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Oregon State University

Research Safety

The following are common topics researchers at OSU should address in order to help ensure safe working conditions in their laboratories and to maintain regulatory compliance. Certain types of research, organisms, chemicals, and equipment require special oversight or prior approval from EH&S or other OSU regulatory bodies.


  • Lab Check-in and Check-out Procedures

When a Principal Investigator (PI) moves into or out of a laboratory space, the guidelines and procedures described in the Equipment Release and Lab Decon & Checkout safety instructions must be followed.

  • Lab-specific Chemical Hygiene Plan (LCHP)

Every PI whose research program utilizes potentially hazardous chemicals is required to create and implement an LCHP. An LCHP template is available as an MS Word document here.

  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

SOPs should be written for each of a lab’s potentially hazardous operations and equipment or for equipment that could be easily damaged because of improper use. SOPs should be maintained as an appendix in the LCHP.

  • Lab Safety Resources Binder (LSRB)

This is an ad-hoc health and safety program available for PIs to use for their research that addresses most laboratory safety, regulatory compliance, and OSU policy issues. PIs may obtain a hard copy from EH&S, and an electronic version with active links to online content is available.

  • Training for Lab Employees (i.e., students, post-docs, lab technicians, etc.)

Each PI at OSU is responsible for assigning and ensuring completion of training for their laboratory employees, with documentation. Information about documenting training is available on the EH&S Safety Training web page and in the LCHP template.

  • Chemical Inventory

Each PI is required to maintain an up- to-date online chemical inventory using EH&S Assistant software. Chemical inventory guidelines are available here. Please note that not all chemicals are required to be inventoried.

  • Safety Data Sheets (SDSs - formerly called MSDSs)

SDSs are available from a variety of sources, including MSDSOnline software. All lab employees must be trained about and have access to SDSs. Hazard Communication: SDS and Global Harmonizing System training is required for all lab employees and is accessible with an ONID login.

  • Chemical Labeling

All chemical containers must be properly labeled. A chemical container labeling guide is available here. Information about acceptable chemical labeling systems is available in the LSRB.

  • Hazardous Waste Disposal (Chemical, Sharps, and Radioactive Waste)

Disposal pickup requests can be submitted via this web page. For additional information, see the Hazardous Waste Disposal Guide.

  • Lab Safety Self-Assessment

EH&S will be performing periodic lab safety assessments, but each PI is responsible for performing at least one laboratory self-assessment annually. The self-assessment instructions and form are located here and here.


Please review the following web pages to determine if they pertain to your research.

The Chemical Safety Committee (CSC) provides oversight of projects using chemical carcinogens and highly toxic materials.

Work with human, animal, or plant pathogens, human source materials, recombinant and/or synthetic nucleic acids, select agents or toxins, and shipping infectious agents or toxins all require oversight and approval by the OSU Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC).

  • Animal Handler Safety
  • OSU has Policies and Procedures for persons with exposure to animals or their secretions or tissues that includes hazard awareness training and medical monitoring.
  • Radiation Safety

All uses of ionizing radiation must be specifically authorized by the Radiation Safety Committee, prior to use or purchase of equipment.

Registration is required for Class 3B and 4 lasers. Laser Safety Training is required for Class 3B, 3R, and 4 laser users and recommended for all laser users.