Environmental Health and Safety

Laboratory and Research Safety

photo of a person working in a lab

COVID-19 Information

The health and safety of our campus community is our top priority. Wright State University continues to monitor the situation and is working closely with the state and local health departments, as well as following the guidance of the CDC. See Wright State coronavirus response website.

COVID-19 has posed exceptional challenges for laboratories. Additional guidance and prevention measures are required. See COVID-19 Laboratory Resources below.

On this page:

Laboratory Safety Requirements

OSHA's Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories standard (29 CFR 1910.1450), referred to as the Laboratory standard, covers laboratories where chemical manipulation generally involves small amounts of a limited variety of chemicals. This standard applies to all hazardous chemicals meeting the definition of “laboratory use” and having the potential for worker exposure.

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Laboratory Safety Manual

The Department of Environmental Health and Safety provides a Laboratory Safety Manual (Chemical Hygiene Plan) consistent with the requirements of OSHA's Laboratory Standard.

Laboratory Safety Manual (PDF)

Refer to the electronic copy to ensure you have the current revision.

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Laboratory Hazard Information

Hazard warning signs and posting are required by regulatory agencies, advise people of the types of hazards that are present. The information is used to post important laboratory information at every main entrance to a laboratory room or complex. The signs are produced by EHS, but it is the responsibility of laboratory personnel to provide information to keep the sign current. 

Laboratory Emergency Information Form is used to detail each lab's important contact and hazard information. Please submit the completed form to https://wright.edu/ehs-service.

Laboratory Hazards

  • Chemical hazards
  • Biological hazards, including work with small animals
  • Physical hazards, including radiation, electrical, ergonomic, noise
  • Compressed gases
  • Cryogens and dry ice
  • Latex Allergies

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Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) offers occupational and environmental training to Wright State University employees and students. 

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Animal Use Safety

Enrollment in the Animal Contact Medical Surveillance Program is mandatory for all personnel who have contact with animals. This program is used to identify and enroll animal users in preventive medicine programs and to provide occupational health information related to the use and care of animals at Wright State University.

Additional Information

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Biological Safety

The Biological Safety Program provides services related to the use of biological agents. Biological agents include bacteria, viruses, fungi, other microorganisms and their associated toxins. They may adversely affect human health in a variety of ways, ranging from relatively mild, allergic reactions to serious medical conditions, even death.

Types of regulated biological agents include

  • human, animal, and plant pathogens;
  • human blood and blood components;
  • recombinant/synthetic nucleic acids;
  • cell and tissue cultures; and
  • biological toxins.

Program services include

  • oversight of the receipt, possession, use, and transfer of biological materials;
  • select agent registration;
  • oversight of the University’s Bloodborne Pathogens Program;
  • safe laboratory practices;
  • Laboratory Biological Safety Level (BSL) assignment;
  • safety training;
  • waste disposal;
  • surveillance and certification of biological safety cabinets; and
  • review of recombinant/synthetic nucleic acids applications

Biosafety Manual

Additional Resources

Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

The Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) is responsible for monitoring and ensuring the compliance of Wright State University laboratories with the NIH Guidelines.  

The purpose of the NIH guidelines is to specify appropriate risk-based safety practices and containment measures are employed for:

  • recombinant nucleic acid molecules,
  • synthetic nucleic acid molecules, including those that are chemically or otherwise modified but can base pair with naturally occurring nucleic acid molecules, and
  • cells, organisms, and viruses containing such molecules.

The IBC provides oversight of these recombinant/synthetic nucleic acid molecule research projects, including reviewing and approving of all research projects involving recombinant/synthetic nucleic acid molecules.  

The Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for full compliance with the NIH Guidelines in the conduct of recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecule research. The NIH Office of Biotechnology Activities (OBA) provides a brochure for PIs to review. The information should be posted in the laboratory.  

