A. Duties of Principal Investigator/Laboratory Supervisor

The Principal Investigator (PI) /Laboratory Supervisor has responsibility for the health and safety of laboratory personnel doing work in his/her laboratory. The PI/Laboratory Supervisor may delegate the safety duties for which he/she is responsible, but must make sure that any delegated safety duties are carried out. The PI/Laboratory Supervisor’s responsibilities include:

  1. Identifying hazardous conditions or operations in the lab, determining safe procedures and controls, and implementing and enforcing standard safety procedures.
  2. Establishing standard safety operating procedures (general and protocol-specific) and performing literature searches relevant to safety and health that is appropriate for the work.
  3. Providing prior-approval for the use of Restricted Chemicals in the PI/Laboratory Supervisor’s laboratory.
  4. Consulting with laboratory personnel on their use of higher-risk chemicals, such as Particularly Hazardous Substances or highly reactive chemicals, or conducting higher-risk experimental procedures, so that special safety precautions may be taken.
  5. Maintaining the on-line laboratory chemical inventory for the laboratory.
  6. Providing laboratory personnel under his/her supervision with access to the CHP and any individual Laboratory Safety Plan.
  7. Training laboratory personnel he/she supervises to work safely with hazardous chemicals and operations, and maintain records of training provided locally. This includes informing laboratory personnel of the location and availability of Hazard Information described in Section 10.1.
  8. Maintaining in functional working order appropriate work place engineering controls (e.g., fume hoods) and safety equipment (e.g., emergency showers/eyewashes, fire extinguishers), with emphasis on controls for Particularly Hazardous Substances.
  9. Complying with the requirements of Stanford University’s Personal Protective Equipment Program.
  10. Conducting periodic laboratory inspections and maintaining records of inspections.
  11. Prompt reporting of laboratory accidents and injuries to Risk Management and Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S).
  12. Making available required medical surveillance or medical consultation/ examination for laboratory personnel.
  13. Informing facilities personnel, other non-laboratory and any outside contractors of potential lab-related hazards when they are required to work in the laboratory environment. Identified potential hazards should be minimized to provide a safe environment for repairs and renovations.
  14. If minors in the laboratory are participating in the University-sponsored function of laboratory research, complying with the requirements set forth in the Health & Safety Requirements for Minors in Laboratories at Stanford University.


Stanford University’s Laboratory Chemical Safety Toolkit has been developed to aid the PI/Laboratory Supervisors and laboratory personnel in fulfilling their responsibilities and promote a safe and regulatory compliant laboratory environment. Links to relevant sections of the Toolkit are provided within the CHP to provide additional detailed information on a related topic.

Option of Laboratory-Specific Safety Plan

In order to help fulfill these responsibilities, PI/Laboratory Supervisors have the option of creating a specific safety plan that is tailored to the operations conducted in their laboratory (individual Laboratory Safety Plan). EH&S is available for consultation on the development of individual Laboratory Safety Plans.

B. Duties of All Laboratory Personnel

All laboratory personnel who work with hazardous chemicals in research laboratories are responsible for:

  1. Following the CHP and any individual Laboratory Safety Plan.
  2. Following oral and written laboratory safety rules, regulations, and standard operating procedures required for the tasks assigned.
  3. Keeping the work areas safe and uncluttered.
  4. Reviewing and understanding the hazards of materials and processes in their laboratory research prior to conducting work.
  5. Utilizing appropriate measures to control identified hazards, including consistent and proper use of engineering controls, personal protective equipment, and administrative controls.
  6. Understanding the capabilities and limitations of personal protective equipment issued to them.
  7. Gaining prior approval from the PI/Laboratory Supervisor for the use of Restricted Chemicals.
  8. Consulting with PI/Laboratory Supervisors before using certain higher risk chemicals, such as Particularly Hazardous Substances or highly reactive chemicals, or conducting certain higher risk experimental procedures.
  9. Promptly reporting accidents and unsafe conditions to the PI/Laboratory Supervisor.
  10. Completing all required health, safety and environmental training.
  11. Participating in the medical surveillance program, when required.
  12. Informing the PI/Laboratory Supervisor of any work modifications ordered by a physician as a result of medical surveillance, an occupational injury or exposure.

C. Added Duties of Laboratory Personnel Working Autonomously

In addition to the above responsibilities, laboratory personnel working autonomously or performing independent research are also responsible for:

  1. Providing the PI/Laboratory Supervisor with a written scope of work for their proposed research.
  2. Notifying and consulting with the PI/Laboratory Supervisor, in advance, if they intend to deviate from their written scope or scale of work.
  3. Preparing SOPs and performing literature searches relevant to safety and health that are appropriate for their work.
  4. Providing appropriate oversight, training and safety information to laboratory personnel they supervise or direct.

D. Duties of Environmental Health and Safety and CHO

Stanford’s EH&S Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Program, which includes the University Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO), is responsible for administering and overseeing institutional implementation of this Plan. The OH&S Group provides technical guidance to personnel at all levels of responsibility on matters pertaining to laboratory use of hazardous chemicals. Specifically, the CHO is responsible for:

  1. Assisting PI/Laboratory Supervisors in the selection of appropriate safety control requirements, which include laboratory practices, personal protective equipment, engineering controls, and training.
  2. Performing hazards assessments, upon request.
  3. Maintaining area and personal exposure-monitoring records.
  4. Reviewing and providing advice on Laboratory SOPs, upon request.
  5. Providing technical consultation and investigation, as appropriate, for laboratory accidents and injuries.
  6. Helping to determine medical surveillance requirements for laboratory personnel.
  7. Coordinating with Stanford University’s Occupational Health Center (SUOHC) when laboratory personnel request to review their medical records.
  8. Reviewing plans for installation of engineering controls and new laboratory construction/renovation, as requested.
  9. Reviewing and evaluating the effectiveness of the Chemical Hygiene Plan at least annually and updating it as appropriate.

Other units within EH&S support the CHP by providing management, oversight, or assistance in chemical compliance, hazardous waste management, chemical inventory, and hazardous materials spill/release response.