All researchers must be knowledgeable regarding the risks of working with hazardous materials, processes and equipment to the laboratory worker, campus community and the environment. Researchers generally come to FSU with considerable knowledge regarding the safe conduct of experiments, including knowledge of the risks of hazardous materials gained through prior training and experience. Researchers are also aware that compliance with regulatory agencies is required of all individuals and of the university. At FSU, Environmental Health and Safety professionals strive to assist researchers in minimizing risks in the laboratory and maintaining compliance with federal, state and local regulations. On this page, new researchers will find guidance regarding EH&S programs which facilitate these purposes.
New Researchers should contact the Laboratory Safety Office at 644-8916 to schedule an initial meeting to discuss research needs and to identify safety issues related to training requirements, hazardous waste streams, laboratory hazards, and to begin the registration of hazardous materials use at FSU. Once a researcher is hired, even if the FSU start date is some months away, he/she may contact the Laboratory Safety Office at 644-8916 to begin the approval process for research use of pharmaceuticals, biohazardous materials or other regulated materials, as several months may be required to obtain federal or state approval of some materials and operations. The following list provides a starting point for new researchers who wish to obtain approval for research activities at FSU; however it is recommended that a new researcher contact the Laboratory Safety Office first so that all registrations can be coordinated at once:
For registration of hazardous materials, go to the forms section of this website or contact EH&S staff at the phone numbers listed below:
- Biosafety level 2 or 3 (infectious materials) – contact the Biological Safety Officer
- Work with recombinant DNA – Form #EHS 7-7 or contact the Biological Safety Officer
- Work with radioactive materials/waste – #EHS 10-1 or contact the Radiation Safety Officer
- Work with lasers or X-rays – #EHS 10-5 or contact the Radiation Safety Officer
- Work with vertebrate animals – contact the ACUC secretary for initial paperwork; contact the Biological Safety Officer or Lab Safety Officer for assistance with development of handling protocols for the use of chemicals/infectious agents in animals.
- Chemical Waste setup (containers provided by EH&S) – contact the Asst. Chemical Safety Officer
- Work with high toxicity chemicals – #EHS 8-3 or contact the Chemical Safety Officer for guidance and requirements
- Required laboratory safety training – List of Training Classes or contact the Laboratory Safety Office for information
- Work with DEA regulated substances or pharmaceuticals – contact the Laboratory Safety Officer
- Laboratory Setup – contact the Laboratory Safety Officer.
Submission of the chemical inventory:
In accordance with NFPA and OSHA regulations, all researchers must submit a listing of chemical stocks, stock locations, and expected maximum amounts to EH&S. An excel file template is provided here and may be e-mailed to the Laboratory Safety Office at email@example.com
Chemical inventories should be updated biennially. Contact the Laboratory Safety Office for more information.
Development of a lab safety plan & hazardous material protocols
Each researcher should prepare written protocols to address the hazards and precautions specific to his or her laboratory. A lab safety plan or SOP identifies hazards and describes procedures for emergencies, special hazards, and handling hazardous materials. The SOP includes laboratory locations, personnel, procedures, engineering controls, personal protective equipment, and safe work practices.
New Laboratory Personnel
Hazardous Waste Awareness/Lab Safety training is mandatory for all new laboratory personnel. Lab workers must attend this EH&S training as soon as possible after joining the lab. EH&S also offers training in laboratory safety, radiation safety, blood-borne pathogens, biosafety, and other topics, which may be required if the proposed research involves these hazards. Lab workers may register online for training here (FSUID Login Required). In addition to EH&S safety training, all lab workers must be trained in laboratory safety specific to the hazards of their work by lab managers and Principle Investigators.
Before beginning work in a laboratory, all personnel should take time to identify the nearest fire alarm, fire extinguisher, safety shower, eyewash station, and spill kit. Lab workers should contact the Laboratory Safety Office if they need instructions on the use of lab safety equipment.
New lab workers must be instructed in all emergency procedures, and must know who to contact if a lab accident occurs. FSU employees - including faculty, graduate students, lab technicians, post-docs, and OPS employees - are covered under the FSU Worker’s Compensation program. Students who are injured in a laboratory are covered under their own student health insurance. Please see the injury report flowchart below for information about obtaining medical assistance and reporting a workplace injury. Always call 911 to obtain immediate assistance, and complete the reporting paperwork as soon as possible after treatment. If the injury is not an emergency, follow the reporting steps in the flowchart to obtain medical treatment.
