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Environmental Health and Safety

Research and Laboratory Safety Training

The EH&S Office of Research Safety has defined the research and laboratory safety training
needs and requirements, provisions for refresher training, and maintenance of training records. These requirements have been established to promote compliance with federal and state regulations and guidelines, and University policies. Personnel must not conduct research involving hazardous materials for which they are not properly trained.

Training Requirements

Training is essential to communicate the principles and practices of research and laboratory safety.

  • Training programs are required by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) for all employees who work with hazards such as hazardous chemicals and human-derived materials (e.g. human blood, body fluids or tissue specimens).
  • The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) requires personnel generating infectious waste to understand compliance requirements for infectious waste collection, storage, transport and disposal.
  • State and federal regulations require radiation safety training for all personnel using radioactive materials or equipment such as x-rays or lasers. 
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) Guidelines require the university to ensure appropriate training for laboratory staff regarding laboratory safety and implementation of the NIH Guidelines.
  • Other research funding and accreditation agencies also require grantees to perform their research in compliance with federal safety regulations, standards and guidelines.

Research & Lab Safety Training Programs

The training requirements for laboratory personnel are based on the type of hazardous materials utilized in the laboratory where research is conducted.  Research safety training is designed to ensure understanding and the ability to execute proper protective measures to mitigate potential hazards and associated risks. EH&S training is intended to cover the basic principles and practices for safely performing research involving common laboratory hazards.

Laboratory-Specific Safety Training

Lab-specific training should also be provided by Principal Investigators or their designee to complement general laboratory safety training programs provided by EH&S. The laboratory supervisor must ensure that laboratory personnel receive appropriate training regarding duties, necessary precautions to prevent exposures and procedures for responding to accidents or incidents.

  • Personnel should receive updates or additional training when procedural changes occur that may increase the risk of experiments being performed.
  • The supervision required for personnel working in the lab should be based on their level of competency or proficiency, hazards present in the lab and the level of risk associated with duties that personnel will be performing.
  • Students should never be alone in the laboratory when performing hazardous procedures and should only perform these procedures when experienced laboratory personnel are present.

Types of Training



Safety training and safety education are essential elements of research and education. They instill a culture of safety in the next generation of researchers and future faculty, and they are important for our students’ career development and employability.

APLU: A Guide to Implementing a Safety Culture in Our Universities

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