Laboratory Safety

Guideline Date: September 2017     Revision: 1     Last Review: August 2017

Laboratories typically contain a variety of hazards including biological agents, hazardous chemicals and physical hazards. The Laboratory Safety Program, facilitated by Environmental Health and Safety, seeks to mitigate these hazards while meeting regulatory requirements and supporting University research goals. The main regulatory elements relating to laboratory safety come from the OSHA Laboratory Safety Standard and the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, the CDC/NIH Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, the Nevada State Fire Marshal, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency/Nevada Division of Environmental Protection and the University's own Chemical Hygiene Plan and Biosafety Manual.

Under its Laboratory Safety Program, Environmental Health and Safety operates a comprehensive chemical inventory program that includes receipt and delivery of incoming chemicals. Chemical inventory data is used to maintain operating permits, improve safety within laboratories and to achieve regulatory compliance.  

Compliance Actions

Prior to beginning and throughout the duration of laboratory research, it is the principal investigator's responsibility to do as follows:

  • Be familiar with regulatory requirements and University policies contained in the Chemical Hygiene Plan and Biosafety Manual
  • Conduct a risk assessment of lab operations and develop written safety procedures that describe safe work procedures
  • Ensure that a documented lab specific training program is established for all people who will work in their laboratories
  • Complete all required training and ensure that their lab personnel complete all required training
  • Communicate to Environmental Health and Safety any accidents or near misses that occur in their labs
  • Work with Environmental Health and Safety to conduct regular lab safety assessments and complete chemical inventory activities  

Training Requirements

The following training courses related to laboratory safety are required for all University personnel who plan to work in or supervise those who work in laboratories:

  • Laboratory Safety Training. For University personnel who work in a laboratory or supervise those who work in a laboratory possessing chemical or biological agents. Refresher course is required annually (refresher training is available online).
  • Laboratory Supervisor Safety Responsibilities. For University personnel who supervise personnel who work in laboratories (training available online).     Lab-Specific Training. For University personnel who work in laboratories. Lab-specific training is to be provided and documented by the PI or other designated personnel.
  • Sewer & Stormwater Discharge Training. For University personnel who work in a laboratory or supervise those who work in a laboratory on the main University campus (training available online). ·
  • Formaldehyde Training for Laboratory Personnel. For University personnel who are exposed to formaldehyde in work places other than research laboratories, including anatomy, histology, and pathology laboratories (training available online). Refresher course is required annually.

Who to Contact

Environmental Health and Safety

  • (775) 327-5040
  • (775) 784-4553 Fax

Additional Information