If a lab worker is a volunteer, he/she must fill out the FSU volunteer form at http://www.hr.fsu.edu/PDF/Forms/VolunteerService_F.pdf , submit this form to Human Resources, and forward a copy to the Laboratory Safety Office. Volunteers who have registered with Human Resources are covered under FSU’s Worker’s Compensation program.
Volunteers must take the FSU Hazwaste/Lab Safety training, and may also be required to take additional EH&S training related to the hazards of the work. Volunteers should receive substantial safety training specific to laboratory protocols provided by senior lab members and Principle Investigators. Volunteers who are under 18 may not work with hazardous materials without direct supervision. Contact the Laboratory Safety Office for specific information related to proposed work utilizing a volunteer.
New lab workers may contact the Laboratory Safety Office (644-8916) to obtain a review of laboratory safety, to obtain approvals for use of regulated materials, and to answer specific questions, or contact EH&S technical experts at the numbers listed below.
Important Phone Numbers
- FSU Police/EmergencyDial 911
- ACUC protocol – starting a new animal use protocol644-4262
- ACUC protocol – guidance on chemical/biohazard use in animals644-5374
- Biological Safety – infectious agents handling & guidance, spills, exposures644-5374
- Biohazardous Waste – pickup, containers, guidance644-5374
- Injury/chemical exposure (employee) - contact (Optacomp)1-877-518-2583
or contact EH&S Worker’s Comp at644-7683
- Injury/chemical exposure (student) – student seeks medical attention, then report to EH&S
- Chemical Safety – chemical storage, report odors/incidents/spills, guidance644-7682
- Chemical Hygiene Officer – Chemical Safety Officer644-7682
- Chemical Waste – pickup request, new containers, guidance644-0971
- Controlled Substances/Pharmaceuticals – licenses, ordering, guidance644-8916
- Emergency (lab accidents or spills) – call 911 or contact EH&S for assistance at644-6895
- Facilities Maintenance – facilities repairs, fume hood repairs644-2424
- Laboratory Inspections644-0818
- Lab Equipment – fume hoods, safety showers, eyewashes644-9117
- Laboratory Safety - lab/chemical handling & guidance, avoid exposures644-8916
- Laser Safety – guidance, registration644-8801
- Medical Monitoring - animal research, FSU divers, A-team respirator644-9117
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - respirator644-8177
- Pregnant Laboratory Worker guidance644-8916
- Radiation Safety – guidance, shielding, badges, monitoring, dosimeters644-8802
- EH&S Training – questions and scheduling644-6895
- Environmental Health and Safety main number644-6895
- Research Support - Assistant Director644-8800
Lab Move or New Lab Setup
If your laboratory is moving to another on-campus location, there may be significant numbers of chemical containers and other potentially hazardous materials that need to be moved. The transport of laboratory hazardous materials poses a risk due to the increased likelihood of an accidental release in an uncontrolled area. Proper planning and procedures will minimize the hazards associated with moving. Laboratory personnel moving chemicals on the FSU campus must take reasonable steps to minimize the potential for spills or incompatible mixing of the chemicals, or release of any hazardous materials.
The following practices shall be followed when moving hazardous materials and lab equipment:
- In addition to the detailed instructions below, you may contact our safety professionals at the numbers listed above for information and assistance.
- Know where the chemical spill kits are stored. Be ready for emergencies. Contact EH&S in advance of the move to obtain appropriate spill kits. If there is a spill that has the potential to endanger human health, immediate action must be taken. Call 911 and take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of those in the immediate area. If a spill has the potential to impact storm drains, take immediate action to protect the storm drain (dirt dike) and contact EH&S. In the event of a spill, notify a supervisor and EH&S at 644-6895 regardless of the perceived extent of the spill.
- Move chemicals during regular working hours.
- Only trained laboratory personnel may move chemicals and other hazardous materials. Commercial movers or departmental staff can move lab supplies but NOT hazardous materials.
- Inventory chemicals - discard expired, outdated or unwanted chemicals through the Chemical Safety Office by calling 644-7682 or 644-0971 or using the online hazardous waste pickup form http://www.safety.fsu.edu/hazpic_form.html
- Do not attempt to move outdated ethers or other potentially unstable/reactive compounds. Chemicals that are outdated and potentially unstable; in corroded containers; having cracked or missing lids; unknown/unlabeled should be properly disposed of through EH&S and NOT relocated to a new lab facility.
