Aug 27, 2015


By Grant Goad 

Building a culture of safety is fundamental to every healthy, secure, and successful lab operation. From the CEO on down, everyone in the lab must take responsibility for the safety of their colleagues and themselves. Safety goals and policies need to be clear and meaningful, not abstract rules that are easy to ignore.

Lab safety isn’t just for large organizations, either. Start-ups and smaller academic labs must also make safety a priority, even when budgets are stretched. Fortunately, there are many resources available to labs of all sizes, from free, online training courses, to printable safety checklists.

The following are three valuable sources of training and reference materials to help you and your lab put safety first.

Laboratory Safety Workspace is a collaborative online training project that provides small labs with information on lab safety best practices.

A joint venture of the New Hampshire IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (NH-INBRE, a network of 10 New Hampshire two- and four-year colleges funded by a National Institutes of Health grant), Dartmouth College Environmental Health and Safety, and lab safety and compliance software provider, BioRAFT, the website features a series of online courses covering topics such as:

  • Introduction to lab safety
  • Autoclave safety
  • Biological safety
  • Chemical safety

Certificates are issued upon completion of each course, whose authenticity can be confirmed on the organization’s website.

Click here to view the available courses on the Laboratory Safety Workspace’s website. >>

The UC Center for Laboratory Safety

Founded in 2011 after a tragic lab accident at the University of California, Los Angeles, the UC Center for Laboratory Safety seeks to improve lab safety through research.

In addition to the research projects that it funds, the Center sponsors lab safety workshops and online training modules. Their website is full of free educational resources such as:

Visit the UC Center for Laboratory Safety website for more information and resources. >>

The Laboratory Safety Institute

Incorporated as a non-profit by Jim Kaufman in 1991, the Laboratory Safety Institute offers lab safety training, audits, inspections, and consulting services to clients all over the world.

Kaufman began his career at Dow Chemical in 1973, where he drew up a list of 40 lab safety guidelines. Dow published the list and distributed it to over 2000 colleges and universities in the 1970s, eventually printing over 250,000 copies to meet demand.

The Institute’s website features a resources page with free materials, including:

  • An online lab safety dictionary
  • A series of lab safety videos, covering topics such as centrifugation hazards, chemical storage hazards, glassware safety, and more
  • A page with links to free lab safety documents
  • free poster featuring the latest update to Dr. Kaufman’s lab safety guidelines; the poster is available for download in multiple languages, including Spanish, Thai, Turkish, Korean, French and more

Click here for more information on the Lab Safety Institute’s services and to view their course schedule. >>