2.   Environmental
        Health & Safety

Safety First!   


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Stanford Policy

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Chapter 6
     Health and


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* Stanford
Health and
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* Safety in
Research Labs


* Stanford Safety


* New PI
Safety Training

School of


Stanford University's commitment to providing a safe environment for everyone here creates particular requirements for PIs in research laboratories. Labs at Stanford house chemicals, equipment, and other materials that can pose hazards to health. The proper management of these hazards is not only good lab management, it is also a regulatory requirement.

Specific policies related to biosafety, lasers, radiation, chemical hazards, emergency procedures, etc. are linked to Chapter 9 of Stanford's Research Policy Handbook.

TRAINING is fundamental to safety. Both the Stanford Environmental Health & Safety Office and the Health & Safety Office in the School of Medicine can provide relevant training material.

Training Resources

[ EH&S site ]

In particular circumstances, training can be required as a condition of laboratory access. Vigilence in the lab also requires ongoing communication, and the prompt reporting of problems. There is a network of staff at Stanford who will help manage your safety concerns (University Safety Partners, a pdf file). Online forms are available to ask questions or to report unsafe conditions.

Regulations governing health and safety are promulgated at the federal, state and local level. The EH&S office maintains an online library of documents, reports, regulations and guidelines.

Virtual Library

[ EH&S site ]

In addition to general safety requirements, there are three particular research areas that require special reviews and approvals. If your research involves:

  • recombinant DNA molecules, infectious or biohazardous agents
  • radioactive isotopes, or ionizing, ultraviolet laser and/or microwave radiation
  • human stem cells, human embryos, or their derivatives

your project protocol MUST BE REVIEWED AND APPROVED IN ADVANCE BY AN ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL. Faculty working with biohazardous agents and/or recombinant DNA molecules should be familiar with the Administrative Panel on Biosafety. Those working with radiation or lasers should contact the Radiation Safety Office (723-3201) and review the Health Physics information on the EH&S web site. Stem cell research is reviewed by the Stem Cell Research Oversight (SCRO) Committee.

In the research environment, the PI is in a critical position to understand the operation and equipment involved, the materials and methods used, and, therefore, the potential risks associated with the work being done. Importantly, the PI's attitude toward health and safety will contribute significantly to the education of students regarding the conduct of research.


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