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Follow the links below to find material targeted to the unit's elements, performance criteria, required skills and knowledge

Elements and Performance Criteria

  1. Establish client needs and schedule analysis
  2. Prepare samples and standards
  3. Set up and optimise instrument
  4. Perform analysis
  5. Process and analyse data
  6. Maintain a safe work environment
  7. Maintain laboratory records

Required Skills

Required skills

Required skills include

interpreting client requests test methods and procedures

setting up and shutting down equipment safely and following enterprise procedures

checking the calibrationqualification status of equipment

preparing standards and samples

choosing and optimising procedures and equipment settings to suit sampletest requirements

operating equipment to obtain valid and reliable data

making approved adjustments to procedures for nonroutine samples

recognising atypical dataresults

identifying potential sources of uncertainty

troubleshooting common analytical procedure and equipment problems

applying theoretical knowledge to interpret data and make relevant conclusions

calculating recording and reporting dataresults in accordance with enterprise procedures

maintaining security integrity and traceability of samples and documentation

followingoccupational health and safety OHS procedures and principles of good laboratory practice GLP

Required knowledge

Required knowledge includes

electrophoretic principles and concepts related to instrumentation operation material preparation and testing

handling of unstable or hazardous chemicals or samples andor the fragilelabile nature of biological material

sample preparation procedures

function of key components of the equipment

use of different electrophoresis procedures for analysis of specific samples

effects on results of modifying instrumental variables such as field strength constant current and constant power

procedures for optimising separation through changing operation parameters such as buffers pH and detection methods

basic procedure and equipment troubleshooting procedures

preparation and use of calibration charts andor standards

calculation procedures to give results in appropriate precision units and uncertainty

basic equipment maintenance procedures

enterprise andor legal traceability requirements

relevant health safety and environment requirements

Specific industry

Additional knowledge requirements may apply for different industry sectors For example

Biomedical and environmental services

techniques that capitalise on biological properties to assist in electrophoretic separations

Evidence Required

The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria required skills and knowledge range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package

Overview of assessment

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit

Assessors should ensure that candidates can

interpret client requests test methods and procedures accurately

safely set up and shut down equipment using enterprise procedures

check the calibrationqualification status of equipment

prepare standards and samples appropriately

choose and optimise procedures and equipment settings to suit sampletest requirements

operate equipment to obtain valid and reliable data

make approved adjustments to procedures for nonroutine samples

recognise atypical dataresults

troubleshoot common analytical procedure and equipment problems

apply theoretical knowledge to interpret data and make relevant conclusions

record and report dataresults in accordance with enterprise procedures

maintain security integrity and traceability of samples and documentation

follow OHS procedures and principles of GLP

Context of and specific resources for assessment

This unit of competency is to be assessed in the workplace or simulated workplace environment

This unit of competency may be assessed with

MSLA Analyse data and report results

MSL925001A Analyse data and report results.

Resources may include

standard laboratory equipped with routine electrophoresis equipment laboratory reagents and equipment

SOPs and testing methods

Method of assessment

The following assessment methods are suggested

review of test dataresults obtained by the candidate over time to ensure accuracy consistency and timeliness of results

inspection of test records and workplace documentation completed by the candidate

feedback from peers and supervisors

observation of candidate applying a range of electrophoretic techniques

oral or written questioning of chemical principles and concepts electrophoretic techniques and enterprise procedures

In all cases practical assessment should be supported by questions to assess underpinning knowledge and those aspects of competency which are difficult to assess directly

Where applicable reasonable adjustment must be made to work environments and training situations to accommodate ethnicity age gender demographics and disability

Access must be provided to appropriate learning andor assessment support when required

The language literacy and numeracy demands of assessment should not be greater than those required to undertake the unit of competency in a work like environment

This competency in practice

Industry representatives have provided the case studies below to illustrate the practical application of this unit of competency and to show its relevance in a workplace setting


The advent of DNA typing in the mids has enormously increased the ability of forensic technicians to identify individuals uniquely by testing a variety of their body fluids found at the crime scene The samples obtained from the scene are first treated to extract the DNA with short tandem repeated STR markers After isolating the DNA from its cells specific regions are copied by the polymerase chain reaction PCR The resulting PCR products are then separated and detected in order to characterise the STR region being examined The most common separation methods used today are slab gel and capillary electrophoresis CE

Given the enormous number of DNA samples to be processed technicians frequently run fully automated injection separation and detection stops They use computerised data acquisition to enable rapid analysis and subsequent searching of digital storage of DNA results

