Laboratory Safety

Course Titles and Descriptions

Biosafety in the Laboratory

No one wants to bring a disease home with them from work, but that risk exists for laboratory employees working with biological hazards such as viruses, bacteria, or select agents or toxins, as well blood, bodily fluids, and human tissues. Working with lab animals may also pose the threat of contamination. However, with the proper training and precautions, a lab employee’s safety and that of everyone else the employee comes in contact with can be protected. This training session focuses on biosafety, including the prevention of infections from bloodborne pathogens for laboratory workers.

Chemical Hygiene Plan

Working with or around chemicals in a laboratory setting may present serious hazards to employee physical safety and health. However, these hazards can be reduced and controlled by following a few simple steps. Safety procedures for lab work are documented in a Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) required by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) (29 CFR 1910.1450). A Chemical Hygiene Plan is a written document stating the policies, procedures, and responsibilities that protect employees from the health hazards associated with hazardous chemicals in the workplace. This training session addresses the provisions of this plan, including the information and procedures that will protect employees while working in the laboratory.

Compressed Gas Cylinders in the Laboratory

Compressed gases are commonly used in laboratory operations. Yet, these gases present real hazards. They can lead to fires and explosions, toxic contaminations that adversely affect the health of workers, and even widespread public health emergencies that may lead to an evacuation. Laboratory employees are responsible for using these gases safely. This means not only understanding the qualities and hazards of the gases themselves but also learning the proper procedures for handling, using, and storing the cylinders containing these gases. This online course enables trainees to recognize the hazards, access information about specific gases, use compressed gases safely, and safely transport, handle, and store cylinders.

Ergonomics for the Laboratory

Have you ever come home from work with a sore back, stiff neck, pain in your shoulders, pain or stiffness in your wrist or hands, or aching feet from standing for long periods? Most of us have experienced these aches and pains and may think little of them. However, if allowed to continue, these minor conditions can become severe, leading to chronic pain, lost work time, and even debilitation. We need to take the aches and pains that occur at work seriously and start doing all we can to prevent them. The main purpose of this session is to help trainees prevent injuries by practicing sound ergonomics in the workplace. By the end of the course, trainees will be able to:

  • Identify the risk factors that may lead to musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace.
  • Understand the basic principles of safer work through sound ergonomics.
  • Apply ergonomic principles in laboratory operations and all aspects of your work.

Hazardous Waste Safety in the Laboratory

Hazardous waste safety—what you need to know to make sure that safety is not compromised in any operations involving these materials in the laboratory

Introduction to Industrial Hygiene

The main objective of this session is to introduce you to industrial hygiene and explain its importance to your safety and health. By the time the session is over, you will be able to understand what industrial hygiene is; recognize its importance in the workplace; identify ways industrial hygiene helps protect you; and help promote industrial hygiene on the job.

Laboratory Hazard Identification

When working in a laboratory, safety is always the prime concern. An essential initial step when performing any laboratory operation is identifying the hazards that employees may face. This requires knowing the job well enough to break it into components and accessing all the information and knowledge available to recognize the hazards that may be encountered for each step of any process. This training session addresses hazard identification. Hazard identification skills enable trainees to protect themselves AND also create a safer workplace for everyone at the laboratory. By the time the session is over, trainees should be able to:

  • Recognize the importance of hazard identification and its function in the risk assessment process;
  • Identify the myriad sources of information about hazards in the laboratory; and
  • Identify the hazards involved in laboratory operations.

Laboratory PPE

Personal protective equipment (PPE) provides a barrier between the human body and the hazards of working in a laboratory. The right PPE, properly used and maintained, can protect laboratory workers from the hazards involved in any task they perform. However, it is up to lab workers to take PPE requirements seriously and do all they can to protect themselves and work safely. The main purpose of this course is to familiarize laboratory personnel with the basics of PPE use in laboratory work. By the time the session is over, trainees should be able to:

  • Recognize the benefits of PPE in the laboratory;
  • Identify the items of PPE used in laboratory work;
  • Recognize the importance of using PPE correctly;
  • Learn how to properly care for and maintain your PPE; and
  • Consistently use PPE to protect yourself from hazards.

Laboratory Recordkeeping for Supervisors

This training course on laboratory recordkeeping for supervisors covers all the basic laboratory safety records that must be maintained concerning the use of hazardous chemicals in the lab. The course addresses how to comply with federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules for recording workplace injuries and illnesses; maintaining safety data sheets (SDSs) and chemical inventories; maintaining employee exposure and monitoring records related to occupational chemical exposures; and certifying that you have provided personal protective equipment (PPE) training, to employees who use PPE. These records must be on hand if an OSHA inspector visits your facility.The course also covers some laboratory recordkeeping guidelines that, though not required by law, will help trainees document compliance with other OSHA rules related to laboratory safety. The main objective of this session is to ensure that trainees ensure their workplace is in compliance with federal recordkeeping rules for laboratories where hazardous chemicals are used. By the time the session is over, trainees will be able to:

  • Properly document your Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP);
  • Properly record work-related injuries and illnesses;
  • Maintain SDSs and chemical inventories, and ensure employee access to them when needed;
  • Maintain employee exposure and monitoring records related to chemical exposures;
  • Maintain written certification that employees have been trained to use PPE; and
  • Keep good compliance-oriented records of laboratory inspections, employee and supervisor training, safe work practices and procedures, and other inventories such as an inventory of usage for high-risk hazardous chemicals.

