Planning Safe Research

Safety is the goal in all University of Michigan (U-M) laboratories and wherever research is performed.  This goal can only be met when you (faculty/lab managers/supervisors) plan for it during the experimental design phase and carry it through to completion of the research; when they take time to:

  • Evaluate and understand the hazards and risks of the operations and equipment involved in the research.
  • Understand the safety requirements associated with activities being performed.
  • Ensure that all aspects of having a safe operation, including appropriate training, personal protective equipment, engineering controls, approvals, and standard operating procedures are in place from the start of the activities.

Environment, Health & Safety

Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) is your partner when planning safe research.   At this web site you will find:

  • Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP).
  • Standard operating procedures (SOPs) for many of the commonly used chemicals and equipment necessary for research.  NOTE: We at EHS understand the nature of research is exploration of new materials and novel methods, and you may need to develop SOPs that are not yet available on the website.  As a partner we would like to expand our SOP library and if you have one that is not on the website, we are happy to post it for others to use.
  • Guidelines for laboratory operations, activities, processes, and equipment used in research.

EHS is always available to consult with and assist you in the process of starting a new laboratory or relocating to a new laboratory space. For more information, contact your EHS representative or call (734) 647-1143.

University of Michigan Policies

The Standard Practice Guide (601.09) states: “It is the University’s policy to defend and indemnify employees who become parties to legal proceedings by virtue of their good faith efforts to perform their responsibilities of employment.”  As a lab director, actions and activities occurring in space under your control are your responsibility, and as such maintaining a safe operation is important to make sure everyone that comes to work for you is able to go home at the end of the day as healthy as when they arrived.

The following U-M policies relate to laboratory safety:

Standard Operating Procedures, Guidelines, and Manuals

The following documents may be required for your research operation, depending on what type of research you are performing, the potential hazards you and your staff will be exposed to, and the engineering controls you are implementing.  Some of these documents are in a downloadable “Word” format so that you can print them for your operation as is, or download and modify them to meet your unique needs.  When you click the link it will automatically go to the download file.

Training and Education

Some areas of research require your staff to attend EHS training prior to working in the lab, with hazardous materials and substances, and with equipment.  These training course ensures that the U-M and your lab is in compliance with government rules and regulations.

EHS also has additional educational materials to supplement the required training your staff receives and to serve as reminders of safe lab and research practices.

To determine which, if any, required training your staff must take visit our Education, What Training Do I Need page.  While you are there also browse the page to learn what other information is available to you and your staff.