A laboratory environment, by definition, contains a substantial
number of materials, processes, and equipment that represent potential hazards to health and safety. The multidisciplinary nature of the research
conducted at the LLE facility makes it extremely important that each and every person working with hazardous materials, equipment, and processes
be fully aware of the inherent risks and hazards associated with the conditions of his or her experiment, particularly when the experimental
protocol involves hazards that fall outside their area of previous training and expertise. In such a situation, lack of attention to safety issues,
whether due to indifference, lack of information, excessive haste, improper or unsafe experimental design or protocol, or faulty equipment, can have
The principal hazards that can be found in the laboratory work environment
- Physical hazards - Lasers, magnetic fields, ionizing radiation (UV, gamma
radiation, x rays), microwave radiation, ultrasound, noise, and apparatus under
pressure or vacuum
- Chemical hazards - Materials that are flammable, combustible, toxic, carcinogenic,
teratogenic (cause birth defects), oxidizers, reactive, or corrosive
- Radiation hazards - Direct radiation
produced from radiation producing device/experiments, e.g., x-ray generators,
OMEGA & MTW experiments and radioactive isotopes used in experimental activities.
- Fire hazards - Flammable and combustible materials
- Electrical hazards - Sources of high voltage, current, or situations where
electrical discharge could occur
Ensuring a safe working environment at the LLE facility
is a responsibility shared by all of its faculty, staff, and students. View our
Safety Philosophy (pdf: 529 KB)
Several areas of responsibility include the following:
- The University’s and LLE’s responsibilities include
providing and maintaining a safe working environment, establishing safety
and protocols, and monitoring to ensure regulatory compliance and employee
- The Safety Officers are responsible for providing
training and support and guidance in safety-related issues for their
specific areas of expertise (chemical,
electrical, fire, laser, mechanical, and radiation), identifying potential hazards, and
ensuring compliance with safety regulations and directives through periodic
of work areas and implementation and review of new and existing LLE
safety directives and instructions.
- Principal Investigators (PI’s) are responsible
for ensuring that supervised personnel receive specific information and
training on hazardous
materials, lasers and other equipment with which they work and
verifying that appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is worn
for all experimental activities.
The P. I.
is also expected to enforce the adoption of safe work
practices in his or her work area.
Safety is everyone's business
- Laboratory staff and students are responsible for completing
required safety training and knowing the potential hazards of materials
and equipment before beginning experiments, following established safety
protocols, using appropriate PPE to minimize exposure and reduce risk,
and identifying and reporting potentially hazardous situations to their
supervisor or the relevant safety officer.
- Compliance with safety procedures is MANDATORY.
- If an activity or practice seems unsafe, "Stop Work" and take time to address concerns.
- Actions to be taken for Medical Emergencies must be known by all employees and communicated to visitors.
- All hands must respond properly to Fire Alarms.
- LLE and Omega Laser Facility access must be controlled for reasons of security and physical protection.
- Employees and visitors alike must respect clean rooms.