Laboratory Safety and Compliance Responsibilities

We are writing to bring to your attention some recent developments related to a number of laboratory accidents and to emphasize the need for your awareness and personal involvement to assure the safety of
all laboratory personnel and facilities.

As you may know, felony charges have been filed against UCLA and an esteemed chemistry professor in connection with a fatal laboratory fire that occurred over three years ago. The charges specifically cite a willful failure to: develop and use standard operating procedures; correct unsafe workplace conditions in a timely manner; require appropriate clothing and personal protective equipment; and provide lab specific safety training to employees. Since that time, there have been other accidents that have received national
attention, including a machine shop accident, chemistry lab explosions and lab acquired infections.

These incidents will no doubt have a profound effect on how granting agencies award funding, how regulators inspect laboratories, and how the public perceives our institutions and research. More
importantly, they underscore the responsibilities that we all have to ensure compliance with required laboratory safety policies, procedures and regulations.

The Department of Environmental Health & Safety, under the leadership of Executive Director Gary Kaczmarczyk, has developed a comprehensive laboratory safety program, including policies, procedures, training and inspections. EH&S Laboratory Safety Specialists can provide additional guidance to assist you with hazard reviews, protocols and training, but you must ensure that procedures are followed, lab safety equipment is operational and used, and that proper lab attire (no shorts or sandals), lab coats, safety glasses, etc., are worn.

With your awareness and involvement we will continue to build a strong safety culture and help assure the success of the academic and research mission of the University. Please visit the EH&S website at where you can find information about laboratory safety requirements and your responsibilities.


Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.
President, Stony Brook University

Dennis N. Assanis, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Kenneth Kaushansky, M.D., M.A.C.P.
Senior Vice President, Health Sciences Dean, School of Medicine

Barbara Chernow
Senior Vice President for Administration