Laboratory Safety

UCSC and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry are committed to providing a safe laboratory environment for its faculty, staff, students and visitors. The goal of the Lab Research Safety Program is to minimize the risk of injury or illness to laboratory workers by ensuring that they have the training, information, support and equipment needed to work safely in the laboratory.  

Charge: The purpose of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Safety Committee is to achieve and maintain a safe and healthy environment for the faculty, staff and students in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The Safety Committee meets quarterly or more frequently when required and is composed of the following staff:

List of members (typically changes annually)

Rebecca Braslau - Chair

Alex Ayzner

Jin Zhang

The main objectives of the committee are to:

- Promote and publicize safety to department faculty, staff and students;
- Review safety-related suggestions, reports or other information that would help in creating a safe work environment;
- Evaluate the department’s Safety program, practices and operations and make recommendations for improvement;
- Evaluate the department’s safety training and recommend procedures to ensure that researchers are trained to perform their work safely;
- Review EH&S Audit findings and ensure that laboratory self-inspections are conducted to identify hazards and document corrections;
- Arbitrate disagreements involving lab safety and compliance policies; and
- Review and investigate accidents, incidents and injuries and make recommendations for remedy or improvement in procedures and operations.


All departments are required to have an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) to support employee emergency preparedness.  Employees are responsible for familiarizing themselves with campus emergency procedures .

Emergency Action Plan

To report an emergency, dial 911 from any landline or cell phone, or use one of the blue light emergency phones.

Campus Emergency Procedures

Emergency/Disaster Planning & Response

PBSci Divisional Lab Safety Assistance

Environmental Health & Safety Department (EH&S)

EH&S Lab Safety

The EH&S Department at UCSC is dedicated to the prevention of injuries and illnesses to the campus' employees, students and visitors. We fulfill this mission by providing a wide range of services including ergonomic evaluations of workstations, complaint investigations, safety training, audits of Injury and Illness Prevention Programs, oversight of campus food facilities and more.

Lab Safety Program

Chemistry Department LSR Information 


The following resources provide news and information on specific research related incidents and lessons learned.  Good risk decisions require more than anecdotal information, but these data points provide a greater breadth of view into the experiences of Chemists and researchers beyond what is picked up in casual conversation and occasional emails.  Many are worth checking regularly to review current incidents and the lessons to be learned from them.

The Safety Zone from the ACS C&E News

ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety News Scan

UCSC Lessons Learned 

UCI Lessons Learned 

UC Industrial Hygiene and Safety Committee Lessons Learned

Lawrence Berkeley Lab Lessons Learned

AIHA Laboratory Safety Incidents

Lab Safety Institute Memorial Wall 
Archive of the emailed stories I send to the Faculty and researchers


Laboratory Safety Manual

EH&S Programs

UCOP - Environment, Health & Safety 

The University of California Santa Cruz is committed to achieving excellence in health, safety and environmental performance. The University complies with all applicable, health, safety and environmental laws, regulations, and requirements. All University activities are conducted in a manner that ensures protection of students, faculty, staff, visitors, the public, property and the environment. The University will use and continuously improve a management system and best practices to systematically integrate health, safety, environmental considerations and sustainable use of natural resources into all activities.

The University strives to achieve the following goals:
• Zero injuries or illnesses
• Zero environmental incidents
• Zero property loss or damage
Achieving these goals is the responsibility of everyone at the University. Supervisors have particular responsibility for those people who work under them.

University of California Policy on Management of Health, Safety and the Environment - Effective October 28, 2005
Integrated Safety and Environmental Management Guiding Principles and Core Functions

Lab Safety Responsibilities

Duties of Principal Investigator/Laboratory Supervisor

The PI/Laboratory Supervisor has responsibility for the health and safety of all laboratory personnel working under their authority or within their research facilities. The PI/Laboratory Supervisor may delegate the safety duties for which they are responsible, but must ensure delegated duties are performed and obligations met.

