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Lab Safety


EHS Recommended Laboratory Safety Training Requirements and Access Restrictions

Quick Reference Chart

Laboratory Safety Training Requirements

EHS Recommended Key Access

Supervised Work

Undergraduate Students

before working in a lab

case-by-case for third and fourth year

always for hazardous ops.

Graduate Student

first available after arrival

after training

before training


first available after arrival

after training

before training

Faculty and Lab Supervisors

2 part training, first available after arrival

upon arrival


Visiting Researchers

first available after arrival

after training

before training

Short-term Visitors

leaflet only



High School Interns

before working in a lab



Laboratory Access and Training Explanations:

Undergraduate students:  All Princeton University undergraduates must undergo laboratory safety training prior to working in a laboratory.  In addition, first and second year undergraduates should not be granted unescorted key access to research laboratories and should never be permitted to work unsupervised.  Third and fourth year undergraduates may be granted unrestricted key access on a case-by-case basis as determined by the laboratory and department managers.  The need for these students to be supervised or not should be determined on a case-by-case basis by the PI and/or laboratory manager.  This decision should be based on the student’s competency, hazards present within the lab, facility security concerns, and specific projects and duties the student will be performing.  These students shall never be alone in the laboratory during hazardous operations and must only perform hazardous operations when senior, trained laboratory staff members are present.    

Graduate Students: All Princeton University graduate students must undergo laboratory safety training if they are going to be working in university labs. They may work in laboratories while supervised up until the next scheduled Princeton University Laboratory Safety Training provided by EHS.  They should not be granted unrestricted laboratory key access until they have completed laboratory safety training.  If their office space is located within the lab, an exception may be granted to allow them to access their desk.  However, the student should not perform any experimental operations unless another trained laboratory staff member is present.

Staff: Technical staff, research scientists, and other miscellaneous research staff members may work in the laboratory under supervision up until they complete laboratory safety training.  They must register for the next available laboratory safety training session after their arrival.  These staff members should not be granted laboratory key access until they have undergone safety training.  Access exceptions may be made if their office is located within a laboratory space.  However, laboratory operations should not commence until supervised by another trained member of the lab.

Faculty Members (PIs) and Laboratory Supervisors: While faculty members and laboratory supervisors may receive immediate access to their assigned laboratories, they must all undergo the two part training series as soon as possible.  The first part is a high level supervisory specific briefing provided by EHS personnel.  This should be scheduled immediately upon arrival to campus. Second, they must attend a general laboratory safety training session.  This is University policy and is referenced at
Visiting Researchers (faculty, staff, graduate students):  Official visitors acting in a research capacity are approved through the Dean of Research.  All visitors are subjected to the same training and key access rules outlined above with the exception of short-term visitors (described below). 

Short Term Visitors:  Laboratory access should not be granted to short-term visitors.  These visitors should only be working in laboratories while trained University faculty, staff, or students are present.   Because these visitors will be accompanied at all times, laboratory safety training is not necessary.  They should however, receive a copy of the Laboratory Safety Leaflet from the departmental manager, laboratory manager, or departmental safety officer.

High School Interns: High school research interns must attend Laboratory Safety Training prior to beginning work in labs.  These students shall not be granted key access rights to laboratories and should always be under supervision of a senior, trained, laboratory staff or faculty member. 

WORKING ALONE:  Individuals should not be working alone in laboratories.  Please see the EHS policy regarding working alone in laboratories below.

KEY ACCESS: This term refers to both electronic key (combination, SALTO, CACs) and physical key access.

HAZARDOUS OPERATION: An operation that an individual could be severely injured or overcome by.

Relevant EHS Current Policies:

Laboratory Safety Training:
Working alone:


For questions regarding these recommendations, please contact Brandon Chance.



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