SECTION 1: Laboratory Safety at Princeton University
Princeton University is committed to providing a safe laboratory environment
for its faculty, staff, students and visitors. The goal of the University
Laboratory Safety Program is to minimize the risk of injury or illness
to laboratory workers by ensuring that they have the training, information,
support and equipment needed to work safely in the laboratory.
The three basic elements of the Laboratory Safety Program are:
- The departmental safety
program led by the Chemical Hygiene Officer(s)
- Laboratory safety support
and training by Environmental Health and Safety
- Instruction and oversight
by an individual's supervisor or Principal Investigator
All laboratory workers, including faculty, staff and
most students, are required to attend Laboratory Safety
Training given by Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) staff. This
training gives an overview of general laboratory safety principles, references
and resources for more specific safety information, and details about
several support programs, such as the hazardous waste disposal program.
The training supplements instruction given by supervisors and Principal
Investigators regarding safe work practices for specific chemicals and
EHS provides training, resources and consultation for a variety of laboratory
safety issues, including chemical safety,
laser safety, biological safety,
safety and other topics. The EHS web page offers a wide range of resources
for many aspects of laboratory safety.
Laboratory Standard (top)
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) promulgated a regulation entitled Occupational Exposure
to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories, otherwise known as the
The goal of the Lab Standard is to ensure that laboratory workers are
informed about the hazards of chemicals in their workplace and are protected
from chemical exposures exceeding allowable levels (e.g., OSHA Permissible
All individuals who work with hazardous chemicals in science and engineering
laboratories are obligated to comply with the Lab Standard. Work with
chemicals outside of laboratories is covered by the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard.
For more information about how a particular department complies with
the Laboratory Standard, see the Departmental Chemical Hygiene Plan.
Princeton University Policies (top)
Environmental, Health and Safety Policy
Princeton University is committed to providing
a safe and healthful environment for its employees, students and visitors
and managing the University in an environmentally
sensitive and responsible manner. We further recognize an obligation
to demonstrate safety and environmental leadership by maintaining
highest standards and serving as an example to our students as well
as the community at large.
The University will strive to continuously
improve our safety and environmental performance by adhering to the following
- Developing and improving programs and procedures to assure compliance
with all applicable laws and regulations
- Ensuring that personnel are properly trained and provided with appropriate
safety and emergency equipment
- Taking appropriate action to correct hazards or conditions that endanger
health, safety, or the environment
- Considering safety and environmental factors in all operating decisions
including planning and acquisition
- Engaging in sound reuse and recycling practices and exploring feasible
opportunities to minimize the amount and toxicity of waste generated
- Using energy efficiently throughout our operations
- Encouraging personal accountability and emphasizing compliance with
standards and conformance with University policies and best practices
during employee training and in performance reviews
- Communicating our desire to continuously improve our performance and
fostering the expectation that every employee, student, and contractor
on University premises will follow this policy and report any environmental,
health, or safety concern to Princeton University management.
- Monitoring our progress through periodic evaluations
Laboratory Security Policy
Safeguarding University resources from
unauthorized access, misuse or removal is a duty of all faculty and staff.
In laboratories, this obligation rests primarily with the Principal Investigator;
however, all laboratory personnel have a responsibility to take reasonable
precautions against theft or misuse of materials, particularly those that
could threaten the public. Any extraordinary laboratory security
measures should be commensurate with the potential risks and imposed in
a manner that does not unreasonably hamper research.
At a minimum, the institution expects
all laboratory personnel to comply with the following security procedures:
- Question the presence of unfamiliar individuals in laboratories and
report all suspicious activity immediately to Public
Safety by calling
- After normal business hours, all laboratories must be locked when not
Laboratory building exterior
doors are secured after normal business hours. To minimize the likelihood
of unauthorized access, all after-hours building users should:
- Avoid providing building access to unfamiliar individuals
- Secure doors behind them
- Immediately report any building security problem to Public
Research or other activities
involving the use of lab space, materials or equipment without the knowledge
and approval of the responsible Principal Investigator is strictly prohibited.
Violation of this prohibition may result in disciplinary action up to
and including termination.
Roles and Responsibilities (top)
Departmental Chemical Hygiene Officer
- Establish and implement a Chemical Hygiene Plan.
- Review and update the Chemical Hygiene Plan at least annually.
- Investigate accidents and chemical exposures within the department.
- Act as a liaison between the department and EHS for laboratory safety
- Maintain records of training, exposure monitoring and medical examinations.
- Ensure laboratory workers receive chemical and procedure-specific training.
- Review and approve use of particularly hazardous substances.
- Approve laboratory worker's return to work following a chemical exposure
requiring medical consultation.
- Ensure laboratory workers attend general training given by EHS.
- Ensure laboratory workers understand how to work with chemicals safely.
Provide chemical and procedure-specific training, as needed.
- Provide laboratory workers with appropriate engineering controls and
personal protective equipment needed to work safely with hazardous materials.
Ensure such equipment is used correctly.
- Ensure laboratory workers complete and submit Particularly Hazardous Substance Use Approval
forms and submit them for approval before using any particularly hazardous
- Review and approve work with particularly hazardous substances.
Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)
- Conduct exposure monitoring,
- Provide general training.
- Audit the departmental program
- Provide safe working guidelines
for laboratory workers through the EHS web page.
- Review the model Chemical Hygiene
Plan at least annually
- Inspect fume hoods annually
- Provide consultation for safe
work practices for hazardous chemicals
- Conduct limited laboratory safety
- Develop and maintain the Laboratory