Laboratory Safety

Environmental Health & Safety works with the laboratory researchers, Primary Investigators, and the Office of Vice President of Research to provide a safe and healthy work environment within all George Washington University laboratories. GW laboratories maintain compliance with applicable industry standards, laws and regulations with the assistance and expertise of Environmental Health & Safety and the Office of Laboratory Safety. We provide education through training and assist in the development and implementation of emergency response procedures for university laboratories.

Hazardous Waste Management Plan & Policy

The Hazardous Waste Management Plan (HWMP) is the guide for disposing of hazardous materials generated at the university. The goal of the HWMP is to dispose of hazardous waste in a safe, efficient and environmentally sound manner and to comply with local and federal regulations.

Use the FixIt Portal's "Lab Safety" service to request hazardous waste pick-up.

Request a hazard waste pick-up

Chemical Hygiene Plan & Policy

The Chemical Hygiene Plan provides guidelines for safe practices and procedures for the use of chemicals. The Chemical Hygiene Plan sets forth procedures and best work practices that protect employees from the hazards presented by the use of chemicals in the workplace. To request a copy of the Chemical Hygiene Plan, contact Environmental Health & Safety at [email protected].

Laboratory Closeout Procedures

Proper disposal of hazardous materials is required whenever an individual leaves the university or transfers to a different laboratory. While the primary responsibility for the proper disposal of all hazardous materials used in laboratories lies with the Principal Investigator (PI) or Researcher, the ultimate responsibility for hazardous materials management lies with each department. Consult the Chemical Hygiene Policy and the Hazardous Waste Management Policy for guidance on university procedures regarding the transport and storage of potentially hazardous materials. Coordinate any lab clean-out or close-out with Environmental Health & Safety at [email protected]

Laboratory & Studio Inspections

Man working in a lab, wearing gloves, goggles and a lab coat

Each laboratory will be inspected by Environmental Health & Safety at least once per semester. The results of the inspection, along with recommended corrective actions, will be forwarded to each laboratory's Principal Investigator and department chair. Laboratory staff is expected to routinely perform self-inspections to ensure compliance.

Exposure to Chemicals

In the event of an accident or exposure to a hazardous substance, employees should perform the following procedures:

  • Wash/irrigate area of exposure
  • Clean and contain area to eliminate the possibility for other exposures
  • Identify chemical of exposure
  • MUST complete GW's Accident Reporting Form
  • Follow SDS prescribed exposure/first aid procedures
  • If necessary, call CHEMTREC at 1-800-424-9300
  • Depending on severity and time of incident, report to Emergency Room

Laboratory Safety Training

Required annual training for those who work in a research or teaching lab. You will learn proper guidelines for safe practices and procedures for the use of chemicals (e.g., disposal, spill clean-up, labeling, storage).

Register for Laboratory Safety Training

For more information, please contact Environmental Health & Safety at 202-994-4347 or [email protected]