A PI's Guide to Lab Safety
Principal Investigators, faculty, and other laboratory supervisors have the ultimate responsibility for the safety of the lab staff, students, and visitors in their research or teaching laboratories. Principal Investigators have direct responsibility for ensuring that all safety policies are followed. This is accomplished through the review of work practices, inspection of facilities, development and implementation of procedures, use of engineering controls and personal protective equipment, mandatory training and the prompt correction of noted deficiencies. Additional PI responsibilities can be found on the EH&S Responsibilities web page.
All laboratories must be registered with (EH&S). The registration process helps to identify laboratory spaces, lab personnel, emergency contacts, and hazardous operations and materials (a Hazard Assessment). The information will be used to identify training requirements as well as ensure regulatory compliance, and assist with future reporting requirements and approval for grant applications.
Register your lab with Environmental Health & Safety
You can register your lab using the Laboratory Registration System.
You can sign up for the EH&S labsafety listserve to receive training announcements and safety alerts.
If you will be working with any of the following in your lab, follow the links to learn what you need to comply with Stony Brook University procedures:
- Laboratory Safety
- Animals Facilities (DLAR, IACUC)
- Biological Material (includes Infectious Agents, Human material, Select agents)
- DEA Controlled Substances
- Human Subjects (IRB)
- Radiation (URPC)
- Recombinant DNA or Transgenic Animals (IBC)
The Laboratory Safety program provides information on safety issues found in laboratories. It is designed to serve as a resource for research and academic departments and also assist with regulatory compliance. This outreach includes training, lab inspections and safety reviews for research protocols such as (IBC, IACUC, Grants).
Research involving animals at Stony Brook University is done through the Division of Laboratory Animal Resources (DLAR), in conjunction with the Office of Research Compliance and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). More information about the DLAR staff and the animal research support they provide can be found at the DLAR website. Information on obtaining DLAR facility access may be found at http://www.dlar.stonybrook.edu/newusers.htm.
If you work with biological material, you must take the Lab Safety Biological Hazards (ELS 003) class.
You are also required to take the Regulated Medical Waste (ENV 005) class.
If you work with human cells, blood or tissue, you must take the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens ( EOS 004) class.
For more information on the use of Select Agent or Toxins see the
If you have questions about working with biological material, contact the EH&S Biosafety Officer, Christopher Kuhlow by email firstname.lastname@example.org phone: (631)-632-3717.
If you work with chemicals, you must take the Lab Safety Chemical Hazards ( ELS 002) class.
You are also required to take the Hazardous Waste Management ( ENV 001) class.
Laboratories must keep track of certain chemicals listed with the Department of Homeland Security Chemical Security. Please review security requirements for these chemicals and report any missing material to University Police.
If you have questions about your fume hood, safety data sheets, chemical storage or other laboratory safety issues, contact the Lab Safety Specialist, Chemical Hygiene Officer Sandhya Muralidharan by email email@example.com or phone: (631)-632-9672.
Faculty, staff and students of the University must comply with all applicable state and federal laws and regulations that govern the procurement, use and documentation of controlled substances. DEA licenses must be obtained by the investigator unless the material is used through DLAR. The SBU Controlled Substances policy and additional information can be found here: http://stonybrook.edu/research/orc/controlled_substances.shtml
If any of your research will involve human subjects, you must complete certain training requirements and submit an application to the Committee on Research Involving Human Subjects (CORHIS). Additional information, forms and policies can be found on the Research Compliance web: http://www.stonybrook.edu/research/orc/humans/humansubjects.shtml
State Sanitary Code 16 and Stony Brook University's Broad Academic and Medical Radioactive Materials License #455 mandate many aspects of the use of radioactive material and ionizing radiation producing equipment on campus:
- Senior Investigator Licensing procedures (permit process)
- Personnel Authorization
- Workplace Authorization
- Required Training programs
- Radiation Safety Radiation Inspections
- Personnel Dosimetry
- Notice to Employees
- Low Level Radioactive Waste Management
- Radiological Survey Instrumentation
- Area Contamination Surveys and Radiological Surveys
- Emergency Procedures
What is needed to work with radioactive material?
- Each researcher needs to be authorized to work with a Senior Investigator who is permitted to work with radioactive material by the URPC. This is accomplished by filling out a Personal Authorization form and the Training History form that is part of the Senior Investigator radiation safety logbook. Submit these forms to the University Radiation Safety Officer (zip 6200) for authorization and for the next available radiation safety orientation session.
- Each researcher must attend the radiation safety orientation training class provided by Radiation Protection Services (RPS) bi-weekly and pass the test at the end of the three hour seminar. Class times and location are listed in the Senior Investigator Compliance Calendar.
- Annual radiation safety refresher classes are also a licensing condition in order to remain an authorized RAM user.
Important Information Resources
As Stony Brook University receives funding from the federal government for research involving rDNA, all work with rDNA at Stony Brook University, regardless of funding source, must be reviewed by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). For information, forms, and procedures go to: http://www.stonybrook.edu/research/orc/ibc/index.shtml