Lab Safety is No Accident
Lab Safety at university research labs has come to the forefront after laboratory accidents at UCLA and Texas Tech. A critical aspect of any research laboratory’s operation is lab safety. As NDSU’s research portfolio grows, so does the number of research laboratories along with the number of people involved, including faculty, staff, and students. According to Dr. Kent Rodgers, chair of NDSU’s Lab and Chemical Safety Committee, awareness of hazards and safety resources, training in procedures and dialog are vital to laboratory safety. Relevant lab safety topics involve handling of biohazards, chemicals, and radiation, among other issues such as work with animals.
Kristi Biewer heads the lab safety program for the Division of Research, Creative Activities, and Technology Transfer (RCATT) in the NDSU Research and Technology Park. Along with other NDSU departments, RCATT has made a concentrated effort to promote awareness of safety in the laboratory. According to Biewer, staff and students must take safety seriously, especially when they are caught up in their research and generating results. In RCATT, an accessible Chemical Inventory Program provides personnel with easy reliable access to electronic versions of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS’s) which are critical to planning and executing any chemical research. An annual RCATT Safety Day provides researchers with an opportunity to obtain additional information and useful resources for safety applications.
The key to safety is being informed and prepared. There are many resources available to aid NDSU lab staff in this effort, such as the NDSU Chemical Hygiene Plan. A key element to avoid safety accidents is to write a step-by-step Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) prior to conducting any high hazard operation. This written document provides personnel with detailed laboratory procedures, personal protective equipment requirements, and forethought on all operational aspects of an experiment. Knowing what could potentially happen with hazardous materials will aid personnel in preparation and execution. Additional training or resources may be beneficial after an SOP is written. Knowing how to use laboratory safety equipment including fire extinguishers is also key. NDSU’s Environmental Health and Safety unit, headed by Mike Borr as part of the University Police and Safety Office, assists with safety training and management of hazardous materials on campus.
To be safe in a research lab, you need to be prepared. Safety does not happen by accident!
NDSU Undergoes Export Controls Assessment
NDSU is taking strides to address federal export control regulations. These regulations govern what hardware, software, materials, and technology can be exported out of the country or exposed to certain foreign nationals studying and working within our programs and laboratories. The controls apply to items considered sensitive for military, security, or commercial purposes.
An external consultant, Don Fischer, of Fischer and Associates, visited campus last month to discuss the enforcement of export control regulations at major research institutions and initiated a risk assessment for NDSU. Mr. Fischer has met with a number of administrators, faculty, and staff as part of the assessment and will provide recommendations for enhancing export control compliance at NDSU. To obtain a copy of his overview presentation, contact Teri Grosz.
Researchers in the News
Interest continues in research underway at NDSU. Here’s just a sample of media coverage. Some links to these news outlets are available for a limited time.
If you’d like to suggest a story highlighting NDSU research, let us know. While we may not be able to use every suggestion, we would like to hear from you.
COS Pivot - Online Tool for Finding Grants and Collaborators
Monthly COS Pivot labs are offered where NDSU faculty, staff, and students can come to a computer cluster and get hands-on help setting up grant searches and updating their Pivot account and profile.
November 13, 2012, 3:00-4:00p.m. - EML Rm. 377
December 4, 2012, 3:00-4:00p.m. - EML Rm. 377
January 17, 2013, 3:00-4:00p.m. - EML Rm. 377
February 20, 2013, 3:00-4:00p.m. - Ehly Hall Rm. 119
March 12, 2013, 3:00-4:00p.m. - EML Rm. 377
April 10, 2013, 3:00-4:00p.m. - Ehly Hall Rm. 119
Limited space is available; Please Register >>
Gear Up for Grants Seminar
"Tech Transfer Basics for Faculty and Students"
December 5, 2012, 3:00-4:30p.m.
NDSU Memorial Union-Rose Room
Presented by the Technology Transfer Office
Tech Transfer is the the process by which university research can be transferred into the public sector through commercial development. As patents and/or other intellectual property protection and business agreements are critical to commercial product development, the NDSU Tech Transfer Office works to ensure these aspects of the university’s intellectual assets are managed appropriately. Plan to attend to learn more about this process. Please Register >>
Gear Up for Grants Seminar
"All About Grant Budgets - Pre and Post Award"
January 16, 2013, 3:00-4:30p.m.
NDSU Memorial Union-Rose Room
Presented by Sponsored Programs Administration and Grant & Contract Accounting
This presentation will describe the grant proposal process and cover best practices for grant budgets in particular, with the goal of making the process easier and more understandable. Staff members will offer advice to streamline grant budget development, improve grants management and prevent problems once a grant proposal becomes a grant award. Please Register >>