Chapter 17: Information and Training

Contemporary laboratory safety practice and regulatory requirements require that all laboratory workers are knowledgeable of the hazards that they are exposed to, methods that can be used to minimize exposures, and current regulatory requirements pertaining to laboratory safety. Consequently, laboratory safety training is required for all laboratory workers, including students, faculty, and staff. At UNR, laboratory safety training is comprised of general training that covers general laboratory safety topics and regulatory requirements, and laboratory-specific training.

General Training

All laboratory personnel are required to receive laboratory safety training, including students, faculty, and staff. EH&S provides general laboratory training that covers general laboratory safety topics and regulatory requirements.

General laboratory safety training is composed of two parts. Part 1 is provided as a classroom or online presentation, and Part 2 is hands-on training conducted in the Safety Training for Academic Research (STAR) Lab located in ARF 301. All laboratory personnel must complete Part 1 and Part 2 training, with the following exception. Academic faculty members are not required to complete Part 2 training; however, completion of this training is strongly recommended.

Part 1 training is presented in modular format covering the following topics: 1) chemical hygiene, 2) chemical spill response and waste management, 3) laboratory ventilation, and 4) biosafety. The first three topics are relevant to all laboratory personnel, and biosafety is relevant to those who work with biological agents (microorganisms; cell or tissue culture; recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid, human blood or other body fluids, cells, or unfixed tissue). Part 2 training involves hands-on exercises that supplement and reinforce the laboratory safety principles presented in Part 1 training.

General Training Schedule

EH&S offers general training at the beginning of each semester and other times throughout the year. A calendar of scheduled training is available on the EH&S Training Calendar web page. EH&S will also try and accommodate requests for additional lab safety training sessions for groups of ten or more people. Contact the Chemical Hygiene Officer to inquire about the training schedule.

Laboratory workers must receive laboratory safety training prior to beginning work with hazardous chemicals. If scheduling absolutely does not permit participation in a scheduled training session, contact the University Chemical Hygiene Officer for alternative training options.

The full general laboratory safety training class does not have to be repeated but EH&S will offer an online refresher training class each year and all laboratory personnel, including faculty supervisors, must complete this refresher training each year. Additionally, on-going training is expected through documented, laboratory-specific training and associated laboratory safety updates, which are the responsibility of each laboratory supervisor.

Laboratory-Specific Training

The general training provided by EH&S covers regulatory requirements and general laboratory safety topics; however, this training is not designed to provide adequate training on all the specific hazards that may be encountered in a particular laboratory. Therefore, each laboratory supervisor is responsible for providing supplemental training on hazards specific to their laboratory. This laboratory-specific training is required before personnel are exposed to such hazards, and whenever a new hazard is introduced into the laboratory.

Laboratory-Specific Training Topics

Topics for laboratory-specific training should focus on higher risk operations conducted in the laboratory. Generally, laboratory-specific training topics will coincide with laboratory-specific SOP topics (see Chapter 3). Training topics can be based on specific chemicals, a single chemical class or chemical hazard (such as carcinogens), or specific laboratory procedures. Training should not be limited to chemical hazards, but should also include non-chemical hazards (for example, electricity, high pressure or vacuum, and equipment) as appropriate.

Laboratory-specific training should include the following information:

  • Hazards of specific laboratory chemicals and procedures.
  • The location of laboratory and department SOPs, and other chemical hazard reference materials.
  • How to safely perform laboratory procedures.
  • Procedures requiring prior approval from the Laboratory Supervisor.
  • Chemical storage and inventory practices.
  • Specific use of laboratory hoods and other engineering controls.
  • Availability, selection, and use of personal protective equipment such as gloves and protective eye wear.
  • Emergency procedures, such as spill response and fires.

Documentation and Maintenance of Training Records

Laboratory-specific training must be documented and the laboratory supervisor or the department must maintain the training records. Training documentation must include the following information: the name of the instructor, the name of the person receiving the training, the date, and the training topic(s). A training documentation form has been developed for documentation of laboratory-specific training; however, other methods may also be used. Laboratory-specific and department-specific training records must be maintained for a minimum of three years after the worker’s entire tenure at UNR has ended.