More than 500,000 workers are employed in U.S. laboratories. The laboratory environment can be a hazardous place to work. Laboratory workers are exposed to numerous potential hazards including chemical, biological, physical, and radioactive hazards, as well as musculoskeletal stresses. Laboratory safety is governed by numerous regulations at the federal, state, and local levels. Over the years, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has promulgated rules and published guidance to make laboratories increasingly safe for personnel. In addition, Washington State has an OSHA-approved laboratory safety plan. Topics related to laboratory safety include:
- Biological agents
- Bloodborne pathogens
- Hazardous chemicals
- Chemical agents
- Ionizing radiation
WSU’s Laboratory Safety Program strives to develop a culture of safety that will minimize the risk of injury or illness to laboratory workers by assisting principal investigators and laboratory managers with the development of a comprehensive, specific safety program.
Required Training Content
The OSHA Laboratory standard requires that individuals who will be working with chemicals in the laboratory be provided with sufficient training to enable them to conduct their work safely. Training must be provided prior to the time when individuals begin their duties involving chemicals and whenever there is a significant change in the types or quantities of chemicals used. Departments and, ultimately, principal investigators, lab managers or lab supervisors are responsible for ensuring that all individuals working in their laboratories have been adequately trained.
The general training topics required by the Laboratory standard are:
- Laboratory safety, including the content of the OSHA Laboratory Standard.
- Hazard communication training
- Location and availability of the Laboratory Safety and Chemical Hygiene Plan (i.e., Chemical Hygiene Plan).
- How to read a safety data sheet (SDS), including the location and availability of known reference material on the hazards, safe handling, storage, and disposal of chemicals.
- Measures that laboratory workers can take to protect themselves from chemical hazards, including control measures, personal protective equipment, standard operating procedures, and emergency procedures.
WAC 296-823-100 requires that employees who may be exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials that may contain bloodborne pathogens complete bloodborne pathogen training. Examples of bloodborne pathogens are the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B virus.
- Guidelines for working in the Research Service Centers (PDF)
- Mask Etiquette & Care: What You Need to Know (PDF)
- SOP-COVID-001 – Cleaning general areas (PDF – updated Aug. 2020)
- SOP-COVID-002 – Cleaning laboratories (PDF – updated Aug. 2020)
- SOP-COVID-003 – Disinfecting electric devices (PDF)
- SOP.001 – Cleaning research service center equipment (PDF)
- Laboratory safety manual – WSU
- Laboratory safety manual summary – WSU Health Sciences (PDF)
- Respiratory safety plan – WSU
- Respiratory protection program – WSU Health Sciences (PDF)
- Radiation safety
- Laser safety (PDF)
- Material safety data sheets
- Glove selection chart (PDF)
- Safe work practices for preventing sharps injuries (PDF)
- WSU Office of Research Assurances
- Laboratory safety training (PDF)
- Laboratory compliance education program
- Radiation safety training
- Standard operating procedures for equipment operation, cleaning, and waste disposal:
- SOP.001 Cleaning research service center equipment (PDF)
- SOP.002 Thermo scientific -80 freezer (PDF)
- SOP.003 Chemical fume hoods (PDF)
- SOP.004 Operation of Millrock freeze dryer (PDF)
- SOP.005 Operation of TRIVAC E2 vacuum pump (PDF)
- SOP.006 Operation of the consolidated autoclave (PDF) REVISED
- SOP.007 Operation of the swinging bucket centrifuge (PDF)
- SOP.008 Operation of the fixed angle centrifuge (PDF)
- SOP.009 Cleaning high-touch laboratory surfaces (PDF)
- SOP.010 Disposal of laboratory glass waste (PDF)
- SOP.011 Disposal of autoclavable waste (PDF)
- SOP.012 Disposal of biohazardous waste (PDF)
- SOP.013 Disposal of pathological waste (PDF)
- SOP.014 Disposal of solid chemical waste (PDF)
- SOP.015 Shipping dry ice packages (PDF)
- SOP.016 Emergency shower/eyewash inspections (PDF) NEW!
- SOP.017 Freezer Alarm Notification (PDF) NEW!
- SOP.018 Operation of the Tuttnauer Autoclave (PDF) NEW!
- Chemical hygiene plan – WSU Health Sciences Spokane (PDF)
- Laboratory inspection checklist (PDF) REVISED
- General protective risk assessment (PDF)
- Laboratory personnel protective risk assessment (PDF)
- OSHA respirator questionnaire (PDF)
Director of Research Facilities
– Respiratory program administrator