5 Things to Consider When Designing a Medical Laboratory

  • Safety must be the number one priority when designing a medical laboratory.
  • The layout of the lab, availability of equipment, and moisture mitigation systems must be taken into account.
  • Following government regulations such as OSHA, CLIA, EPA, and ADA is essential for designing a medical laboratory in the US.
  • The lab must be accessible to individuals with disabilities.
  • Quality control and calibration are necessary to ensure optimal performance.

Designing a medical laboratory is an intricate process that requires careful consideration of various factors, ranging from equipment quality to the floor plan layout. Any flaw in the design process can lead to fatal errors that could put the lives of patients and lab technicians at risk. With this in mind, here are five things to remember when planning your lab design:


Safety is the most important factor when designing a medical laboratory. The workplace must be prepared for every eventuality, from using hazardous materials to the presence of deadly diseases. Therefore, creating an adequate ventilation system, proper waste disposal, and secure equipment storage are critical aspects that must not be overlooked.

In addition, it is also essential to consider the personnel in the lab – providing a secure working environment by implementing safety protocols and using ergonomic furniture should be part of your design plan.


Availability of the right equipment is integral to the success of any laboratory. When designing a medical lab, planning for the acquisition and installation of the latest equipment is essential. It would help if you also considered the space the equipment will occupy, the level of sophistication required, maintenance frequency, and calibration to ensure optimal performance.

Contamination Control

professional working in the laboratory

Any contaminants present in the lab could severely impact the accuracy of test results and the safety of patients. There are many ways to control contaminants, but incorporating a moisture mitigation system effectively keeps out moisture, mold, and mildew.

This system can range from simple dehumidifiers to advanced HVAC systems that regulate humidity levels. With a proper moisture mitigation system, the lab operators can rest easy knowing the instruments and procedures are working optimally, providing the best possible patient outcomes.


The layout of the medical laboratory must be carefully evaluated to ensure optimal efficiency. The circulation flow must be arranged to accommodate the movement of personnel and equipment, optimize the use of available space, and provide easy and quick access to all parts of the laboratory. As an example, separating the reception and staff areas from testing and examination rooms ensures privacy and security for all those who work in the lab.

Government regulations

Designing a medical laboratory requires more than just advanced technology and sophisticated equipment. The United States government has established several regulations that must be adhered to to ensure that the laboratory is safe and efficient. Here are a few:

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Standards

The first government regulation medical professionals should know is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Standards. OSHA sets safety and health standards for employers and their employees to reduce the risk of injury and illness in the workplace.

Medical laboratories are required to follow specific OSHA standards regarding hazardous materials handling, containment, and disposal. OSHA also mandates using personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimize risks of exposure to harmful chemicals and organisms.

Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)

The Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) is a crucial government regulation in the United States that holds significant importance when establishing medical laboratories. CLIA sets quality standards for testing human specimens in laboratories, ensuring the accuracy, reliability, and timeliness of patient test results.

CLIA regulations cover equipment, personnel, safety, and quality control. These regulations apply to all types of laboratory testing, including those done in physician offices, hospitals, and independent laboratories.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Standards

The third government regulation that must be followed when designing a medical laboratory in the US is established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA regulations cover the use and disposal of hazardous waste from medical laboratories.

Medical laboratories typically generate a substantial amount of hazardous waste, such as chemical reagents, preservatives, and contaminated specimen containers. To avoid contamination of the environment, the laboratory must follow proper disposal procedures for hazardous waste.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

pwd friendly facility

The fourth and final government regulation for designing a medical laboratory in the US is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities and mandates that all structures and public places accommodate individuals with disabilities.

When designing a medical laboratory, it is vital to keep in mind the accessibility of the facility for individuals with disabilities. The laboratory should have suitable entrances, hallways, doorways, and bathrooms accommodating individuals with disabilities.

Final Thoughts

Designing a medical laboratory is a delicate and complex process that requires careful planning, attention to detail, and thorough evaluation of various factors. By considering these factors, you can ensure that the medical lab is designed optimally, guaranteeing safety, efficiency, and an environment conducive to quality research and accurate results.

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