- Do not move chemical waste. Leave it in the old lab location and notify the Chemical Safety Office – see above. All waste must be labeled for contents. New waste containers will be delivered to the new lab location. Contact the Chemical safety office for new waste containers by calling 644-0971 or 644-7682. Waste may not be left in a lab from which all lab workers have moved. If a laboratory continues to store chemicals in the old lab and is sorting those chemicals into waste streams, EH&S must pick up waste within 2 weeks from the time of generation in the lab. Labs must closely coordinate with The Chemical Safety Office to ensure that wastes are not left in empty labs in violation of Florida Statute.
- Use proper protective equipment. At minimum, this includes a laboratory coat, safety glasses, closed toed shoes and proper hand protection.
- Use freight elevators if possible.
- Use a sturdy cart with raised edges.
- Pack hazardous chemicals (solvents, corrosives, toxic chemicals) and all liquids with compatible chemicals. Make sure that all chemicals are securely capped. Place in a secondary container like a tub or bin. Contact EH&S for bins for moves between laboratories on the FSU campuses. Label all chemicals, and label the bins.
- Individual chemical containers must be placed in a secondary plastic container when transporting. For ease of move, it is permitted to put compatible chemicals together in cardboard boxes (except oxidizers) before setting the cardboard box into the plastic secondary container.
- Do not place incompatible chemicals together in the same bin. This will prevent unwanted chemical reactions in the event of leaks of spills. Examples of incompatible chemicals include: acids/bases, oxidizers/organic solvents, acids/cyanides, acids/sulfides, aqueous materials/water reactive materials, etc.
- Glass bottles containing hazardous chemicals should be packed in vermiculite or other absorbent materials
- Relatively non-hazardous dry chemicals may be packed in boxes. Make sure all chemicals are securely capped. Label the boxes.
- DO NOT MOVE chemicals in personal vehicles. Use departmental vehicles or contact EH&S for assistance.
- Do not put chemicals in the trash. Empty bottles, if rinsed, may be marked “empty” and placed in the regular trash.
- Hazardous chemicals must not be left or stored in corridors, departmental offices, or other non-laboratory locations.
- If chemicals are to be shipped off-campus, contact the Chemical Safety Office at 644-7682 or EH&S at 644-6895 for guidance on packaging and shipping regulations.
- Prior to the move (or soon as a move date is known), contact the Laboratory Safety Office at 644-8916 to notify the DEA of the new address. A memo will be sent to the DEA requesting approval of the new location.
- DO NOT move controlled substances to the new location. Just before the move, transfer controlled substances and prescription substances to the Laboratory Safety Office. The DEA must approve the new lab location before the drugs can be transferred back to the licensee. The DEA may visit the new location before approving it.
- Unwanted controlled or prescription substances should be transferred to the Laboratory Safety Office for disposal.
- Notify the Radiation Safety Office of the approximate date of the move or lab close-out. Notify the Radiation Safety Office of the new lab location by calling 644-8802.
- Decontaminate equipment before moving. Survey the equipment for contamination and decontaminate as needed to remove all radioactive contamination. The Radiation Safety Office will ascertain that all equipment to be moved is free of contamination.
- Decontaminate lab work areas by the move date. Survey the lab bench tops, fume hoods and storage areas for contamination and decontaminate as needed to remove all radioactive contamination. The Radiation Safety Office will ascertain that the laboratory to be closed out is free of contamination and will de-post. Laboratory workers should not remove radiation hazard labels from equipment or lab space. These will be removed by the Radiation Safety Office.
- Leave radioactive waste in the old lab location for removal by the Radiation Safety Office. New waste containers will be delivered to the new lab location.
- Secure all materials in approved and labeled containers that will sufficiently contain and shield the radioactive materials. Contact the Radiation Safety Office for guidance.
- Only trained laboratory personnel may move the radioactive materials.
- Do not move radioactive materials in personal vehicles. Use departmental vehicles or contact EH&S for assistance.
- Check shared areas for lab chemicals and equipment to be moved, disposed of and/or decontaminated.
- If radioactive materials are to be shipped off campus, contact the Radiation Safety Office at 644-8802 or 644-8800 for guidance on packaging and shipping.
- Notify the Biological Safety Office of the approximate date of the move or lab close-out by calling 644-5374.
- Only trained laboratory personnel may move biohazardous materials.
- A biohazard spill kit and PPE should be available before the move. Contact the Biological Safety Office for guidance.
