Laboratory Safety Management
Laboratory Safety Contact and Personnel
The Principal Investigator (PI) or Laboratory Supervisor may designate one or more people to serve as laboratory Safety Contact(s) (SCs) to assist in safety management. SCs may assist with tasks such as developing Standard Operating Procedures, personnel training, waste disposal, and eyewash testing. These individuals and their assigned responsibilities should be made known to all laboratory personnel. In addition, PIs/supervisors should identify SCs on the personnel page for their laboratory on the Division of Research Safety (DRS) website. This allows the SC to access and update personnel and assign lab spaces and their hazard profiles for the lab group. SCs will be listed on DRS-issued laboratory door signs and receive reminders and other safety-related notifications from DRS. All personnel listed for a lab group will be able to view the laboratory hazard profiles. PI/supervisors and SC can view training records for all listed personnel.
Laboratory Hazard Profile
A laboratory hazard profile is created on the DRS website for each laboratory group. Its purpose is to outline hazards that standard operating procedures and training should address. In addition, the information will be used for a laboratory door sign summarizing the hazards in the laboratory. The hazard profile will include current information on biohazard levels, isotopes, x-ray equipment, and high powered lasers. Information on electrical hazards and chemical hazards must be added to complete the profile. As new hazards are added to the laboratory, the hazard profile should be updated by the PI/supervisor or the SC. To update your hazard profile log into the DRS website and click on "hazards" under General Laboratory Information and complete the hazard profile for each laboratory space. The "need more info" button under each hazard category provides more information on what hazards should be listed. Electrical hazards refer to equipment with exposed live components or high voltage (≥600V). DRS will provide assistance upon request.
To complete the hazard profile for chemicals, there are two options:
Provide DRS with a list of the chemicals in the laboratory.
If there is no chemical inventory for the laboratory, an inventory template and instructions are below. DRS staff will use the Laboratory Hazard Assessment for Chemicals process on the DRS website to categorize the material by hazard type/amount and determine risk levels. The PI or SC should review the hazard profile to confirm its accuracy and to add hazards that were not included in the inventory, e.g. compressed gases or cryogens.
Use the Laboratory Hazard Assessment for Chemicals process at the DRS website to complete the profile.
Refer to the guidance document for the assessment below.
OSHA requires that the information within the Laboratory Safety Plan be reviewed and evaluated for effectiveness at least annually. If new hazards are present in the laboratory, new policies, SOPs, and training should be developed accordingly. In addition, the laboratory profile at the DRS website should be updated to reflect changes in personnel and hazards so laboratory door signs are kept current. The annual review should be documented, even if the review determines that no changes to the Laboratory Safety Plan are needed.
Laboratory Safety Audits
Laboratory Safety Audits should be performed and documented annually. A Laboratory Safety Audit is an important quality assurance tool to help the PI/supervisor assess the safety of their laboratory and provide information relevant to the annual evaluation of the Laboratory Safety Plan. DRS provides this type of audit and typically arranges audits on a per-department basis. However, individual consultations including auditing of new laboratory groups or new facilities for existing groups can be arranged upon request.
Audit reports from DRS for laboratory groups can be viewed and responded to by logging in to the DRS website. The report serves to document findings and provides a record of how the laboratory group addressed the issues. In some situations, there may be mitigating circumstances or risk-based justifications that explain a deviation from an established safety standard or recommendation. In such cases, the response to the audit finding should provide an explanation for the deviation.
Laboratory Door Signs
DRS provides signs for exterior (hallway) laboratory doors. Door signs include emergency contact information and a summary of all hazards present. An example door sign is shown here.
Before DRS can issue a door sign, the following information is required:
- Emergency contact information for Principal Investigator and Laboratory Safety Contacts. (Log into the DRS website and update the "contact card" located in the upper right corner of your profile page).
- A complete laboratory hazard profile.
To request a new door sign, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Update: 7/6/2018