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Chemical Safety

An ideal laboratory safety culture ensures that anyone who enters a laboratory, from inexperienced students to senior investigators, understands that they are entering an environment that requires special precautions. They are aware of the hazards posed by the materials they and others in the lab are working with, and they are prepared to take immediate and appropriate measures to protect themselves and their co-workers, especially in the case of unexpected events. At a minimum laboratory safety includes:

  • awareness of the physical and chemical properties and health hazards of laboratory reagents and equipment being used, gained by conducting hazard analysis,
  • availability and use of proper apparatus and infrastructure needed to carry out the procedure safely,
  • knowledge of and ability to execute any additional special practices necessary to reduce risks, use of proper personal protective equipment,
  • access to a well-organized workspace that facilitates unrestricted movement about the laboratory and appropriate segregation of materials and processes, and
  • familiarity with emergency procedures, including the use of safety showers, fire extinguishers, and eye stations.

A strong positive safety culture encourages all laboratory workers to place the highest priority on these practices. It is not enough to provide safe equipment, systems, and procedures if the culture of the organization does not encourage and support working safely.

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

Chemwatch is Wright State University's chemical inventory and Safety Data Sheet program. Laboratories are required to maintain accurate and up-to-date inventories of all hazardous materials and must have a Safety Data Sheet readily available. 

Chemical Fume Hoods and Local Exhaust Ventilation

For general information on chemical fume hoods see the Wright State Laboratory Safety Manual -- Fume Hood Inspection and Operating Instructions.

Hood Airflow Performance Checks

Environmental Health and Safety will verify airflow performance of all campus fume hoods in each building. EHS will recheck airflow performance after Facilities Operations and Maintenance Personnel have completed work requests.

Mechanical Malfunction or Repair Requests

Contact Public Safety Service Center (937-775-4444) to report issues, problems, or repair requests related to mechanical aspects of the hood, such as alarms, monitors/controllers, or when the hood appears to not be operating correctly. After Facilities Operations completes the work request, the hood airflow is verified by EHS.

Department of Homeland Security's Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) 

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Chemical Facility anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Final Rule, published November 20, 2007, imposes comprehensive federal security regulations for high-risk chemical facilities. A risk-based approach is used to screen and to secure chemical facilities as determined by the DHS that "present high levels of security risk."  In order to make that determination, CFATS requires facilities in possession at or above the listed Screening Threshold Quantity (STQ) of DHS defined Chemicals of Interest (COI) to complete the Chemical Security Assessment Tool (CSAT) Top-Screen.  

Chemical of Interest (COI)—Appendix A

DHS uses Appendix A as part of the CFATS process to identify, assess, and secure high-risk facilities.  Colleges and universities are among the many types of facilities that possess COI for legitimate uses, and DHS may determine some to be high-risk facilities subject to CFATS.

Over 300 COI that DHS believes may pose significant risks to human life or health if misused by terrorists are listed in Appendix A . The COI are organized by security and vulnerability issues by the following potential uses by a terrorist:

  • steal, divert, or otherwise acquired to use as a weapon at another time and place (Theft/Diversion COI); or
  • sabotage or contaminate to explode or release in transit (Sabotage COI); or
  • release as an explosive or to form a flammable or toxic cloud (Release COI).

Many of these chemicals have the potential to be deliberately diverted, released, or otherwise misused by terrorists.

Chemical Inventory Management

Inventory management is an essential component to comply with the DHS CFATS regulation.  According to CFATS, any facility possessing COI has 60 days to report when the amount of any COI meets or exceeds the Screening Threshold Quantity (STQ).

  • Laboratories must update inventories every 60 days to ensure regulatory compliance.
  • Laboratories must inform EHS when purchasing any COI.

EHS runs a report on all chemical inventories every 60 days to monitor levels of COIs. These updates assist us in preventing any COI that is close to the STQ from exceeding it or enables us to report to DHS within the 60-day limit any COI that is over the STQ.

Compliance is mandatory.  Violation of a compliance order issued by DHS may result in additional orders assessing civil penalties of $25,000 per day per violation and/or requiring the facility to cease operations.


Lab Safety Labels

Labels play an important role to ensure a safe environment. Labels identify the hazard and qualities of the contents in the container.

Labels are used to identify a substance and it is often the initial source of information, presented in a written or graphic form. It is attached or on the outside face of a container.

Environmental Health and Safety has the following free labels available for chemicals commonly found in laboratories. Download by clicking on the link.

