Faculty Handbook

Environmental Health and Safety


Safety is a critical component of scholarly excellence and is integral to the responsible conduct of research.

Safe work practices in research, teaching, and outreach activities are subject to state and federal laws and guidelines. General University oversight and coordination is provided by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), which reports to the Office of Regulatory Affairs. The Chemical Hygiene Committee, the Radiation Safety Committee, and the Institutional Biosafety Committee assist EHS in ensuring applicable federal, state and MSU policies are followed.

The Principal Investigator (PI) has the primary responsibility for the safe conduct of teaching and research, which includes the review and approval of all related research or teaching activities, the identification and mitigation of attendant risks and hazards, and the maintenance of adequate oversight and control of assigned work and teaching spaces.

In general, the principal investigator must:

  1. Assign appropriate training and maintain current training records for all employees, students, visitors and volunteers in the laboratory. This includes training for use of all potentially hazardous equipment, instruments, and devices, which include hand and power tools, agricultural vehicles, heavy machinery and other equipment used for teaching and research.
  2. Be aware of the MIOSHA Hazard Communication Standard and other relevant worker safety standards, post warnings and restrict entry to work areas containing potentially hazardous activities, provide appropriate personal protective equipment, and ensure all personnel dispose of hazardous waste in a legal and environmentally sound manner.
  3. Request and acquire approval from relevant University committees or units before initiating teaching, research, or service activities involving regulated materials such as radioisotopes, controlled substances, infectious and toxic agents, select agents, recombinant DNA, genetically modified organisms, Class A carcinogens, equipment emitting magnetic, x-ray or radio frequency fields, pesticides, and Chemicals of Interest as defined by the US Department of Homeland Security. Work with these substances cannot commence until the activity has been approved by the appropriate safety committee(s).
  4. Accept responsibility for any regulated materials in their facilities by preventing releases to the environment, implementing security measures to prevent loss or theft, and the maintenance of accurate chemical, biological and radiological inventories. Spills, thefts, losses or accidents that could impact the environment, threaten the health of people and/or animals, or could cause damage to infrastructure must be reported to EHS immediately.
  5. Notify EHS prior to vacating a laboratory or other work space or area containing hazardous materials and clearly identify those materials before departing the University.

Principal Investigators and their staff are encouraged to contact and consult with the EHS office by phone: (517) 355-0153 or email: ehs@msu.edu with any questions, such as whether an activity requires EHS review. Additional information can be found at the EHS website: www.ehs.msu.edu.

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