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Safety is a core value of our institution and an integral part of the responsible conduct of research. The University expects all faculty students and staff working in research laboratories, teaching laboratories, field research sites, art studios, performance art spaces, and machine shops to integrate safety into their activities, to strive for excellence and to go beyond minimum compliance. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for resources and guidance in meeting the expectations.
The University of Maryland expects that all students, faculty, and staff will:
Demonstrate a Commitment to Safety. Lead by example. Foster an environment where all students and staff are encouraged and empowered to voice safety questions and concerns.
Assess and Plan for Hazards and Risks. Take the time to systematically assess risks and plan for the hazards identified.
Implement Controls. Take action to control your risks. Establish and enforce safety rules.
Complete Safety Training. Ensure that all researchers, students and staff have the knowledge and the skill to safely perform their activities.
Strive for Continuous Improvement. Managing safety requires ongoing reassessment, feedback, and reinforcement. Encourage reporting of near-misses and incidents, and use these as an opportunity to learn rather than to blame.
What actions can you take to ensure you meet these expectations and improve safety culture? Check out our Summary of Expectations for Conducting Safe Research for ideas on how you can take action today.
National Biosafety Month 2019-Beyond the Lab: Increasing the Visibility of Biosafety and Biosecurity
The Biosafety Office is excited to announce that October 2019 is National Biosafety Month. This year’s theme is “Beyond the Lab: Increasing the Visibility of Biosafety and Biosecurity”. National Biosafety month is a time when we encourage all members of UMD’s research community to focus on and reinforce attention to biosafety and biosecurity standards. We hope to promote and increase awareness of the daily, yet important tasks that create standards of excellence in research. Additionally, we hope to demonstrate how a unified commitment of creating and fostering a culture of safety is what makes the UMD research community a continuing success. ABSA International is encouraging researchers to capture biosafety in action! If you would like to highlight a particular activity that demonstrates you or your lab’s commitment to promoting a culture of biosafety and responsibility, include the hashtag #biosafety_biosecuritymonth on your social media platform of choice (LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/etc.).
National Focus on Academic Safety Culture
Serious incidents in university research labs have driven efforts to examine safety culture in academic research. A positive safety culture is one in which safety is prioritized and valued by faculty, students, and staff across all levels of the University system. Accidents are seen as opportunities to learn and improve, rather than to blame.
In 2015, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) formed a Task Force on Laboratory Safety to synthesize recommendations from previous academic research safety reports and establish a roadmap for universities to implement the recommendations. In April, 2016, the APLU sent a letter to all Presidents and Vice Presidents for Research calling on them to renew their commitment to a strong culture of safety and to convene campus leadership teams to develop a campus-wide safety agenda. The Task Force’s A Guide to Implementing a Safety Culture in Our Universities outlines 20 recommendations and provides tools and strategies to help universities implement the recommendations.
Previously published academic research safety reports:
- Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research, National Research Council, National Academies of Science (2014)
- Creating Safety Cultures in Academic Institutions, American Chemical Society (2012)
- Advancing Safety Culture in the University Laboratory, Stanford University (2014)
- Final Report: Texas Tech University Chemistry Lab Explosion Chemical Safety Board (2011)
University of Maryland Safety Culture Survey
In 2014, the Office of Research Safety administered an IRB approved Research Safety Survey aimed at better understanding current safety practices, perceptions, and attitudes within our research community, with a goal of identifying resources needed to support a positive culture of safety. The survey results were evaluated against the Expectations for Conducting Safe Research to identify both areas of strength and areas for improvement which are discussed in the Research Safety Survey Results report. The Research Safety Results by Expectations chart provides a one-page summary of responses to individual survey questions.
Please contact Lab Safety at email@example.com for more information about the survey.
- CDC Lab Training free online lab safety training modules