Research laboratories are unique work environments with multiple hazards. Hazardous chemicals are utilized in virtually every research laboratory, and are the common thread that unites all laboratory research environments. Other common laboratory hazards include biological agents, radioactive material, lasers, and physical hazards. Laboratory safety has traditionally been synonymous with chemical safety; however, true laboratory safety is achieved only when all hazards in the laboratory environment are considered.
Environmental health and safety regulations are a minimum obligation that all laboratories must meet, but laboratory safety is much more than a written safety manual and regulations; it is a daily work philosophy that is incorporated into all laboratory activities. Laboratory safety entails identifying and understanding the hazards present in the laboratory, assessing risks associated with those hazards, managing risk through the use of laboratory ventilation, work practices, and personal protective equipment, and preplanning emergency response actions.
The intent of the University of Nevada, Reno Laboratory Safety program is to manage laboratory risks so as to permit cutting edge laboratory research while ensuring the health and safety of personnel and the environment, and fulfillment of regulatory obligations.