Common laboratory chemicals

Let us know if you need a label for your application.

Transport, Transfers, and Movement of Hazardous Materials

Moving chemicals within a building or between adjacent buildings

Spills and chemical exposure can occur if chemicals are moved from one area to another.


  1. Do not work alone. Never transport hazardous materials by yourself.
  2. Moving hours:  Package and move Hazardous Chemicals only during normal business hours (Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4 p.m.) so support staff will be available to help if there is a spill or accident.
  3. Never move open containers of hazardous materials in elevators. Stairs should only be used if an elevator is not available and only for small containers that can be easily carried by hand.
  4. Complete Lab Safety Training.
  5. Moving quantities larger than 4L is discouraged. 
  6. Keep chemicals in their original packing when transporting, if possible.


  1. Know the hazards of the material and know how to handle a spill of the material.
  2. Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Minimum PPE includes ANSI-approved safety glasses, lab coat or other appropriate lab attire, and closed-toe shoes.
  3. Containers of hazardous materials or chemicals must be labeled and protected from breakage.
  4. Hazardous materials must be attended at all times during the transportation process.
  5. All containers must have secure, tight-fitting lids.
  6. Incompatible chemicals should not be packed together.
  7. Use a bottle carrier, cart, or other secondary container when transporting chemicals in breakable containers through hallways or between buildings. Secondary containers must be
    • compatible with the chemical and
    • large enough to hold the entire contents being transferred in the event of breakage.

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Laser Safety

Guidelines and Registration

  • The purpose of the Laser Safety Program is to provide guidance for use of regulated lasers and laser systems. We also provide references for those who wish to learn more about the safe use of lasers. 
  • Laser Registration Form (PDF) must be completed for each laser and laser system.
    All new and existing class 3b and 4 lasers and laser systems must be registered with Environmental Health and Safety. This registration also includes lasers or laser systems that are in storage or are out-of-service. Complete one form for each laser or laser system to be registered and submit to the Laser Safety Officer.

Laser Eye Examination

Medical evaluation (or documentation of refusal) is required for all Class 3b and 4 laser users in the university and is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator. The examination is administered by an optometrist and is scheduled through the Department Of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). An appointment for a laser eye exam can be made by calling EHS at (937) 775-2215.

This evaluation must be completed prior to laser use, and shall be performed following suspected laser injury; periodic examinations are not required.

If you don't wish to have the examination please complete the Statement Declining Pre-Placement Eye Exam Form (PDF) to obtain the waiver form which should be printed out and sent to Environmental Health and Safety at ehs@wright.edu or deliver to our office at 047 Biological Sciences II.

Related Links

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Nanomaterial Safety

Nanotechnology is generally defined as the manipulation of engineered structures, devices, and systems on a near-atomic scale to produce new structures, materials, and devices.

Nanomaterials are defined as those things that have a length scale between 1 and 100 nanometers. At this size, materials begin to exhibit unique properties that affect physical, chemical, and biological behavior. 

Basics of Nanomaterial Safety

  • Follow all posted laboratory requirements regarding required personal protective equipment
  • Obtain training prior to working with nanomaterials and follow instructions
  • Do not eat or drink in the laboratory
  • Follow good housekeeping procedures. 
  • Clean all potentially contaminated working surfaces when visibly contaminated and/or at least once a day.
    • Use wet wiping or a HEPA vacuum on dry materials
  • Wash hands before eating, smoking, or leaving the worksite
  • Keep laboratory doors closed and limit access


NIOSH Publications

General Safe Practices for Working with Engineered Nanomaterials in Research Laboratories

  • This document contains recommendations on engineering controls and safe practices for handling engineered nanomaterials in laboratories and some pilot-scale operations. This guidance was designed to be used in tandem with well-established practices and the laboratory’s chemical hygiene plan.

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Radiation Safety

General Information

Programs and Policies



Radiation Generating Equipment Forms

Radioactive Materials Forms

Additional Forms

Additional Resources

Ohio Department of Health (ODH)

The following Ohio Department of Health Rules apply to Wright State's radiation safety program:

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