Food processing

Technicians who work in the food and beverage processing industries regularly monitor the purity of food additives such as dyes and colouring agents in products such as sweets and soft drinks For example technicians may sample a batch of soft drink by low temperature evaporation of a known percentage of the water and then subject the remains to electrophoresis separation technique In this way both the identification and concentration of a dye or other additive present in the soft drink can be determined Technicians may also be required to examine the electrophoresis results for any indication of harmful or toxic impurities which may have inadvertently contaminated the product Quality control and use of appropriate standards are important components of these analytical procedures

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Codes of practice

Where reference is made to industry codes of practice, and/or Australian/international standards, it is expected the latest version will be used

Standards, codes, procedures and/or enterprise requirements may include:

Australian and international standards, such as:

AS ISO 17025-2005 General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories

AS/NZS 2243 Set:2006 Safety in laboratories set

AS/NZS 2982.1:1997 Laboratory design and construction - General requirements

AS/NZS ISO 14000 Set:2005 Environmental management standards set

AS/NZS ISO 9000 Set:2008 Quality management systems set

AS ISO 1000-1998 The international system of units (SI) and its application

Australian code of good manufacturing practice for medicinal products (GMP)

calibration and maintenance schedules

cleaning, hygiene and personal hygiene requirements

data quality procedures

enterprise procedures, SOPs and operating manuals

enterprise recording and reporting procedures

equipment startup, operation and shutdown procedures

incident and accident/injury reports

material safety data sheets (MSDS)

material, production and product specifications

national measurement regulations and guidelines

principles of GLP

production and laboratory schedules

quality manuals, equipment and procedure manuals

quality system and continued improvement processes

safety requirements for equipment, materials or products

sampling procedures (labelling, preparation, storage, transport and disposal)

schematics, work flows and laboratory layouts

statutory and enterprise OHS requirements

stock records and inventory

test procedures (validated and authorised)

training program contents

waste minimisation, containment, processing and disposal procedures

Electrophoretic methods, including both analytical and preparative procedures

Electrophoretic methods, including both analytical and preparative procedures, may use:

vertical or horizontal apparatus

support materials, such as cellulose acetate

gels, such as agarose and polyacrylamide

buffer solutions

denaturing electrophoresis, such as SDS-PAGE

blot transfer procedures in conjunction with electrophoresis, such as Western and Southern Blot transfers, agarose and polyacrylamide DNA gels

capillary electrophoresis

Preparation of sample

Preparation of sample may include pre-treatment processes, such as:

identification of any hazardous properties associated with the samples and/or analytical chemicals

grinding, dissolving, extraction, centrifuging, refluxing, evaporation, washing and drying

determination of and, if appropriate, removal of any contaminants, impurities or interfering substances


Tests may include methods for:

control of starting materials, in-process materials and finished products (e.g. food and manufacturing)

therapeutic drug analysis

forensic testing

diagnostic pathology tests

determination of chemical analytes

special conditions for handling minute sample volumes

environmental monitoring

problem solving techniques for non-routine samples

troubleshooting enterprise processes

Common analytical procedure and equipment problems

Common analytical procedure and equipment problems may include:

problems with interfering substances

inappropriate support material or operating procedures

toxic or hazardous materials, including impurities in samples

lack of suitable or high purity reference standards

changes in operating variables, such as field strength, constant current, constant power, buffers and pH

problems with obtaining adequate sample volume


Hazards may include:

electric shock


microbiological organisms and agents associated with soil, air, water, blood and blood products, and human or animal tissue and fluids




acids (e.g. sulphuric, perchloric and hydrofluoric)

hazardous materials, heavy metals, pesticides

sharps and broken glassware

aerosols from broken centrifuge tubes and pipetting

flammable liquids and gases

cryogenics, such as dry ice and liquid nitrogen

sources of ignition

disturbance or interruption of services

Addressing hazards

Addressing hazards may involve:

use of MSDS

labelling of samples, reagents, aliquoted samples and hazardous materials

personal protective equipment, such as gloves, safety glasses and coveralls

use of fumehoods and direct extraction of vapours and gases

use of appropriate equipment, such as biohazard containers, laminar flow cabinets, Class I, II and III biohazard cabinets

use of Class PCII, PCIII and PCIV physical containment laboratories

handling and storage of all hazardous materials and equipment in accordance with labelling, MSDS and manufacturer's instructions

Occupational health and safety (OHS) and environmental management requirements

OHS and environmental management requirements:

all operations must comply with enterprise OHS and environmental management requirements, which may be imposed through state/territory or federal legislation - these requirements must not be compromised at any time

all operations assume the potentially hazardous nature of samples and require standard precautions to be applied

where relevant, users should access and apply current industry understanding of infection control issued by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and State and Territory Departments of Health