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Expectations for Conducting Safe Research

Demonstrate Commitment to Safety

A fundamental way to demonstrate a commitment to safety is to lead by example, regardless of whether you are new to research or an experienced professional. Be a role model to your fellow students and colleagues for safe work practices and behaviors. Strive for excellence and go beyond minimum compliance when it comes to safety.

Model Safe Lab Practices

All researchers are expected to model safe work practices in the conduct of their research. Demonstrate your commitment to safety through your actions. Examples of actions you can take include: —
  • Integrate safety into your daily work procedures
  • Wear personal protective equipment whenever it is required
  • Practice good housekeeping in your personal work area and the shared facilities that you use

Adhere to Laboratory Safety Rules

The research laboratory is a dynamic environment and changes in your research may make adhering to established safety rules challenging. If this occurs, discuss your concerns with the principal investigator. The Office of Research Safety can assist in finding creative solutions that allow researchers to reach their goals while still working safely. Contact us at researchsafety@umd.edu for more information.

Address a Co-Worker's Unsafe Work Practices

Unsafe work practices can affect your safety, the safety of your colleagues and the quality of your research. Researchers are expected to act when they witness a co-worker engaging in unsafe work practices. You can address the behavior directly with your co-worker or seek assistance from your supervisor or ESSR. You can anonymously report unsafe work practices through the University of Maryland Incident Reporting Form.

Establish and Enforce Safety Rules for Your Laboratory

It is the responsibility of the principal investigator to establish laboratory-specific safety rules, communicate these rules to all lab members and enforce them. Laboratory-specific rules should address: —
  • Minimum requirements for laboratory attire and personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Procedures for unattended experiments and working alone
  • Requirements for prior approval for new hazardous materials or experimental procedures
  • Criteria for determining competency to perform experiments or operate equipment without direct supervision
The Office of Research Safety can assist you with selecting appropriate PPE or developing safety rules based on the specific hazards present in your laboratory. Contact us at researchsafety@umd.edu for more information.

Include Safety at Lab Meetings

Principal investigators are expected to include safety at lab meetings when appropriate. Topics that can be discussed include: —
  • A new chemical or experimental procedure that introduces a new hazard into the lab
  • Review of safety inspection findings and corrective actions
  • Unsafe conditions, near misses or incidents that occurred in the laboratory or department
The Office of Research Safety can attend a lab meeting to discuss a specific hazard or to review inspection findings. Contact us at researchsafety@umd.edu for more information.

Walk Through your Lab on a Regular Basis

Principal investigators are expected to walk through their lab on a regular basis to ensure that safe work practices are being followed.

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