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Responsibilities

Implementation of the Research Safety Program at the University is a shared responsibility. Employees, supervisors, Research Safety Officers, department heads, deans, central administration, and DEHS staff all have roles to play. These roles are outlined below.

President, Vice Presidents, Provosts, Chancellors and Vice Chancellors

Upper-level administrators are responsible for:

  • promoting the importance of safety in all activities;
  • promoting the same attitude among all levels of employment at the University;
  • supporting a broad-based research safety program that will protect U of MN laboratory and field employees from health effects and injuries associated with hazardous chemical, physical or biological agents;
  • ensuring that deans, directors and department heads provide adequate time and recognition for employees who are given research safety responsibilities;

Performance will be measured by:

  • DEHS's documentation and annual reporting of the level of compliance within each of the reporting units.

Deans, Directors and Department Heads (DDDs)s

DDDs are responsible for:

  • identifying at least one technically qualified research safety officer for the unit and providing adequate time to carry out the assigned responsibilities. (Colleges or institutes that are made up of a number of large laboratory-based departments are urged to assign research safety officers within each department. Large departments may assign one research safety officer for each division);
  • transmitting the name of the designated research safety officer to the Chemical Hygiene Officer in DEHS;
  • ensuring that the designated research safety officer is adequately trained regarding the roles and responsibilities of the position;
  • ensuring that the designated research safety officer carries out his/her assigned responsibilities;
  • evaluating performance of research safety officer(s) as part of overall job performance;
  • taking appropriate measures to assure that college/department/division activities comply with all relevant research safety policies.

Performance will be measured by:

  • DEHS's record of a trained research safety officer for the unit;
  • DEHS's record of a current, tailored Research Safety Plan for the unit.

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Department of Environmental Health and Safety (DEHS)

The University's Biosafety Officer, Chemical Hygiene Officer and Radiation Protection Officer are all members of the DEHS staff, and the entire staff will participate in providing resources for departments in the development of their individual health and safety programs. The Department of Environmental Health and Safety is responsible for:

  • training designated departmental research safety officers regarding compliance with all research safety regulations and University standards;
  • monitoring the progress of departments toward achieving compliance;
  • reporting annually to deans and central administration on research safety compliance;
  • preparing and updating the University's generic Chemical Hygiene Plan;
  • distributing the CHP to departments or other units who will tailor and implement the plan.

Performance will be measured by:

  • annual feedback to DDDs regarding DEHS's records of research safety officer training and current CHPs within the units;
  • annual feedback from research safety officers;
  • DEHS's documentation that review and evaluation of the generic CHP occurs at least annually, updates as necessary.

Research Safety Officers

The Research Safety Officer will:

  • serve as liaison between employing department and the Department of Environmental Health and Safety;
  • consult with laboratory and field personnel regarding safety protocols for specific procedures;
  • assist in assessing new safety and health hazards in consultation with the Department of Environmental Health and Safety;
  • arrange general departmental training sessions for laboratory and field employees and assure that training records are being kept;
  • carry out routine inspections of laboratories and report results to laboratory supervisors;
  • receive reports of malfunctioning equipment, and facilitate laboratory and field maintenance and repair activities;
  • assure that safety equipment is in place and is operative;
  • shut down imminent hazard situations within the department, in consultation with DEHS and the department head;
  • know the current legal requirements regarding regulated substances;
  • modify U of MN's generic Chemical Hygiene Plan to fit department. Perform annual evaluation and review of tailored CHP. Revise as necessary. Submit initial and subsequent modifications for approval;
  • work with department administrators, faculty and staff to implement the tailored Chemical Hygiene Plan;
  • maintain a working knowledge of U of MN safety and health policies;
  • review accident investigation reports written by supervisors.

Performance will be measured by DEHS's documentation that:

  • review and evaluation of the tailored CHP occurs at least annually;
  • the research safety officer's personal training is current.

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Supervisors, Principal Investigators

The immediate supervisor of a laboratory or field employee is responsible for:

  • determining specific training requirements for each employee;
  • assuring that hazards of specific projects have been identified and addressed before work is started;
  • ensuring there are written, laboratory/field-specific standard operating procedures for the protocols to be carried out, which incorporate directions about how to mitigate the hazards of the procedures.
  • informing and training employees regarding the specific hazards in their area and in the work they will be doing;
  • scheduling time for the employee to attend designated training sessions;
  • enforcing U of MN safety policies and safe work practices;
  • conducting periodic audits of the research space under the supervisor's control;
  • reporting hazardous conditions to the college or departmental research safety officer;
  • investigating research-related accidents and sending a written report with recommendations to the research safety officer for review.

Performance will be measured by:

  • home department's documentation of current, pertinent safety training for the supervisor and each employee in the supervisor's group;
  • home department's documentation of regular audits for laboratory space under the control of the supervisor.

Graduate Students, Post Doctoral Reasearchers

Graduate students and post-doctoral researchers who have significant responsibility for directing their own laboratory/field work are responsible for assuring that potential hazards of specific projects have been identified and addressed before work is started. They are also expected to:

  • attend safety training sessions;
  • follow safety guidelines applicable to the procedures being carried out;
  • assure that required safety precautions are in place before work is started;
  • report hazardous conditions as they are discovered

Performance will be measured by:

  • research adviser's assessment of adherence to safe practices. Research advisers are encouraged to include safety issues in routine research progress reviews.

Research Workers

Each research worker is responsible for:

  • attending safety training sessions;
  • following safety guidelines applicable to the procedures being carried out;
  • assuring that required safety precautions are in place before work is started;
  • reporting hazardous conditions as they are discovered.

Performance will be measured by:

  • supervisor's assessment of adherence to topics covered in safety training. Supervisors are encouraged to include safety issues in routine performance reviews.

Departmental Safety Committees

The Safety Committee may:

  • Conduct yearly walk through the labs
  • Be informed of audits conducted by RSO and provide feedback in case of violations
  • Review proposed research projects, written procedures, and assist with risk assessment to ensure that those conducting the risk assessment have sufficient expertise.
  • Review accident reports and makes appropriate recommendations regarding proposed changes in the procedure.

See Safety Committee best practices for further information



 
 
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