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Office of Research Safety

The Office of Research Safety includes the expertise of the Biosafety, Laboratory Safety and Radiation Safety professional staff, who support the research community in meeting the university’s Expectations for Conducting Safe Research.  From collecting specimens at remote areas around the world to handling hazardous materials within the research and teaching laboratories on campus, research often provides for multiple health and safety risks and regulatory requirements that must be identified and managed. ORS offers a broad range of comprehensive safety training classes, conducts risk assessments, partners with the campus community to identify and address research safety needs and helps with the implementation of controls necessary to minimize risks and to ensure personnel safety.  ORS directly administers the requirements for many of the university’s federal and state licenses and registrations for hazardous and risk significant materials, ensuring that all regulatory commitments are met as the research community achieves their research goals.

Research excellence and safety are inextricably intertwined. Safety is a core value of our institution and an integral part of the responsible conduct of research. The University expects all members of our research community to integrate safety into their research activities, to strive for excellence and to go beyond minimum compliance.

Expectations for Conducting Safe Research

  • Demonstrate a Commitment to Safety. Lead by example, adhere to the rules and be willing to speak up if you see unsafe practices. Faculty and other supervisors are expected to put safety on the agenda and build it into the way their group works and thinks.

  • Assess and Plan for Hazards and Risks. Take the time to systematically assess risks and plan for the hazards identified. Incorporate safety into laboratory standard operating procedures.

  • Implement Controls. Take action to control your risks. Make sure you have the right protective equipment and that engineering controls are working correctly. Principal investigators must enforce the established rules in their lab.

  • Complete Safety Training. Ensure that new researchers have the knowledge and skill to safely perform their research activities. It is the responsibility of the principal investigator to ensure that researchers receive research specific safety training.

  • Strive for Continuous Improvement. Research is not a static endeavor. Managing safety requires ongoing reassessment, feedback and reinforcement. Encourage reporting and resolve safety concerns. Involve all lab members when identifying and reviewing lessons learned after incidents and near-misses.

Resources