Recommendations: Training and Learning
Recommendation 15. The institution provides laboratory safety education and training for students, faculty, EH&S staff, and department heads.
Tools for Recommendation 15
Laboratory safety training policies
- Princeton University has laboratory access and training recommendations for undergraduate students, graduate students, staff, faculty, visiting researchers, and high school interns. As part of their policy, they recommend:
Undergraduate students: All Princeton University undergraduates must undergo laboratory safety training prior to working in a laboratory. In addition, first and second year undergraduates should not be granted unescorted key access to research laboratories and should never be permitted to work unsupervised. Third and fourth year undergraduates may be granted unrestricted key access on a case-by-case basis as determined by the laboratory and department managers. The need for these students to be supervised or not should be determined on a case-by-case basis by the PI and/or laboratory manager. This decision should be based on the student’s competency, hazards present within the lab, facility security concerns, and specific projects and duties the student will be performing. These students shall never be alone in the laboratory during hazardous operations and must only perform hazardous operations when senior, trained laboratory staff members are present.
Laboratory safety training resources
- Lab Safety Videos List
Available at Google Spreadsheets.
Google spreadsheet organized by safety category with the URL, organization, length of video, and description of available safety videos.
- Lab Safety Training Modules
Available at Dow.
Training modules on fume hood basics, interpreting material safety data sheets, inspections, mentoring, and more.
- Lab Safety Videos
Available at Cornell University
Short informational videos.
- Safety Training Videos
Available at Northwestern University.
Northwestern University’s Office of Research has a collection of safety videos.
- OSHA's Safety & Health Management Systems eTool
Available at OSHA.
Provides guidance on Safety and Health Training.
- The Safety Training Consortium
Available at Safety-Consortium.org.
A higher education membership organization founded by research universities, for the purpose of developing safety training for the research community. Excellence in Safety Education.
- Lab Safety Certificate
Available at Cornell University.
Designed for laboratory workers who want to expand their safety knowledge. It is a 20-hour course.
- CSHEMA Communities of Practice
CSHEMA supports and educates campus-based EHS professionals to empower and to improve the EHS profession in campus environments. Originally founded in 1954 as the Campus Safety Association, CSHEMA has a long history of service to the college, university, and research communities. They have several Communities of Practice:
Examples of tools for determining training needs
- Utah State University's Training Matrix.
Available at Utah State University.
- UCLA Lab Training Matrix
Available at UCLA.
Outlines the minimum medical and training requirements for personnel (PIs, lab supervisors, graduate and undergraduate students and staff) working in a research setting.
Approaches to emergency training
- Northern Arizona University stages mock emergencies, which can occur after work hours and include fake spills, fake blood, confusion, etc. to help students understand how chaotic an emergency can be. Submitted by John Nauman, Director of Northern Arizona University Undergraduate Laboratory Program in Chemistry and Biochemistry.
- Approaches to Emergency Training by Dawn Mason includes a list of possible safety “pop quizzes” and activities to inspire creative thinking when discussing safety.
Comparison of Recommendation 15 with other key resources
- From Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research (NRC, 2014):
- Recommendation 9: Department leaders and principal investigators, in partnership with environmental health and safety personnel, should develop and implement actions and activities to complement initial, ongoing, and periodic refresher training. This training should ensure understanding and the ability to execute proper protective measures to mitigate potential hazards and associated risks.
- From Creating Safety Cultures in Academic Institutions (ACS, 2012):
- Recommendation 5. Ensure all faculty, staff, and graduate and undergraduate students involved in teaching, managing, or overseeing students in laboratory courses and sessions have successfully completed a course in lab safety.
- Recommendation 8. Include safety education and training (for undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars participating in proposed research) in research grant proposals, and oversight of research for safety.
- From Creating a Safety Culture (OSHA, 1989):
- Initial Training of Management-Supervisory staff, Union Leadership (if present), and safety and health committee members, and a representative number of hourly employees. This may include both safety and health training and any needed management, team building, hazard recognition, or communication training, etc. This gives you a core group of people to draw upon as resources and also gets key personnel onboard with needed changes.
- From Texas Tech Laboratory Explosion Case Study (CSB, 2010):
- Key Lesson 4. Research-specific written protocols and training are necessary to manage laboratory research risk.
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