Applied Science BTEC Nationals/Working in the Science Industry

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Assignment Booklet[edit | edit source]

  • Issued 10 Sept
  • Final Deadline 21 Jan

Context[edit | edit source]

We continue to encounter many scientific challenges and at the centre of them all is the understanding and skill of the laboratory science technicians who work in a variety of places and scientific disciplines. The most important driving force in their success or failure will be how their laboratory is organised.

Laboratory technicians need to have a good understanding of how each of the specialist laboratories has individual requirements and also have generic procedures and practices. An understanding of safety regulations and the application of laboratory management information systems are essential. These combine to give an appreciation of how to run an efficient, effective and safe laboratory. This unit is crucial in underpinning the training of a science laboratory technician.

The unit starts by exploring the essential procedures and practices found in all laboratories. This is supported by a look at specialist laboratories. They are examined on their different individual requirements in terms of efficiency, effectiveness and safety. This unit gives learners an appreciation of how scientific data and records are kept in a modern laboratory information system. Finally, the unit provides an essential insight into how laboratories are organised today in the light of up-to-date safe working practices and safety regulations.

Learning Outcomes[edit | edit source]

On completion of this unit a learner should:

  1. Know how procedures are followed and information passed on in the laboratory
  2. Understand the design of a workplace with respect to its efficiency, effectiveness, safety and security
  3. Understand laboratory management information systems and a range of scientific computer applications
  4. Be able to demonstrate and understand safe working practices in the laboratory.

Assignment 1 (P1/M1/D1)[edit | edit source]

1a) Conduct a series of interviews with a Science Technician from each department, investigating procedures & practices commonly undertaken by them in a laboratory.

For each procedure/practice give a brief description & identify how they are communicated within the team

1b) Produce a spider diagram that highlights the main types of Science Technicians working within industry, and illustrates some of their main responsibilities.


1c) Submit evidence of documented procedures that you have used in the laboratory. This must include;

  • Method for wiring a plug (photograph)
  • Method for servicing a Bunsen burner (photograph)
  • Method for flaming glass (photograph)
  • Material disposal sheet
  • A simple Titration


Material Disposal Sheet (Task 1c – M1)

Conc HCl (50 cm3)
Potassium Iodide (20 g)
Radioactive Source
Benzene (500 cm3)
Copper Sulphate (20 g)
Inoculated Agar Plates
Ethanol (500 cm3)


EXPLAIN and ANALYSE why laboratory procedures and practices must be communicated in a laboratory.

You will need to make a judgement about the importance of communicating laboratory procedures to other laboratory personnel, giving reasons and examples to support your evaluation.



Assignment 2 (P2/M2/D2)[edit | edit source]


Laboratories obviously have special design requirements, and different types of laboratory have further specialist feature In this assignment you will produce a design for a laboratory for a company which is requesting bids for a new facility. You will have to describe why the design is fit for purpose..

Task 2a[edit | edit source]

Design features.

(This task meets criterion P2)

Identify the key features necessary in a laboratory (services, furniture, access, safety equipment, fume cupboard, storage, workspace, seating)

Laboratories specialise in many different areas:

  • microbiology
  • chemistry
  • biochemistry
  • pathology
  • haematology
  • physics
  • analysis
  • material science
  • forensic science
  • research
  • viscousity of car oil investigation


Anchem has different laboratories for microbiology, chemistry, asbestos, etc.

Morriston Hospital has laboratories for biochemistry, pathology and haematology.

How might the design aspects vary from one type of laboratory to another?

Research what types of equipment and design are used in various laboratory settings.

Task 2b[edit | edit source]

Your design.

(This task meets criterion M2)

Design a science laboratory for an independent science company. Include all the features you identified in Task 2a, or if anything is not relevant, explain why.

Draw a diagram of the laboratory layout on A3 paper, identifying the key features in the design of this specialist laboratory. Alternatively use the LDTL software you can download here.

