Skip to main content

Safety Training

Safety Training

General Safety In Laboratories

Responsibilities for Laboratory Safety

The use of chemicals at Norfolk State University shall be planned and performed in a manner to ensure that a safe and healthy environment is maintained. The objective of this policy is to eliminate, or reduce to the lowest feasible level, employee exposures to chemicals used in Norfolk State University laboratories. Recognizing the importance and widespread use of research involving many classes of chemicals, these guidelines will attempt to facilitate this objective by defining responsibilities and procedures for essential laboratory safety.

Responsibilities Chairperson

  • The chair has primary responsibility for the safe management of laboratories in a department, including compliance with all applicable regulatory requirements, and shall require that all laboratories in his/her charge be safely managed. He/she may delegate to other departmental faculty or staff members the authority to oversee these activities.
  • As the safety and well being of students, faculty, and staff come above all other considerations at Norfolk State University, the chair shall ensure that no experiment that subjects personnel to excessive risk is permitted, no matter how valuable the experimental information might be.


Responsibilities & Faculty ( Principal Investigator)

  • Acquire the knowledge and information needed to recognize and control hazards in the laboratory.
  • Ensure completion of the lab-specific sections of the model Chemical Hygiene Plan, including Standard Operating Procedures for highly hazardous substances. Review these documents annually and revise as required. Ensure access to the lab specific Chemical Hygiene Plan for all lab personnel working with hazardous chemicals.
  • Ensure an inventory of hazardous chemicals present in the lab is maintained and that Material Safety Data Sheets are readily available to all lab personnel working with hazardous chemicals.
  • Evaluate safety and health hazards connected with proposed experimental procedures, select and employ laboratory practices, engineering controls and personal protective equipment that reduce the potential for exposure to chemicals to the lowest feasible level, and plan for handling of any resultant emergencies.
  • Provide information and training to those employees for whom the investigator is responsible. This training should center on health and safety hazards unique to the specific laboratory, which are not included in the scope of the basic laboratory safety training. Special emphasis shall be made for highly hazardous substances, which require written SOP’s delineating laboratory practices, engineering controls, personal protective equipment, and procedures for dealing with spills and accidents.
  • Require adherence to guidelines relating to safe usage of approved apparatus and the acquisition, use, and storage of hazardous materials and the proper disposal of hazardous waste. Supervise the safety performance of staff to ensure that required laboratory practices, engineering controls, and personal protective equipment are employed.
  • Be alert to and informed of federal, state, and local regulations relating to each particular laboratory operation.
  • Arrange for immediate medical attention for personnel and reporting to the DEHS any accident that results in
    • injury requiring medical attention
    • fire, or explosion
    • ingestion or inhalation of dangerous amounts of chemicals or poisons
    • any incident resulting in overexposure of personnel or danger of environmental contamination by chemicals.
  • Assist representatives of the DEHS investigating accidents.
  • Investigating and reporting to the DEHS any problems pertaining to operation and
    implementation of laboratory practices and engineering controls; and
  • Obtain approval, when required, from the Department of Environmental Health and Safety to conduct a high-risk operation involving chemical agents


Responsibilities - All Laboratory Personnel

  • Be aware of his or her individual safety responsibilities.
  • Participate in required training activities.
  • Know and comply with safety guidelines, regulations, and procedures required for the task assigned.
  • Plan and execute laboratory operations in a manner that does not constitute a hazard to themselves or their co-workers.
  • Understand the selection, use and limitations of personal protective equipment (PPE). When a procedure requires the use of PPE, use it properly.
  • Look out for the safety of others in the laboratory, including visitors.
  • Report unsafe conditions to the principal investigator, immediate supervisor, or DEHS.
  • Know and follow emergency procedures, including the location and proper use of emergency equipment.