- Biological materials that must be kept frozen or chilled may be moved inside a refrigerator or freezer if the material is completely secured and unable to be spilled, and the freezer unit is locked and unable to be opened. Trained laboratory personnel must accompany the freezer units, and should have PPE and a spill kit available.
- Animal or human tissues, cell cultures, biological or rDNA stocks should be transported to a new lab location in a sealed or capped secondary container.
- BSL2 or BSL3 materials must be moved to a BSL2 or BSL3 lab approved by the Biological Safety office.
- Biohazardous waste should be autoclaved and left in the appropriate biohazardous waste containers in the lab being closed out. Do not move biological waste. Contact the Biological Safety office for new waste containers and red sharps containers for a new lab location.
- Biosafety cabinets that are moved MUST be decontaminated before moving, and re-certified before use at the new location. When moving the unit, do not attempt to open the top compartment.
- Contact the Biological Safety Office to arrange for re-certification.
- Lab areas used for BSL work must be decontaminated. Lab equipment must be decontaminated before moving.
- Do not move Biohazardous materials in personal vehicles. Use departmental vehicles or contact EH&S for assistance.
- If biological materials are to be shipped to a new facility, contact the Biological Safety Office for guidance on packaging and shipping regulations.
- Disconnect regulators and securely cap cylinders before moving.
- Contact supplier for return of empty or unwanted gas cylinders.
- Cylinders should be transported in carts to which they are secured with a strap or chain.
- Lab equipment must be decontaminated before moving or transferring to surplus.
- Lab equipment and refrigerators may not be de-posted for radioactive or biological hazards. Decontaminate…then contact EH&S for de-posting.
- Laboratory fume hoods must be decontaminated before lab close-out.
- Refrigerators and freezers must be decontaminated before moving. Lab refrigerators and freezers MAY NOT be sent to Property Surplus. They may be transferred to another lab or disposed of as trash if coolant is captured and the door is removed.
- For disposal of X-ray or laser equipment, contact the Radiation Safety Office for information.
New Lab Setup:
- Look for nearest safety equipment: eyewashes and safety showers, fire extinguishers, fire pull stations (near exit stairs).
- Plan carefully before storing equipment and chemicals in the new lab
- Avoid using extension cords
- Store chemicals by hazard class
- Do not store chemicals on the floor or above eye level
- Do not permit equipment to block fire extinguishers, eyewashes or egress
- Purchase lab furniture that is impervious to hazardous materials (no cloth cushions)
- If you are a new Principal Investigator at FSU, contact the Laboratory Safety Office to discuss safety and compliance issues associated with your research
Permanent Lab Close-out:
If you are leaving FSU, or will be retiring from lab activities, you must address laboratory safety and compliance issues before leaving. The Principal Investigator is responsible for all close-out issues related to his/her lab. Researchers should not simply leave hazardous materials, contaminated lab surfaces and equipment for others to address. The following practices and actions must be followed prior to closing a laboratory:
Contact EH&S and provide an approximate date for the lab close-out by calling 644-6895 or 644-8916.
Determine if lab materials and equipment can be used by a colleague, and arrange to transfer; however do not provide free access to unwanted lab chemicals and equipment to students or the public.
Lab equipment, especially refrigerators, incubators, shakers, must be decontaminated before transferring to another researcher.
Lab use refrigerators may not be sent to surplus property. If they cannot be used in another lab, the department should arrange to have the oil and coolant removed, the door removed, and the refrigerator removed as trash.
Other laboratory equipment - if approved for surplus by EH&S - can be sent to surplus via the departmental representative for property records. Every item with an FSU inventory tag must be accounted for by noting to the property records representative the new location, whether it has been sent to surplus, or whether it has been trashed (requires separate form). EH&S must approve all transfers of laboratory equipment to surplus property by first determining that the item is not contaminated with hazardous materials.
Contact the Chemical Safety Office 644-7682 or 644-0971 for removal of all unwanted chemicals and chemical waste.
Contact the Biological Safety Office 644-5374 for removal of all biohazardous materials or wastes.
Contact the Radiation Safety Office 644-8801 for removal of all radioactive materials or wastes.
Contact the Laboratory Safety Office 644-8916 for coordination of the move or for further information.
If the lab is to be closed, but a graduate student will continue to perform laboratory work, the lab must be transferred to the supervision of another FSU Principal Investigator and his/her name must be provided to EH&S as an emergency contact for the laboratory personnel and for other issues related to laboratory safety.