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E. Laboratory Personnel

Laboratory personnel includes employee and non-employee personnel working in the laboratory such as professors, lecturers, teaching assistants, graduate assistants, undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral associates, visiting scientists, approved minors and others.


It is the responsibility ALL laboratory personnel to follow the procedures outlined in the Laboratory Safety Manual and Chemical Hygiene Plan and all Standard Operating Procedures developed under this plan. Specific responsibilities are:



  • Complete all required safety trainings before commencing work in the laboratory

  • Understand and follow all safety practices, policies and regulations of the University and ALL governing entities

  • Understand the function and proper use of all required personal protective equipment and wear personal protective equipment at all times when working in the laboratory

  • Report to your supervisor or EH&S any hazardous conditions or activity so they can be addressed immediately

  • Report in writing to your supervisor, any significant problems arising from the implementation of written Standard Operating Procedures

  • Report to your supervisor, Group Safety Officer, EH&S and other investigating authorities all the facts surrounding all incidents/accidents that occur in the laboratory and any action or condition that exists and could result in an accident; Accident Report must be completed for laboratory incident resulting in injury or illness, near miss incident, an accident involving fire with flame, and releases or spills of hazardous substances



F. Environmental Health and Safety


Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) is the administrative arm of the University responsible for monitoring safety and compliance in research and teaching laboratories. EHS provides guidance and oversight for safe handling of chemicals, radiological materials, and biological agents, equipment and a wide range of physical hazards that may be present in laboratories.
EHS responsibilities are:

  • Review and approve the use of radiological materials according to the USC license requirements by SC DHEC, an agreement state of the Nuclear Regulatory Agency

  • Review and approve through the Institutional Biosafety Committee, research protocols for the use of biological agents

  • Review and approve standard operating procedures for the use of particularly hazardous substances, equipment and activity

  • Review research building or laboratory renovation plans and ensure that the plans meet current safety standards and requirements

  • Review proposed research activities for minor volunteers based on USC Minor’s in Laboratories Policy

  • Assist lab personnel in identifying hazards, assessing risks and identifying controls to mitigate risks in laboratories

  • Perform periodic safety inspections and facilitate corrections of observed deficiencies

  • Assist new faculty hires in setting up laboratories that meet current safety standards and requirements

  • Facilitate disposal of discarded hazardous materials; materials that are discarded after research use, during lab clean-up or when laboratories are closed-out

  • Investigate incidents and accidents in laboratories, identify root causes and assist lab personnel in developing and facilitate implementation of corrective action plans

  • Issue “stop operations” recommendation for laboratories that have serious conditions that are immediately dangerous to life and health

  • Provide guidance on various day-to-day research safety questions and concerns from research personnel

  • Provide general safety trainings addressing safe handling of chemicals, biological agents and radiological materials

  • Monitor and provide support for laboratories in maintaining a current chemical inventory

EHS can be reached at 777-5269 during working hours from 8:30 am to 4:30 p.m.


Dial Campus Police at 777-9111 for assistance in any Emergency outside of normal work hours.

G. Thompson Student Health Center

The Thompson Student Health Center provides medical care for USC students and employees during regular work hours. The facility is open Monday-Friday 8 AM to 5 PM and Sunday from 2-8 PM during the Fall and Spring Semesters. Summer hours are Monday-Friday 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.


THE facility can be reached by calling (803) 777-3175 or (803) 777-3174.

Chapter III. Information and Training




A. Initial Training

All members of the laboratory should be aware of and familiar with ALL hazards present in their work area. Researchers whose work involves the use of hazardous substances must be informed as to the proper handling procedures and measures they must take to protect themselves from these hazards. All new personnel in the laboratory must complete the following steps prior to beginning work in areas where hazardous materials, conditions and activity exists.




  1. New personnel including students must read and understand the Laboratory Safety Manual and Chemical Hygiene Plan and must study any materials provided by their supervisor concerning the hazardous substances in use in their laboratory. Each member of the Laboratory must sign the Laboratory Safety Manual and Chemical Hygiene Clearance Form prior to beginning work in the laboratory.

The acknowledgment section of the Chemical Hygiene Clearance Form that states, " The contents of the Laboratory Safety Manual and Chemical Hygiene Plan have been discussed with the workers listed below and we certify that they are made aware of ALL hazards present in our laboratory, the controls that need to be implemented and the response procedures should an emergency occur in the laboratory” must be signed by the laboratory supervisor and Group Safety Officer.


The section of the form which states, “I have read and understand the contents of the Laboratory Safety Manual and Chemical Hygiene Plan. I am aware of ALL the hazards present in our laboratory, the controls that need to be implemented (including but not limited to the use of engineering controls, location and use of safety equipment, location and use of safety data sheets and other safety resources, location and use of personal protective equipment and safe work practices) and the response procedures that need to be followed, should an emergency occur in the laboratory. I hereby acknowledge that I will comply with all the requirements, policies and work practices described in the Laboratory Safety Manual and Chemical Hygiene Plan” must be signed by the researcher.
In the case of personnel whose work will not involve exposure to hazardous substances, the laboratory supervisor should sign the statement " _________ is a member of my group and will not be working in an area in which hazardous substances are in use. However, this person has been made aware of all hazards that exist in this laboratory".

2. All personnel whose work will involve the use of hazardous materials, conditions and activity are required to attend the General Lab Safety lecture offered and scheduled monthly by Environmental Health & Safety. New personnel are required to attend the next lecture presented after the date of their initial appointment. For personnel whose starting employment date is not compatible with this training schedule, their supervisor is responsible for providing the General Lab Safety in addition to all lab-specific and procedure specific trainings required.


OSHA requires the Chemical Hygiene Training Program to include:
(1) The existence, location and availability of the Chemical Hygiene Plan document

(2) The content of the OSHA Lab Standard 29 CFR 1910.1450 and its appendices

(3) The criteria to select, use and the limitations of personal protective equipment

(4) Exposure limits including TLVs and PELs

(5) The emergency procedures and the location of the equipment

(6) The location of available reference materials including the Safety Data Sheets

(7) Identification of hazardous chemicals

Environmental Health and Safety offers the following trainings: General Lab Safety, Biosafety and Bloodborne Pathogens, Hazardous Waste and Radiation Safety. Laboratory hazards vary widely from one laboratory to another, the range of required trainings for each lab personnel vary from one laboratory to another. It is the responsibility of the Laboratory Supervisor to ensure that their personnel have completed all required trainings and provide them with laboratory-specific and procedure-specific trainings on the use of specific hazardous substances, conditions and activity in their laboratory. This training can be presented during informal group safety meetings or individual discussions with one's supervisor, or in the form of posted notices or handouts.


Laboratory-specific and procedure-specific trainings must include:


  • Review of ALL hazards present in the laboratory and the controls in place

  • Location of the safety resources (Lab Safety Manual and Chemical Hygiene Plan, Safety Data Sheets, others)

  • Location and use of safety equipment (safety shower, eyewash, fire extinguisher, first-aid kit, others)

  • Location and use of personal protective equipment

  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for handling particularly hazardous materials, conditions and activity (personnel must be able to demonstrate proficiency in performing all aspects of the SOPs)

  • Procedures for responding to emergencies (fire, spills, chemical exposure, others)

  • Procedures for post-exposure follow-up


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