Laboratory Safety

Laboratory research may involve a number of hazards which can be broadly categorized as chemical, biological, radiological, and physical or environmental dangers. DRI provides information and guidelines to lab workers to reduce the liklihood of accidents or injuries.

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Lab Safety Information - Chemicals

Working with chemicals safely, whether the work is done in the lab, on a field site, or during maintenance, custodial or other tasks that utilize hazardous materials, is the goal of the DRI chemical safety programs.  The OSHA regulations include a multitude of sections that relate to the occupational use of chemicals. 

The primary chemical safety regulation that applies to laboratory use is the Lab Standard, which requires a written Chemical Hygiene Plan. DRI EH&S has created additional chemical guidelines and procedures to help you conduct your work safely.

If you use chemicals, but do not work in a lab, your work will fall under the DRI Hazard Communication Plan.

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Biological Safety

The goal and purpose of the DRI Biosafety Program is to protect all employees, the public, and the environment from contamination with, or exposure to, hazardous biological agents or materials being used at DRI.  Because our current use of biological materials is small and mainly involves biosafety level one work, we rely on the University of Nevada Reno’s Biosafety Manual  as our guiding biosafety document.  This manual provides a practical overview of proper work practices and the requirements for regulatory compliance with laws and guidelines governing proper use, containment and disposal of biological hazards.

DRI requires an approved Memorandum of Understanding and Agreement (MOUA) for all research involving the use of biological agents.  Other aspects of the DRI biosafety program include the DRI Exposure Control Plan for those working with or potentially exposed to human blood and body fluids and supplemental guidelines and procedures such as the DRI Policy on the Use of Human and Primate Cell LinesMore...

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Radiation Safety

Laboratory researchers at DRI may periodically work with both ionizing and non-ionizing radiation.  DRI's Radiation Safety program related to ionizing radiation (including the use of radioactive materials and sources and radiation producing equipment) is currently managed by the UNR Radiation and Laser Safety Officer (RLSO).  The UNR Radiation and Laser Safety Office also manages DRI’s use of lasers and assists when requested with other non-ionizing radiation projects.  More...

Some DRI projects involve field work at the NNSS.  Radiological Safety at the NNSS falls under the oversight of the Radiological Safety Prime Contractor for the site and follows the requirements of the NNSS Radiological Control (RadCon) Manual and Radiological Protection Program.  For those projects, the DRI EH&S Director serves as the DRI RadCon Manager.  Safety documentation related to NNSS activities is located on DRI's DOE Programs page.

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Physical and Environmental Hazards

In addition to chemical, biological and radiological hazards that may be present in a lab, there may be numerous hazards related to the kinds of equipment used, as well as in the laboratory environment itself.  Appendix F of the DRI Chemical Hygiene Plan outlines the most common physical and environmental hazards present in the laboratory setting.  More...

While the information and recommendations contained on the DRI EH&S web site have been compiled from sources believed to be reliable and is accurate to the best of our knowledge, the EH&S Department and the Desert Research Institute makes no guarantee as to, and assumes no responsibility for the correctness, sufficiency, or completeness of such information or recommendations. Other or additional safety measures may be required depending on the situation/circumstances. For specific information regarding government regulations, please contact the official regulatory agency.

In addition, our pages contain links to many outside web pages. DRI EH&S is not responsible for the content of those sites. Links do not indicate endorsement, sponsorship, recommendation, or approval by DRI EH&S.

Our EH&S programs, policies and procedures are our own and they may or may not meet the approval of other authorities and regulatory agencies. While we make them freely available to the public by posting them, our material may not be used for the purpose of resale or profit. If you want to use our information verbatim, please send us an email telling how you will be using our materials and provide credit to DRI EH&S.

We also request that if you find broken links or any information posted on the DRI EH&S web pages you believe to be in error, that you let us know at EHS@DRI.EDU, so we can make the appropriate changes. 

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