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Expectations for Conducting Safe Research
Strive for Continuous Improvement
Research is not a static endeavor. Managing safety in a research laboratory requires ongoing reassessment, feedback and reinforcement.
Report Safety Concerns, Near Misses and Incidents to your Supervisor
Researchers are expected to report any safety concerns, near misses and incidents to their supervisor. Reporting safety concerns and near misses is important to help identify and correct problems before an incident occurs.
Discuss Lessons Learned from Incidents and Near Misses at Lab Meetings
Researchers are expected to discuss near misses and incidents and the lessons learned at lab meetings. The purpose of discussing this at lab meetings is not to assign blame, but to learn from mistakes and minimize the chance of reoccurrence. Lessons can also be learned from incidents that have occurred at other institutions:
- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Lessons Learned Searchable Database
- AIHA Laboratory Health and Safety Committee Lessons Learned Database
- Chemical Safety Board Report on Texas Tech Laboratory Explosion
- FBI Chemical Indicators: Laboratory Security Awareness Video
Complete the UMD Incident Reporting Form for All Incidents
Researchers are expected to report all incidents to the Department of Environmental Safety, Sustainability and Risk using the University of Maryland Incident Reporting Form. This form can also be used to report unsafe conditions or near misses. The goal of reporting incidents is not to assign blame, but to understand the factors that caused the incident or unsafe condition and remedy the problem to prevent other incidents in the future.
Establish a Mechanism for Lab Members to Report Safety Concerns, Near Misses and Incidents
Principal investigators are expected to establish a mechanism for their lab members to report safety concerns, near misses and incidents. Principal investigators are expected to act on safety concerns and investigate incidents and near misses and identify corrective actions to prevent reoccurrence. Principal investigators should involve all lab members when investigating incidents and near misses and reviewing the lessons learned.
Incorporate Laboratory Self-Inspections
Principal investigators are expected to incorporate laboratory safety self-inspections. A self-inspection is a walk-through of your laboratory areas by you or a designated experienced lab member with the objective of identifying any unsafe conditions. The principal investigator is expected to ensure that all unsafe conditions identified during the self-inspection are corrected in a timely manner.