Principal Investigators, laboratory personnel, your department, and EHS all share responsibility for laboratory safety. Specific duties of each include the following:
A. Department Chair
- Ensure the department’s compliance with health and safety standards.
- Provide timely notification to EHS upon termination of faculty who used hazardous materials, to expedite clearance of the laboratory for the next investigator.
- Consider appointment of a safety committee from a cross-section of the department’s employees to address departmental safety concerns.
B. Principal Investigator
- Prepare a Laboratory Safety Plan (LSP) as described in Chapter 2, to complement the Laboratory Safety Manual (LSM). These documents constitute your Chemical Hygiene Plan as required by OSHA.
- Ensure that laboratory personnel meet the training requirements of the Laboratory Standard, including chemical hazard information, safety rules and good work practices.
- Provide initial training to laboratory personnel, upon employment, on the contents of the Chemical Hygiene Plan. Employees document this training through the online Lab Safety Plan application.
- Provide annual training to all laboratory employees on the contents of the Chemical Hygiene Plan. Employees document this training through the online Lab Safety Plan application.
- Ensure that staff and visitors observe safety rules and don proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when working in or visiting the laboratory.
- Ensure that proper safety supplies and equipment, such as gloves, safety glasses and/or goggles, lab coats, and respirators* are available for all people in the laboratory. *Note: if respirators are required, the PI is also responsible for the cost of medical and/or pulmonary function tests that may be required for respirator use.
- Obtain safety data sheets (formerly known as material safety data sheets) for hazardous chemicals used in the laboratory and make these available to the laboratory staff.
- Post appropriate hazard information signs within the laboratory.
- Provide information to EHS in a timely manner so that it may post appropriate signage at laboratory entrances.
- Conduct an “exit interview” with laboratory workers prior to their departure to ensure that they have properly labeled and prepared hazardous materials for disposal by EHS or use by other workers.
- Notify EHS prior to vacating laboratory space when moving on campus and notify department chair and EHS of planned departure from UNC or discontinuance of the use of hazardous materials. Decontaminate laboratory surfaces and prepare hazardous materials for disposal by EHS or use by other laboratories. Refer to EHS guidelines on vacating laboratory space.
C. Laboratory Workers
- Study the Laboratory Safety Plan, the chapters of the Laboratory Safety Manual relevant to your research, and other information provided by your supervisor.
- Complete appropriate training and orientation programs provided by EHS.
- Complete and submit a Laboratory/Radiation Worker Registration Form to EHS whenever there is a change in work location or laboratory assignment. See Appendix 1-A for instructions on how to fill out this form.
- Follow safety guidelines when handling hazardous materials, including the proper use of personal protective equipment.
- Notify EHS of accidents, spills, or conditions that may warrant further investigation and/or monitoring.
- Review laboratory materials to ensure that you have properly labeled and prepared all hazardous materials for disposal by EHS or use by other workers before you leave the research group.
D. Environment, Health and Safety
- Provide training and orientation programs for laboratory personnel.
- Inspect laboratories regularly for safety and health hazards and for compliance with state and federal regulations.
- Investigate potential safety and health hazards identified by laboratory employees.
- Monitor personnel for over-exposures to chemical, biological, physical, and radioactive hazards.
- Advise laboratory personnel on proper disposal of waste chemicals and other hazardous materials.
- Consult with faculty, staff, students, and departmental safety committees on safety matters.
- Assist safety committees in organizing committee meetings.
- Post appropriate signage at laboratory entrances.