a simple web search will reveal.  These non-profits do not engage in the heavy lifting required by the “code-writing and vote-getting” we explain in our ABOUT.  They may be a good source for citizens of education communities who want to know what is happening among people on the public policy grid.



Monday | September 21 | Laboratories | 4-GMT

Standing Agenda / Laboratories


Tuesday | September 22 | Infotech | 4-GMT

Standing Agenda / Infotech


Wednesday | September 23 | Nota Bene | 4-GMT

Live public consultation that close within 30-45 days.

Standing Agenda / Nota Bene


Thursday | September 24 | Dental & Nursing | 4-GMT

Standing Agenda / Dental & Nursing


Friday | September 21 | Lively Arts | 4-GMT

Media production audio visual

Standing Agenda / Lively Arts







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*Not all public consultation relevant to education community spaces appear in “ANSI Standards Action”. Many best practice standards reside in consortia and open-source platforms; particularly ICT and IoT standards. In many economic spaces, privately-developed consensus products compete with local, state and federal legislative proposals.


Higher Education Laboratories

“Der Alchemist” (1908) / Max Fuhrmann

Safety and sustainability concepts for research and healthcare delivery cut across many disciplines and standards suites.   As we show in our previous post, we follow action in the International Fire Code, particularly Chapter 38 which sets the standard of care — as far as fire safety is concerned — for an occupancy class which typically delivers significant revenue for most research universities.

The International Code Council provides free access to current editions of its consensus products.  Chapter 38 is linked below:

2018 International Fire Code / Chapter 38 / Higher Education Laboratories

Keep in mind that revisions to the chapter linked above are already in process.  We will continue tracking #TotalCostofOwnership concepts for this facility class during our monthly Laboratory  & Health teleconferences; open to everyone.  See our CALENDAR for the next online meeting.

We encourage our colleagues to participate directly in the ICC Code Development process.   The next revision of the International Fire Code will be undertaken accordingly to the ICC 2021/2022 Code Development schedule; the timetable linked below:


We encourage directly employed front line staff of a school district, college or university that does not operate in a conformance/compliance capacity — for example, a facility manager of an academic unit — to join a committee.   These subject matter experts generally have a user-interest point of view.

Contact Kimberly Paarlberg (kpaarlberg@iccsafe.org) for information about how to do so


Issue 16-69

Category: Fire Safety, Facility Asset Management

Colleagues: Joe DeRosier, Josh Elvove, Mark Schaufele

Archive / Higher Education Laboratories



Safe Use of Lasers in Research

Sir Isaac Newton (?) showing an optical experiment to an audience in his laboratory. Wood engraving by Martin after C. Laverie.

The Laser Institute of America (LIA) is revising Z136.8 Standard for Safe Use of Lasers in Research, Development or Testing.  This standard provides recommendations for the safe use of lasers and laser systems that operate at wavelengths between 180 nm and 1 mm and are used to conduct research or used in a research, development, or testing environment. This environment is not limited to universities and national laboratories, but includes medical research facilities and high-tech product development evaluation settings.

You may obtain the public review draft at the link below:


Comments due September 21st.

Send comments (with optional copy to psa@ansi.org) to: Liliana Caldero (lcaldero@lia.org)

Universität Wien


We maintain the LIA consensus product suite on the standing agenda of our periodic Laboratory and Nota Bene teleconferences.  See our CALENDAR for the next meeting.

Issue: [13-37]

Category: Facilities Asset Management, Risk Management, Public Safety

Colleagues: Richard Robben, Markus Schaufele

Source: ANSI Standards Action

Agenda / Laboratory Safety & Sustainability Standards



State and local government laser safety requirements

Emergency Shower & Eyewash Testing

The Alchemist’s Laboratory – After the Picture of Breughel the Elder, engraved by Cock (Sixteenth Century) (1878)


We found one university-affiliated hospital with ~900 beds

was monitoring compliance of ~900 eyewash stations

— i.e. an eyewash station for every “paying customer”


Since 2013 we have struggled for years to install performance-based inspection, testing and maintenance methods into this particular regulatory product developed by the International Safety Equipment Association which is intended to protect occupants from chemicals needed in classrooms, research laboratories and healthcare delivery settings:

Standard for Emergency Eyewash and Shower Stations: ANSI/ISEA Z358.1-2014

Performance-based standards, common in safety assurance regimes elsewhere in the world, permit site-specific risk calibration based on national, state, or scientific guidelines, benchmarking against similar organizations, the public’s or leaders’ expectations, or other methods.

Performance standards permit organizations responsible for worker safety to scale their conformance resources across a fully dimensioned risk-space.  In other words, in many organizations, there may be far greater risks that require remediation than the eyewash and emergency shower stations that must be installed every 75 feet, supplied with water between 68 and 72 degrees, and tested every week (CLICK HERE for more information about plumbing higher education laboratories).

Prescriptive standards, on the other hand, require fixed interval inspection testing and maintenance (i.e. chargeable time).  Prescriptive standards are comparatively easy for compliance officers to enforce compared with performance standards.

We assert, without hesitation, that prescriptive standards make litigation easier.  Risk management professionals in higher education are characterized, broadly speaking, by their risk aversion.  Nothing necessarily wrong with that but many organizations are unable to finance the resources for a cross-cutting point of view that hastens decisions on balancing risk.  Inspection expertise is organized into “silos” which do not offer well-meaning safety inspectors a fully dimensioned view of risk across the full sweep of assets and operations.

In laboratory chemical safety, the dominant standard for emergency showers and eyewashes is the subject ISEA consensus product; widely referenced in many other related consensus products.   Like many ISEA consensus products, it is developed according to ANSI’s Canvass Method of standards development; not our favorite method for the user-interest in leading practice discovery but better than no method at all.

Of the two technologies covered in this product we find that the emergency shower requirement is especially burdensome; though safety equipment manufacturers have developed products to reduce the testing risk.

Late last year ISEA released a public request for data to inform the 2019 revision as described in the link below:

ANSI -ISEA Z358.1 Drench Shower Validation RFQ

In early 2020 ISEA announced that it is assembling another canvass committee to re-affirm  Z358.1 .  The word “re-affirm” may well indicate that the updated revision will be identical to the previous version; maybe not.  ISEA expects to initiate consensus balloting by the end of 1Q 2020 although that trajectory may be impeded by the pandemic.

ISEA Seeking Consensus Panel Participants on Emergency Eyewash/Shower Voluntary Industry Standard

ISEA posted an commenting opportunity in ANSI Standards Action that it would be re-affirming the 2014 revision to Z358.1.   Comments are due May 25th.

We encourage our colleagues in the education facility industry to communicate directly with Christine Fargo (cfargo@safetyequipment.org).  The landing page for standards action on other ISEA consensus products is linked below:

ISEA Standards

We are happy to drill into any consensus product affecting #TotalCostofOwnership of the safety and sustainability agenda of the education facility industry any day at 11 AM Eastern time.  Additionally, we also host dedicated work sessions on Laboratories, Health and Risk  standards teleconferences.   See our CALENDAR for the next online meeting.

Issue: [13-28] and [16-69]

Contact: Mike Anthony, Richard Robben, Mark Schaufele, Ron George



Archive / ISEA 358.1

IEEE: Beyond electrical heat tracing: safety showers update


S. 3512 / Authority for regulating laboratory-developed testing procedures

115th Congress. Photo Credit: Pew Research Center

This bill is in the first stage of the legislative process. It was introduced into Congress on March 17, 2020. It will typically be considered by committee next before it is possibly sent on to the House or Senate as a whole.

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