Laboratory Security

Laboratory security is an especially important issue for laboratories, since labs often have hazardous materials that could be appropriated and misused by people with violent intentions, such as terrorists. No matter how secure the laboratory areas are, employees must be trained to ensure that unauthorized individuals do not gain access to our facility and that hazardous materials are not released, endangering employees and the public. In this training course, trainees learn all the ways to help keep a laboratory secure to protect themselves, their coworkers, and the public from harm. The main objective of this session is to provide trainees with an overview of laboratory security so that they can help maintain security in the facility and protect themselves from security risks. By the time the session is over, trainees should be able to:

  • Identify security risks;
  • Understand the facility’s security plan;
  • Take proper precautions to prevent security breaches;
  • Deal effectively with threats of violence and violent incidents; and
  • Report security problems and incidents promptly.

Laser Safety in the Laboratory

This course on laser safety in the lab explains the hazards and protective measures associated with the operation of lasers. The main objective of this session is to protect lab workers from being exposed to laser hazards. By the time the session is over, trainees will be able to:

  • Identify the primary hazard classes of lasers;
  • Identify hazards of operating lasers;
  • Work with engineering controls that prevent exposure;
  • Implement safe operating procedures;
  • Select and wear appropriate personal protective equipment; and
  • Report accidents and near misses.

Radiation Safety in the Laboratory

This online lab safety training course addresses the general hazards of ionizing radiation and ways to protect laboratory workers from exposure. By the time this session is over, trainees will be able to:

  • Identify the sources of ionizing radiation, such as radioactive materials and equipment.
  • Identify the hazards and risks of exposure to radiation and radioactive materials and recognize the symptoms of exposure.
  • Follow administrative controls, warnings, and other measures to manage and maintain radiation doses “as low as reasonably achievable” (ALARA).
  • Use radiation monitoring and survey devices.
  • Select and use personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Respond to emergencies and properly report radiation accidents or exposures.

Respiratory Protection (Spanish)

Millions of workers wear respirators in workplaces across a wide variety of industries to protect against airborne contaminants and poor oxygen environments. But just wearing a respirator is not enough. Respirator users must know how to properly fit, use, inspect, and maintain their respirators to fully protect against respiratory hazards. This course will help you recognize respiratory hazards in your workplace and show you how to use and maintain respirators to keep yourself safe. By the end of the training, you will be able to identify common respiratory hazards and explain why respirators are necessary to protect against these hazards; describe how a respirator operates and recognize the capabilities and limitations of each type of respirator; safely wear and use your respirator; properly inspect, maintain, and store your respirator; recognize emergency situations and medical symptoms that limit the effective use of respirators; and summarize your employer’s obligations under the Respiratory Protection Standard. This course does not address the requirements for employees who voluntarily use respirators or for interior structural firefighters.

Respiratory Protection in the Laboratory

From harmful dusts to fumes, vapors, and toxic gases, respiratory hazards in the laboratory are real and can be serious. Laboratories that use, handle, or produce materials that may present respiratory hazards are required to comply with the Occpational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134). This standard is designed to protect employees from all the respiratory hazards you may face. In this training course, we will discuss this standard and what it means for people who work in laboratories. The main purpose of this session is to help trainees work safely when they face potential respiratory hazards. By the end of the session, lab employees will be able to:

  • Identify and understand the respiratory hazards you may face;
  • Know how to find information about these hazards;
  • Identify the control measures used at your facility to protect against respiratory hazards; and
  • Know how to protect yourself by using respiratory personal protective equipment (PPE).

Working Safely with Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a toxic chemical compound that is commonly used in laboratory operations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has adopted a Formaldehyde Standard to protect workers from contamination or hazardous exposure. This training session addresses this Standard and how lab workers can protect themselves on the job. The provision of the OSHA 1910.1048 Formaldehyde Standard that applies to laboratories covered under the OSHA Laboratory Standard (1910.1450) is the provision to limit employee exposure to the listed exposure limits. If employee exposure is above the action level, permissible exposure limit (PEL), or short-term exposure limit (STEL), periodic monitoring and medical surveillance may be required. The main purpose of this session is to help trainees work safely with or around formaldehyde. By the end of the session, trainees will be able to:

  • Identify the hazards posed by formaldehyde;
  • Know how to access information about the hazards posed by formaldehyde and how to control them;
  • Understand the toxicological effects of formaldehyde exposure;
  • Identify engineering control measures used at the facility to protect workers from the hazards posed by formaldehyde; and
  • Know how to protect yourself through means that include the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and compliance with safety procedures.

Working with Flammables and Reactives in the Laboratory

This course covers lab safety as it relates to the safe handling of flammables and reactives in the lab. Workplace fires and explosions are not only common—but also deadly. By virtue of the type of work conducted in laboratories—including working with hazardous chemicals, mixing chemicals, high heat, and intense pressure—the risk of fire or explosion can be high. It is essential that lab workers know how to identify these hazards; how to properly handle flammable, reactive, and combustible materials to avoid fire and explosions; and how to respond should one occur.
By the end of this session, trainees will be able to:

  • Identify flammable and reactive hazards in the laboratory;
  • Define flammables, reactives, and combustibles;
  • Outline safe handling and storage for these materials;
  • Discuss methods of prevention; and
  • Discuss emergency response measures, safety equipment, and evacuation procedures.