Planning Safe Research

Planning Safe Research

A strong safety culture is a goal wherever University of Texas at Austin research is performed.  This goal can only be met when you (faculty/lab managers/lab safety contacts) plan for it during the experimental design phase and carry it through to completion of the research; taking the 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.

EHS is your partner in this endeavor. We are always available to consult with and assist you in the process of starting a new laboratory or relocating to a new laboratory space.

Understanding Your Lab Management Role in Safety

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.

“Anyone in a management or supervisory role:

  • Assume responsibility for the safety of those under their supervision or oversight.
  • Take all appropriate steps to make all within their area aware of potential hazards and proper management of the risks, including training and proper equipment to carry out activities safely and meet environmental compliance.
  • Encourage anyone within their area to report problems, issues, or improvements without fear of reprisal.
  • Investigate and address reported issues in a timely manner.
  • Serve as a role model and set a positive example for safety by following established safe work practices and implementing corrective actions brought to their attention.
  • Stop an operation under their supervision if it poses an imminent threat to people, the environment, or facilities.
  • Report to higher administration levels failures of persons within their area to adhere to safety or regulatory requirements.”

Researcher Responsibilities

“Formal policy guidance for the conduct of research is essential to promote a safe, ethical, and productive research environment. Every Faculty Member, Principal Investigator (PI), Co-PI, Project Director, and Laboratory Supervisor at The University of Texas at Austin is responsible for fostering an environment that enables the highest level of academic inquiry while simultaneously complying with rigorous Federal, State, and University regulations, requirements and policies.”

For more information, refer to Researcher Responsibilities on the Office of the Vice President for Research website.


Review the information to the right of this page for further information to guide you in planning safe research.