A variety of alternative approaches to safety training are described for 4 major hazard categories: organisms, spilled cultures and other contamination sources; punctures, broken glass and sharps; chemicals, spills and mouth pipetting; and fires, ethanol and burners. Several training experiences, including incorporation of cooperative learning, problem-solving, critical thinking, and brainstorming are described for use in presentation of safety-related topics. These nontraditional activities aid students in advancing through the increasing complexity of cognitive development, while providing them with the safety education necessary for their success in the modern microbiological laboratory.