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Expectations for Conducting Safe Research

Implement Controls

Take action to control the hazards and risks associated with your research.

Substitute Less Hazardous Materials or Smaller Quantities Whenever Possible

All researchers are expected to minimize or eliminate hazards associated with their research whenever possible. Substitution with a less hazardous material is one of the most effective ways of reducing the hazard. When substitution is not possible, purchase and use higher hazard materials in the smallest quantities possible.

Use Appropriate Engineering Controls

When it is necessary to control hazards in the laboratory, researchers are expected to first consider the use of engineering controls. Engineering controls, such as fume hoods, biological safety cabinets, glove boxes, enclosures and shields, minimize the potential for exposure to hazardous materials or processes by creating a physical barrier between the researcher and the hazard. For an engineering control to be effective, it must be used properly and be in good working condition. The Office Research Safety can assist in selecting appropriate engineering controls or provide training on their use. Contact us at researchsafety@umd.edu for more information.

Wear Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Researchers are expected to wear appropriate PPE and lab attire when working with or near hazardous materials and processes. PPE supplements engineering controls and provides an additional barrier to minimize the risk of exposure to hazardous materials. PPE is selected based on a hazard assessment and may include:
  • Hand protection (disposable nitrile gloves, chemical protective gloves, cryogen gloves, autoclave gloves)
  • Eye and face protection (safety glasses, splash goggles, face shield)
  • Skin protection (lab coat, chemical resistant apron)
Appropriate lab attire may include long pants and closed toe shoes.

Select and Provide Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Lab Members

It is the principal investigator's responsibility to select and provide PPE to all lab members. This responsibility is conveyed in VI-19.00(A) University of Maryland Policy on Protective Equipment Program. PPE requirements must be communicated to lab members and be integrated into the laboratory’s standard operating procedures. When selecting PPE, consider the requirements for lab members actively performing the experiment as well as lab members working in adjacent areas. Principal investigators are also expected to identify appropriate laboratory attire, such as long pants and closed toe shoes. The Office Research Safety can assist in selecting appropriate personal protective equipment. Contact us at researchsafety@umd.edu for more information.

Require Lab Members to Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Enforce this Requirement

Principal investigators are expected to establish rules requiring the use of personal protective equipment and enforce this requirement. These rules must be communicated to all lab members and be included in the Lab Specific Training. When establishing these rules, consider:
  • Establishing a baseline requirement for lab attire and PPE to be worn at all times when working in the lab
  • Establishing additional PPE requirements based on hazard assessments
  • Identifying consequences to lab members who do not comply with these rules

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