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Safety Information

Research Safety Policy

Rensselaer considers the environment and personnel health and safety to be a priority and is committed to providing a safe and healthy work and study environment for the entire University community including its research environments. The research Principal Investigator has the primary responsibility for the safety of the personnel working in the PI’s laboratory or work space.

Research Safety Programs

All research, regardless of location, will pose some hazards to the personnel involved. Most of the Research Safety information on these pages is focused on wet laboratory research but other safety aspects that may need to be considered in research environments include:

  • Ergonomics
  • Energized Sources
  • Driver Safety
  • Working at Heights
  • Heat and Cold Stress
  • Exposure to Animals, Biting/Stinging Insects, and Poisonous Snakes and Plants
  • Portable Tools and Shop Machinery

For researchers performing laboratory research, specific programs have been developed to guide the safety aspects of that research. They include Laboratory Chemical Hygiene, Radiation Safety, Laser Safety and Biological Safety.


All laboratory workers, including faculty, staff and students, are required to attend the training provided by Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) staff. The training is designed to supplement lab specific instructions and training provided by the Principal Investigators regarding safe work practices for specific chemicals and equipment. Specialized training for specific research situations can be developed and provided by EH&S.

Other Research Considerations

Seeking a Grant - you may need EH&S to complete an environmental impact statement – check your grant proposal instructions and seek EH&S assistance early in the process

Working with Biological Agents or DNA – submittal and approval from the Institutional BioSafety Committee (IBC) is needed prior to start of this type of research

Working with Animals - submittal and approval from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is needed prior to start of this research of this type

Laboratory Commissioning or Decommissioning - ensure your work space is suitable for the type of research before occupying. When discontinuing use of a work space the researcher is expected to return the work space to the University with no residual hazards

Shipping Hazardous Materials – the Department of Transportation (DOT) has stringent rules for shipping hazardous materials, including the use of dry ice, biological specimens as well as chemicals. Consult with EH&S to ensure the paperwork and packaging is appropriate for the shipment

Last modified: May 28, 2009
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