Work Plan - Structure

All staff and students must write a work plan for the experimental work they plan to undertake. This document should include the following information:

Cover Page

  • Work plan Number (given by in-charge technical staff)
  • Work plan Title
  • Name of researcher(s)
  • Name of project supervisor(s)
  • Date of submission
  • Location of Experiment

Work Plan Content

  1. Experiment /Project Description
  • There should be an overall description of the objectives, methods and measurements to be undertaken as well as a diagram or schematic of the proposed experiment.
  1. Equipment List
  • List all items of equipment required for the experiment
  • Location of the equipment 
  • Operation conditions: a list of the range of experimental conditions including (but not limited to) flow rates, temperature, pressure, reagent concentrations (pH), etc.
  • Service list for the equipment: a list of all the required services for the experimental program, including: fume extraction (dedicated fume hood), electricity (phase and current), compressed air and other gases, water (tap, deionized, chilled), etc.; 
  1. Procedure Template
  • Itemize the proper steps of the experimental procedure in the procedure template.
  • Detailed description of the operation of the experiment, including preparation, sampling and analysis, with particular attention to any hazardous operations (e.g. transport /transfer of dangerous materials) even if only peripheral to the main experiment. Each experimental procedure must specify the location where the experiment will be carried out, e.g. in which lab, and whether it will be in the fume hood or bench top. The quantity of chemicals, and reagents should also be specified. Superscript the chemicals so that it can be related to the chemical list in item 5. Itemize each segment of experiment so that this can be correlated to Risk Assessment analysis that you need to identify as described in item 4.
  • State whether the experimental procedure is an established experimental procedure (give appropriate references) or a new experimental procedure (with a statement that the initial experiments will be performed at the smallest practical scale in a high efficiency fume hood with appropriate protective clothing, and the identification of any unexpected risks and hazards).
  1. Risk Assessment Template
  • Prepare a Risk Assessment template that summarizes the risk assessment for EACH experimental procedure. This must correlate with the Procedure Template prepared in item 3. Experimental procedures and risk assessment must be cross correlated using the same numbering system in both item 3 and item 4. Item 4 identifies and evaluates hazards to both the operator and others working in the vicinity for each experimental procedure, irrespective of whether significant hazards are identified.
  • Risk Assessment proposes preventative measures including:
    - personal protective equipment required e.g. face shield, goggles, laboratory coat, gloves, ear defenders, etc.
    - warning signs required e.g. high voltage 
    - specific training required e.g. laser operation, biological safety hood, etc.
    - special monitoring required e.g. chronic toxins
    - vaccinations if working with live pathogens
    - fire hazards of experimental procedures or equipment
    - emergency shutdown procedures
  1. Chemicals List
  • List all the chemical reagents used in the experimental program, preferably including their quantity, composition /concentration and (where appropriate) preparation procedures. Note that the chemicals are already tagged with a superscript number in the procedure section in item 3.
  • Waste List related to chemicals listed or resulted from experimental procedures.
  • The information presented should include the physical form of the waste, its approximate composition (concentration), volume /mass, how often it will likely be produced and procedures for its safe disposal
  • Summary of relevant Hazards and Incompatibilities from Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs)
  1. Biological Agents List
  • ALL biological agents listed in Procedure Template (Section 3) MUST be included. 
  • Bio-waste Handling -State the general procedures to handle bio waste.
  • List the risk group classification (B.S.L Level) of ALL biological agents used and provide the B.S.L information from a reputable source (e.g. USA American Biological Safety Association A.B.S.A., CDC/NIH and NIH for RDNA., World Health Organization, and/or various National Organizations in Australia, Canada, and European Union (EU)).

    Biological materials used in CBE by researchers are usually classified as Biological Safety Level 1 (BSL1). Therefore, experiments may, in theory, may be undertaken on an open bench. However, we strongly recommend researchers use Bio-Safety Cabinets (BSC).Working inside the biosafety cabinet (BSC) is mainly for preventing product contamination, not primarily for environmental/ personnel protection. 

    When handling a BSL1 agent, following the standard microbiological practices in the lab should provide adequate protection. The user is required to wear a lab coat and gloves when handling these agents. Decontamination after experiment should be carried out using chemical disinfectants.

    All the BSC in CBE are classified as Class II which can handle BSL2 agent. However, we do NOT encourage researchers to work with BSL2 organisms of biological agents, since these may pose moderate to high risk and the set of BSL2 precautions (see below) may not easily be implemented in CBE laboratories where there are frequently multi-users of the laboratories. Researchers should explore alternative options which are BSL1 or use a non-CBE designated BSL2 laboratory at HKUST.

    The BSL2 agent may pose moderate to high risk to the environment and personnel. Therefore any experimental procedures which may cause splashing or aerosol generation MUST be handled inside the BSC to prevent exposure. These procedures include pipetting, centrifugation, cell sorting, sonication, etc.

    When working with a BSL2 agent, it is not only required to work inside a Class II BSC but a set of more strict BSL2 precautions must be followed to minimize the potential of contamination. These include assess control, sterilization of biohazard wastes by steam autoclave, labelling, sharp object management and medical surveillance for the researchers, etc. 
    These are listed in Chapter 9, Biological Safety, Safety and Environmental Protection Manual,
  1. Action in Case of Abnormal or Emergency Situations
  • proposed actions covering 
  • service failure
  •  fire or explosion 
  • loss of containment or spillage 
  • other possible abnormal situations
  1. CBE Risk Assessment Audit Declaration
    (download in  Form D: CBE Risk Assessment Audit Declaration and complete it)



  1. Please refer to the “ Form C: Example of Work Plan Template
  2. In the course of experiments, the researcher may need to make changes to his/her work plan. These include experimental procedures, additional chemical or gas usage, or additional instrumentation. In these cases, please highlight the relevant changes in the work plan amendment.