On your diagram showing the design, add annotations to show its individual key features.

Remember to include the following universal features;

  • services,
  • furniture,
  • access,
  • safety equipment,
  • storage,
  • workspace
  • seating

Task 2c[edit | edit source]

Explaining your design.

(This task meets criterion D2)

To accompany your design from Task 2b, describe how the design is fit for purpose.


Safety requirements:

  • materials;
  • radioactive substances;
  • specialist equipment;
  • health and safety requirements;
  • waste disposal;
  • toxic and flammable substances;
  • storage;
  • specific safety equipment and clothing;


Efficiency & effectiveness

Explain why a good laboratory design is important for efficiency, effectiveness and safety of those using the lab space.


Assignment 3 (P3/M3/D3)[edit | edit source]

Prepare a table that;

  • Identifies the scientific data that may be stored and recorded in a laboratory (P3)
  • Describes the procedure for storing workplace data and necessary records in a laboratory management information system (M3)


  • identify the scientific data and records necessary for storage in an lab.
  • describe the framework for security and confidentiality in a lab.
  • Explain the advantages gained by keeping data and records on a laboratory management information system. (D3)

Assignment 4 (P4/M4/D4)[edit | edit source]

As a technician you have been asked to demonstrate safe working practices in a laboratory and describe their regulation. Complete the tasks below;

4a) Produce a risk assessment for flaming glass, include all associated risks, minimisation of risk & the action to be taken when incidents occur.

4b) Produce an A3 size poster, or a leaflet that describes the main legislation involved in safe working practices in a lab. Include;

  • Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) – risk assessments, safety policy
  • COSSH regulations (1994) – Toxic/flammable/microbiological
  • RIDDOR (1995)

4c) You will usually find a set of ‘Lab Rules’ in a science lab. They are there for your safety! The drawing on this web site shows a lab where there are no safety rules.

  1. Write down a list of all the things going wrong in this lab.
  2. For each of your answers, write a safety rule.
  3. Design a poster for your lab, showing one safety rule and the reason for having it


4d) Submit a discussion essay that explains HOW & WHY safe working practices in a laboratory are regulated.


  • CLEAPSS hazcards
  • Manufacturer’s data sheets
  • MSDS (material safety data sheet)
  • Good laboratory practice e.g. quality standards, UKAS BS 17025, BS EN ISO 9001
  • Risk Assessments
  • COSHH regulations (register)
  • HSE inspectors
  • UKAS assessments
  • Other relevant regulation/legislation

If you explain how – merit, if you go on to explain why – distinction

To achieve these criteria, attention should be paid to applying the most up to- date regulations in all working practices in today’s scientific environments

write an evaluation to why you think lims is good



Resources[edit | edit source]

Edexcel recommend the following resources except (*) which have been added later.

Textbooks[edit | edit source]

Atkinson C and Mariotte J — The Prep Room Organiser (Association for Science Education, 2003) ISBN 0863572839

Hutchings K — Classic Chemistry Experiments (The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2000) ISBN 0854049193

Morgan S — Advanced Level Practical Work for Biology (Hodder Murray, 2002) ISBN 0340847123

Websites[edit | edit source]

The Association for Science Education.

The Institute of Biology.

Office of Health and Safety (American website: has a set of scenarios that could provoke discussion).

Bio Rad science education.

GlaxoSmithKline virtual tour of genetics laboratories.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute virtual laboratory tours.


The Institute of Physics.

(go to: Publications; Laboratory Handbook; Full copy of the Handbook) Institute of Science Technology, Technician’s Handbook by Judson PF.

Society of Chemical Industry.

The Royal Society of Chemistry.

The Science Consortium.

Science Learning Centre, London.

Science Enhancement Programme.

Chemical Industry Education Centre (CIEC).

*What-not-to-do laboratory cartoon

*Download free LDTL laboratory design software from ASE