The PI/Laboratory Supervisor is responsible for:

1.    Knowing applicable health and safety rules and regulations, training and reporting requirements and standard operating procedures associated with laboratory safety;

2.    Identifying hazardous conditions or operations in the lab, determining safe procedures and controls, and implementing and enforcing standard safety procedures;

3.    Establishing standard safety operating procedures (general and protocol specific) and performing literature searches relevant to health and safety that is appropriate for the work;

4.    Providing prior-approval for the use of hazardous materials in the laboratory;

5.    Consulting on use of higher risk materials, such as use of particularly hazardous chemicals, biological agents or radioactive materials, so that special safety precautions are taken;

6.    Maintaining an updated chemical and hazardous material inventory for the laboratory;

7.    Ensuring laboratory personnel under his/her supervision have access to and are familiar with the appropriate laboratory safety manuals (Chemical Hygiene Plan, Biosafety, Radiation Safety);

8.    Training all laboratory personnel he/she supervises to work safely with hazardous materials and maintain written records of laboratory specific training in the appropriate Laboratory Safety Manual(s). Electronic records are also encouraged. Training must include informing laboratory personnel of the location and availability of hazard information such as Material Safety Data Sheets;

9.    Notifying EH&S and/or Facilities Management as soon as possible should he/she become aware that work place engineering controls (e.g., fume hoods) and safety equipment (e.g., emergency showers/eyewashes, fire extinguishers, etc.) become non-operational;

10. Ensuring all appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) (e.g., lab coats, gloves, eye protection, etc.) is provided and maintained;

11. Conducting annual PI inspections of all laboratory spaces and ensuring that quarterly self inspections are performed within the lab, maintaining records of inspections and corrections, as required, and ensuring all corrective actions are completed and that annual EH&S audit findings are addressed, documented and forms returned to EH&S;

12. Prompt reporting of laboratory accidents and injuries to Risk Management and EH&S. Serious injuries MUST be reported to EH&S within 8 hours of the incident;

13. Providing funding for medical surveillance and/or medical consultation/examination for laboratory personnel, as required; and

14. Informing facilities personnel, other non-laboratory personnel and any outside contractors of potential lab-related hazards and how to mitigate these hazards when they are required to work in the laboratory environment.

• Duties of All Laboratory Personnel  (perhaps include the following on a deeper page as a link?)

All laboratory personnel in research operations are responsible for:

1.    Reviewing and following relevant laboratory safety manual(s) (e.g., Chemical Hygiene Plan, Radiation Safety, Biosafety, etc);

2.    Following oral and written laboratory safety rules, regulations, and standard operating procedures required for the tasks assigned;

3.    Keeping work areas safe and uncluttered;

4.    Reviewing and understanding the hazards of materials and processes in their research operations prior to conducting work;

5.    Using appropriate measures to control identified hazards, including consistent and proper use of engineering controls, personal protective equipment, and administrative controls;

6.    Understanding the capabilities and limitations of PPE issued to them;

7.    Obtaining prior approval from the PI/Laboratory Supervisor for the use of particularly hazardous chemicals, biological agents, or radioactive materials;

8.    Consulting with the PI/Laboratory Supervisors before using highly hazardous materials or conducting certain higher risk experimental procedures;

9.    Prompt reporting of accidents and unsafe conditions to the PI/Laboratory Supervisor;

10. Completing all required health, safety and environmental training and providing written documentation to their supervisor;

11. Participating in the medical surveillance program, when required;

12. Informing the PI/ Laboratory Supervisor of any work modifications ordered by a physician as a result of medical surveillance, occupational injury or exposure; and

13. Laboratory personnel working autonomously or performing independent research are responsible for:

a. Reviewing the plan or scope of work for their proposed research with the PI/Laboratory Supervisor;

b. Notifying in writing and consulting with the PI/Laboratory Supervisor, in advance, if they intend to deviate from their scope or scale of work;

c. Preparing SOPs and performing literature searches relevant to safety and health that are appropriate for their work; and

d. Providing appropriate oversight, training and safety information to laboratory personnel they supervise or direct.

UCSC Biosafety Program

UCSC Radiation Program