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Title:  Laboratory Safety

Subject:  Research                             

Policy No: Res: 2015:05                                                                

Applies: University-Wide                   

Issuing Authority:   President

Responsible Officer:   Vice President for Research

Adopted: 10/20/2015

Last Revision:

Last Reviewed:



The purpose of this policy is to ensure a healthy and safe working place and safe work practices for its faculty, staff, students and visitors it the University’s laboratories by informing and training the employees specifically about physical, chemical, microbiological and other laboratory hazards. 


Under the direction of the President, the Vice President for Research shall implement and ensure compliance with this policy.


This policy applies to all laboratories being used for research or clinical purposes under the auspices of the University by all Schools/Units/Departments located in all Rowan University- owned, leased or operated facilities. 


Laboratory safety regulations and safety manuals applicable to Rowan University are listed in Attachment 1.


Key definitions and terms are included in Attachment 2.


  1. Rowan University is committed to promoting a healthy and safe working place and safe work practices for its faculty, staff, students and visitors.  Rowan University‘s laboratory safety program depends on everyone’s participation and cooperation and their commitment to perform their laboratory functions in a way that is safe for themselves and their coworkers.  Failure to follow safety precautions not only exposes the individual to risks, but often compromises the safety of fellow workers and the surrounding community, and may result in injury, loss and/or damage. 
  2. The laboratory safety policy at Rowan University is committed to meet all the requirements of State and federal laboratory safety standards, which are intended to safely limit laboratory workers’ exposure to hazardous substances. 
    1. Laboratory workers must not be exposed to substances in excess of the permissible exposure limits (PEL) specified in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule 29 CFR 1910, Subpart Z, Toxic and Hazardous Substances. 
    2. Likewise, the Toxic Substances Control Act administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires that prudent laboratory practices be developed and documented for research involving new chemicals that have not had their health and environmental hazards fully characterized.  
    3. OSHA’s Occupational Exposure to hazardous Chemicals in laboratories standard (29 CFR 1910.1450), referred to as the Laboratory Standard, cover the laboratories where chemical manipulation generally involves small amounts of a limited variety of chemicals.  This standard applies to all hazardous chemical meeting the definition of “laboratory use” and having the potential for worker exposure.  
    4. The OSHA (29 CFR 1910.1200) and New Jersey Worker and Community Right to Know standards (N.J.A.C.  8:59) require communicating information about hazardous materials used, produced or stored at work sites within the Commonwealth.  
    5. These laws and Acts provide minimum standards that employees must adhere to and responsibilities of the employer for informing employees about occupational-health hazards in the work place.
  3. Over the past two decades, Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) has become the code of practice for biosafety—the discipline addressing the safe handling and containment of infectious microorganisms and hazardous biological materials. The principles of biosafety introduced in 1984 in the first edition of BMBL1 and carried through in the fifth edition remain steadfast. These principles are containment and risk assessment.
    1. The fundamentals of containment include the microbiological practices, safety equipment, and facility safeguards that protect laboratory workers, the environment, and the public from exposure to infectious microorganisms that are handled and stored in the laboratory.
    2. Risk assessment is the process that enables the appropriate selection of microbiological practices, safety equipment, and facility safeguards that can prevent laboratory-associated infections. 
    3. The purpose of periodic updates of BMBL is to refine guidance based on new knowledge and experiences and to address contemporary issues that present new risks that confront laboratory workers and the public health. In this way the code of practice will continue to serve the microbiological and biomedical community as a relevant and valuable authoritative reference.
  4. The Laboratory Safety Policy requires procedures for the use of personal protective equipment, practices that minimize the risk of injury or illness and ensures that employees have the training, information, support they need to work safely in the laboratory.  It also recommends a wide spectrum of safety precautions ranging from daily housekeeping responsibilities to procedures to follow in emergency situations addressing specific issues related to general laboratory practices, biological safety, chemical safety, radiation safety and emergency procedures. 


  1. The president of Rowan University has ultimate authority for University’s compliance with environmental, health and safety standards and policies at all facilities under university control. The president has authorized the department of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) and Office of Research to coordinate the University’s environmental health and safety programs and to monitor the University’s compliance with appropriate standards and policies.
  2. Implementation of laboratory safety standards at the University is a shared responsibility of employees, supervisors, department heads, deans, senior administrative staff and Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S).  See Attachment 3.


  1. Rowan University provides a comprehensive health and safety program for all University laboratories which is described in the Laboratory Safety Plan.  The program will be coordinated with other University health and safety policies, including those outlined in Section II of this Policy to ensure comprehensive, customized and non-redundant coverage. 
  2. Pursuant to this program, minimum laboratory safety standards, which comply with applicable Federal and State regulations and guidelines, are established in a written Laboratory Safety Plan for each School/Unit/Department. 
  3. The exact requirements of such plans are decided by EH&S, in conjunction with representatives from each School/Unit/Department.  The Laboratory Safety Plan contains minimum safety standards which apply to all University laboratories.  In addition to the Laboratory Safety Plan, the Select Agents Program is described in this policy.
  4. The required components of a laboratory safety plan are outlined in Attachment 5.


  1. Attachment 1 - References and Safety Manuals
  2. Attachment 2 - Key Definitions and Terms
  3. Attachment 3 - Compliance with Environmental, Health And Safety Standards and Policies
  4. Attachment 4 - Required Components of a Laboratory Safety Plan
  5. Attachment 5 - Laboratory Safety Plans - Minimum Safety Standards