Suggestions for Regulation of Visitor Entry inside Laboratories

Suggestions for Regulation of Visitor Entry inside Laboratories
Receptionist permitting visitor entry after verifying credentials
Receptionist permitting visitor entry after verifying credentials

A laboratory is required to maintain its security through safety of operations and limited access to confidential information and test samples. Visitor access regulation goes a long way in achieving these objectives. It may not be possible to completely prohibit visitor entry as at times it has its own benefits. Let us first group the routine visitors into two categories

Desirable visitors

  • Auditing parties
  • Service and maintenance engineers
  • Cleaners and housekeeping staff
  • Customers who wish to observe the validity of techniques adopted for testing of their samples
  • Inspection agencies from government or regulatory bodies
  • Student groups and trainees whose visits are approved by the management

Not so desirable visitors

  • Competitors
  • Vendors and salesmen
  • Promoters of various schemes
  • Any other unauthorized persons

Discretion is necessary in deciding the access area for visitors under both the categories. Visitors under the second category should be allowed only up to the visitor area and the first category should be permitted access to laboratory areas provided the following guidelines are implemented:

Prior appointment

As far as possible the visitor should be made to seek prior appointment with the concerned scientist and in turn the scientist should inform the details to security and reception in advance so that the discussions can be held fruitfully without wastage of time.

Verification of credentials

Security should verify the credentials of the visitor such as name, contact details, organization, purpose of visit, etc and maintain a record including a photo provided web cam recording facilities are in place. The security staff should communicate safety instructions applicable and ensure that the visitor is not in possession of electronic recording devices, photographic cameras, mobiles, flammable materials or weapons before entry is granted After verification the visitor should be accompanied upto the reception so that he/she does not stray into unauthorized areas.

On reaching the reception the receptionist should inform the concerned scientist and arrange for escorted entry to the  laboratory section

During visit duration

During the duration of the visit the visitor should not be left unattended and care should be taken to ensure that he has no unauthorized access to hazardous materials, chemicals, laboratory test samples or sensitive data. This will prevent pilferage or willful meddling and contamination of test samples. On conclusion of visit the visitor should be escorted up to the reception area.

It is important to provide a visitor badge for easy identification and electronic access to the permitted area of the laboratory. A closed-circuit camera installed inside the lab will help keep a record of activities during the visitor’s stay for future reference, if needed.

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