PI & Laboratory Supervisors

Principal Investigators and/or Laboratory Supervisors have direct responsibilities for the safety of their workers. You may delegate specific tasks, but you can not delegate your supervisory responsibilities for safety. Items below are not meant to be a list of all possible safety responsibilities. For example, it does not address the specific requirements associated with radiation use, or use of infectious materials for which specialized safety committees exist (see Authorizations below). 

You can Download a PDF version of the Guide for New Principal Investigators (PIs) and/or Supervisors.

For more information, refer to the Laboratory / Research Safety webpage or contact Laboratory & Research Safety at (951) 827-5528.

In general, individuals need to be made aware of the hazards of their workplace by their supervisor, or designee, via documented training. Appropriate safe work practices must be conveyed, particularly for: new employees; employees given new work assignments for which training has not been previously received; when new hazards are introduced to the workplace, etc. The campus provides many safety related training courses for your convenience through the EH&S Training program.  EH&S Training is not a complete substitute for laboratory-specific (or operation-specific) documented training.

Download the PI & Lab Supervisors Checklist 

Download the Research Approval and Training Requirement  and the Research Safety Training Matrix to assist you in determining which training to require in your lab, as determined by subject. 

Download the Laboratory Site Specific Training Checklist to assist you in documenting training. 

You are responsible to enter and annually update your chemical inventory using the campus Chemical Inventory system. Ensure that you enter and update your chemicals as you acquire and eliminate them.

Each laboratory using chemicals must review, understand, follow, and have readily available the Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP). The laboratory must create and update their own written Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for safely handling hazardous substances, such as carcinogens, reproductive or developmental toxins and acute toxins. These SOPs should be maintained with the lab’s CHP. Your CHP must be shared with your workers and this should be documented. Your CHP must be updated whenever conditions change and reviewed and updated at least annually.

All chemical users must know what a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is, their relevance to their health and safety, and how to access them. EH&S provides instructions for acceptable means of accessing SDSs (e.g. hard copy or electronic access) within the laboratory. Electronic access is available from on-campus 24/7 through the UC SDS website.

Appropriate selection, use, maintenance, fitting to the wearer, and training for all PPE (e.g. gloves, eyewear, protective shoes and clothing) should be addressed by completing the Laboratory Hazard Assessment Tool (LHAT)  Each employee must be trained on the proper use of their PPE. By law the employer needs to provide any PPE that is required for the job at no cost to the employee. Contact EH&S for guidance on these and the campus respiratory protection program.

Certain types of work require authorization from a campus committee, or approval from EH&S. Authorization requests must be approved before any work may commence. For additional guidance, refer to the Research Approval and Training Requirement matrix. Examples include:


For information about how to initiate an authorization, contact ehs@ucr.edu. Modifications to the room or infrastructure of your spaces (e.g. doors, ventilation, utilities) require authorization from Facilities Services and/or the Campus Fire Marshal

All laboratory workers should know how to respond appropriately to reasonably foreseeable emergencies such as spills and fires. In addition to the emergency responses in the Laboratory Safety Fundamentals eCcourse, everyone should review the campus Emergency Procedures and refer to the Emergency Poster in the Lab. 

Fires must be promptly reported to UCPD by dialing 911 or (951) 827-5222 (even if the fire is out), especially if there is property damage, injury, or use of a fire extinguisher. All work-related injuries beyond first aid must be reported as soon as possible using the Report a Hazard or Incident tool, located at the top of the page.

To aid emergency responders, and comply with fire safety regulations, every entrance to an area with chemical, radioactive or biological hazards must have a placard conveying information regarding the types and degree of hazards within and emergency contacts. You can create a placard at any time using the eContact system. Ensure that the information on your placard is updated at least annually.

Ensure that you conduct safety inspections at least twice a year. The departments have the responsibility to conduct formal annual laboratory inspections with the system and questions that EH&S provides. For more information and checklists, visit the Laboratory Audits webpage.

Generation of chemical waste, radioactive waste and some biological wastes are heavily regulated and penalties for non-compliance can be severe. Hazardous wastes must be properly labeled at the time of initial generation and disposed of by EH&S. The labeling and request for removal are done through the online waste tag program. Basic training of workers on legal hazardous waste handling is covered in Hazardous Waste Management training. To access the waste accounts or request radioactive or medical sharps waste removal visit the Waste Pickup request webpage.

PI Lab Safety Responsibility Video
Length: 6 minutes
Credit: Washington University in St. Louis