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Laboratory Security Awareness

Attacks on the United States with biological and chemical weapons is an increasing concern and academic laboratories are a potential target for individuals wanting access to explosive precursor materials, biological toxins, and equipment.  This information is intended to raise awareness for potential chemical and biosecurity risks in academic labs and actions we can take to report suspicious behavior and mitigate potential issues. 

This short video emphasizes the importance of maintaining awareness in the academic laboratory environment and provides guidance for reporting suspicious activities. Chemical Indicators – Laboratory Security Awareness

Use the following guidelines to help identify suspicious behavior and enhance chemical security awareness in university laboratories:

  • Be aware of unknown individuals trying to access the lab or requesting to borrow chemicals or equipment.
  • Maintain a chemical and equipment inventory and be aware of missing supplies or chemicals.
  • Let your supervisor know if you receive a request from an unidentified person asking questions about scientific processes or other technical information.  Be aware of emails that look like they are associated with legitimate entities ( or
  • Use an ordering system to quickly identify any purchases that are charged to the lab but never delivered, or items delivered that don’t have a corresponding lab purchase order.
  • Always lock the lab when it is unoccupied, even if only leaving for a short time (i.e. phone call, bathroom or eating break, etc.).
  • Mention any suspicious activity to your lab supervisor.

Report Suspicious Activities:
WCU Department Head
WCU Campus Police 828-227-8911 (emergency), 828-227-7301 (non-emergency)
WCU Safety and Risk Management Office: 828-227-7443

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