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Lab Safety


Lab Supervisors

Principal investigators (PIs), lab managers and others assigned supervisory responsibilities are considered Lab Supervisors. Lab Supervisors bear responsibility for the Environmental and Safety programs in their labs and for ensuring that all individuals working in their laboratory have the materials and training needed to work safely.

All lab supervisors are required to receive Lab Supervisor Training - a one-on-one briefing provided by EHS. Contact Steve Elwood at 609-258-6271 to schedule a briefing.

The following materials may be helpful:

Lab Management

  • Training for Laboratory Workers - it is the Lab Supervisor's responsibility to ensure that all lab workers have received appropriate training.
  • Lab Specific Safety Training - consider documenting in-lab training provided to lab workers by senior lab staff or PI using the Lab Specific Safety Training template.
  • Review your department's Chemical Hygiene Plan and know who the Chemical Hygiene Officer is for your department.
  • Review the Laboratory Safety Manual and use it as a guide for planning safety and environmental issues into your lab's procedures.
  • Provide the appropriate types and sizes of personal protective equipment and engineering controls to control the hazards in the laboratory. There are no central funds for laboratory safety materials. EHS can provide guidance for inclusion of these items in grant proposals, etc.
  • Consider scheduling regular self-inspections of laboratory safety in your lab. See Inspections for checklists and additional information. EHS conducts at least one announced inspection annually, alongside you and/or a laboratory representative, and will follow up on open issues with you.
  • If a regulatory agency or enforcement agency representative comes to your laboratory, contact EHS immediately. Be aware of the Princeton University policy on fines from regulatory violations.
  • Ensure your laboratory collects, stores and disposes of waste materials in accordance with University procedures.
  • Promote pollution prevention, waste minimization and energy conservation in your lab. Tell EHS about your successes.
  • Contact EHS if you need assistance shipping hazardous materials.
  • Children under the age of 16 are not permitted to work (paid or unpaid) in the lab. If you are considering hosting a high school student (ages 16 or 17), follow the procedures for High School Students in the Lab.
  • Ensure everyone in the lab follows the Laboratory Security Policy.
  • If you are considering a procedure that involves unusual or high hazards, such as high voltage, high pressure, etc., contact EHS for consultation. As needed, EHS will organize a review team to assist with planning for safety.
  • Consider appointing a Lab Manager to assist with supervisory issues, coordinate waste disposal, oversee training, etc. Contact Steve Elwood at 258-6271 to request Lab Supervisor Training for this individual or group.


  • Know the emergency number - 911 from campus phones, 609-258-3333 from cell phones.
  • Emergency Procedures - Lab Emergency Procedures Guides should be posted in each laboratory. Contact Kyle Angjelo for a copy.
  • Be sure to have calcium gluconate gel on hand if hydrofluoric acid is used and polyethylene glycol if phenol is used in the lab. Calcium gluconate gel and polyethylene glycol kits may be purchased from EHS. Contact Kyle Angjelo for more information.
  • Communications - Ensure all students and staff have updated their contact information in SCORE or HR Self-Service so that they are registered in the Princeton Telephone and E-Mail Notification System (PTENS). Maintain a list of extended contact information for all in your lab.
  • Emergency Information Posters - must be completed and affixed to the entrance to each lab.
  • Spill Kits - be sure to have spill control materials available for the chemicals used in the lab, including special materials for mercury or hydrofluoric acid. EHS provides spill kits that are located throughout the science and engineering buildings. Familiarize yourself with the location and contents.
  • Fire Extinguishers - contact Bob Gregory at 609-258-6805 to request a new or replacement extinguisher. Be sure that you have the appropriate extinguisher for the materials in your lab (e.g., CO2 extinguishers in laser labs, Class D extinguishers for water-reactive metals, etc.).
  • Injuries - Any student or employee who is injured or becomes ill as a result of work in the laboratory must contact University Health Services either for exam, treatment or, at the very least, to report the incident. For those receiving a paycheck, it is crucial to contact Employee Health within 48 hours in order to be eligible for Workers' Compensation.
  • Incidents/Accidents - Report all incidents, regardless of injury or property damage, to EHS at 8-5294 or Maintain a culture where all laboratory workers are comfortable reporting incidents.

Materials and Infrastructure

  • Check whether your lab will use Particularly Hazardous Substances. If so, ensure that all laboratory workers expected to use these materials understand the hazards by having them complete an approval form.
  • If your lab is planning on using biological materials or toxins on the Centers for Disease Control Select Agent List, contact EHS immediately.
  • Submit an inventory of Department of Homeland Security chemicals of interest annually (you will receive an e-mail) and notify EHS any time you are purchasing hazardous gases or materials on the Chemical Weapons Convention list.
  • If you are planning to use radioactive materials, contact Sue Dupre, Radiation Safety Officer, for authorization.
  • If planning to use biological materials, including live viruses, contact Jackie Wagner to begin the approval process.
  • If planning to use materials regulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency, contact Jackie Wagner.
  • Consider the need for uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems. If systems other than the small units used for computer backup are needed, contact Facilities-Engineering (258-5475) for assistance in selecting and maintaining the system.
  • For labs in E-Quad, any changes to building infrastructure or utilities must be approved by completing and submitting the Facilities Modification Form.



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