Research & Clinical Safety

Safety of themselves as well as those working around them is the responsibility of all University of Michigan faculty, staff, other employees, and students working in laboratories or conducting research, regardless of location. All faculty, staff, other employees and students must:

  • Adhere to the highest standards for the safe operation of facilities and the protection of our environment, our employees, students, and visitors, and the people of the communities in which we work. This includes all department/division/laboratory/school/college (unit) rules and precautions about working alone, lab work environment, time at work, and use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Continuously improve safety practices in light of advances in technology and new understandings in safety, health, and environmental science.
  • Receive and understand safety training appropriate to their level of activity in the laboratory. For anyone working in research this includes the EHS Laboratory Safety Training Course and any additional training programs identified and provided by EHS, UMOR, or Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine (ULAM) specific to actions being performed or materials being handled.
  • Report issues or raise questions to their supervisor, professor, EHS, or the U-M Division of Public Safety & Security (DPSS) so that action can be taken to prevent or correct safety concerns. Anonymous reporting may be made through the University Compliance Hotline at 1-866-990-0111. Local reporting is encouraged so matters can be resolved more quickly.
  • Take responsibility for personal safety as well as the safety of others in the work area. Notify everyone in the immediate vicinity of hazardous situations or operations and follow all alarms, warnings, and direction from emergency management staff.


Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) provides guidance, training, and oversight for the lab directors (faculty/lab managers/supervisors) managing a laboratory and using one or more of the following hazards as part of their research protocol:

  • Hazardous chemical, biological, or radiological substances and materials, or operations
  • Animals
  • Lasers
  • Scientific diving

EHS staff also provide radiation safety services and oversight for UHMS clinicians.

Personal Protection

Personal protection starts with refraining from the follow activities in laboratories, facilities, or cold rooms:

  • Eating and drinking
  • Smoking
  • Storing or preparing food and beverages
  • Applying cosmetics

Personal protection also extends to:

  • Wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when applicable
  • Using restraint devices when necessary
  • Using engineering controls such as local exhaust ventilation systems, biosafety cabinets, etc.
  • Maintaining emergency response equipment such as safety showers and eyewash stations, or spill kits

Personal Protective Equipment

Appropriate PPE will vary depending on the hazard and exposure, but the following equipment may be required:

  • Gloves, lab coats, closed toed shoes
  • Respiratory protection
  • Proper eye protection such as safety glasses, goggles, or faceshields
  • Hearing protection

Lab directors (faculty/lab managers/supervisors) are responsible for training their staff and students about the use of personal protection equipment and actions.  EHS representatives can help you select the proper PPE.  For assistance, call (734) 647-1142.