In order to provide a basic infrastructure to supervise and maintain safe, compliant, and responsible research, the Research Safety Program outlines the following:
- Administration of Regulatory Compliance
- University's Responsible Parties
- Appointment of Research Safety Officers
- Position of DEHS in University's Community
- Minimum Physical Requirements for Research Environments
The University of Minnesota will maintain compliance with all Federal, state, regional, county and city regulations that affect environment, health and safety in the research effort.
Various University committees play a role in developing the University's health and safety policies and in assuring that external regulations are met. Several of these committees have the authority to prohibit practices that do not comply with regulatory requirements or accepted safety practices.The committees are:
- All University Radiation Protections Advisory Committee (AURPAC)
- Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
- Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)
- Institutional Review Board (IRB): Human Subjects Committee
- Waste Abatement Committee
- Occupational Health and Safety Committee
The Department of Environmental Health and Safety (DEHS) is the liaison between the University community and the regulatory agencies. DEHS is responsible for keeping up to date with changing regulations, and for developing comments on proposed changes that may impact the University's research community.
Research Safety Officers (RSOs) are the liaison between DEHS and their department. Research Safety Officers are to be trained in the main points of all federal, state, regional, county and city regulations that affect environment, health and safety in their department's research effort.
An enforcement model, consistent with the Grants Management Enforcement Model, has been developed and is detailed in the Enforcement section of the Research Safety Program.
The following members of the research community are responsible for research safety at University:
- President, Vice Presidents, Provosts and Chancellors
- Dean, Directors and Department Heads
- Department of Environmental Health and Safety (DEHS)
- Research Safety Officers
- Supervisors/Principal Investigators
- Graduate Student/Post Doctoral Researcher
- Research Worker
Details of each responsible party's duties are listed in the Responsibilities section of the Research Safety Program.
Each appropriate unit (college or department) shall appoint at least one RSO. The RSO is appointed by the unit head and is provided with adequate time to fully carry out the assigned responsibilities. In very large departments, it may be appropriate to have more than one RSO. RSOs should have the technical qualifications to carry out the responsibilities detailed in Responsibilities section of the Research Safety Program. It is essential that the RSO(s) be given the complete support of the unit head.
The RSO will be the primary liaison with DEHS. DEHS will be responsible for annual training for the RSOs.
DEHS provides comprehensive services that protect faculty, staff and students and minimize the impact of their activities on the surrounding environment and community. DEHS reports, through the Assistant Vice President for Health, Safety and Transportation, to the Vice President of University Services.
Minimum physical requirements have been established for laboratories where hazardous materials are used. Spaces that do not meet the minimum requirement are not to be used for research with hazardous materials. Laboratory and field equipment, including vehicles, must be maintained according to manufacturers' specifications. Safety features must not be disabled.
The minimum requirements are:
- Fume hoods must be installed and operating according to the Fume Hood Safety Standard.
- Safety Shower and Eyewash must be installed according to the Safety Shower and Eyewash Safety Standard.
- The quantity limits and proper use and storage requirements must be met for all flammable and combustible liquids used at the University (as outlined in the University's applicable safety standard).
- Fire extinguishers must be provided in research areas, on the basis of the area protected and the hazard class. A minimum of a 5 pound multipurpose dry chemical fire extinguisher must be provided for each laboratory unit.
- A minimum of 4 air changes per hour is required in labs where hazardous materials are used in closed systems, and a minimum of 10 air changes is required for open use of hazardous materials.
- Laboratory spaces must be under negative pressure with respect to adjacent areas, and there must be no re-circulation of exhaust from laboratory.
- Researchers must use special purpose exhaust devices, when extremely hazardous chemicals are used in processes that cannot be contained in fume hoods.
- Compressed and liquefied gases must be in storage and supply systems that comply with standards listed in DEHS Standard for Design and Construction of Laboratories Using Hazardous Chemicals.