The Research Office

Wilson Hall
371 Wilson Boulevard
Rochester, Michigan 48309-4486
(location map)
(248) 370-2762
(248) 370-4111
[email protected]

Laboratory Safety and Compliance

Welcome to Laboratory Safety and Compliance!

Oakland University's Laboratory Safety and Compliance Program provides support and assistance in the following areas:

  • biological safety
  • bloodborne pathogen exposure control
  • chemical hygiene
  • hazardous materials and medical waste management
  • laser safety
  • nanotechnology safety
  • radiation and x-ray machine safety
  • robotics safety
  • shipping of biological and hazardous materials

This site is intended to provide Laboratory Safety and Compliance information regarding policies and procedures, services, forms, manuals and applicable resources. It also provides links to local, state and federal regulatory agencies as well as professional organizations. And finally, this site will make available access to important up-to-date regulatory information to support researchers and laboratory employees in maintaining regulatory compliance and minimizing hazards to the OU community.

Laboratory Safety and Compliance espace IBC (Institutional Biosafety Committee) Training Reporting Injuries and IllnessesHazardous Waste Pickup Request FormLaboratory Chemical Inventory Manager

Contact Us

Domenico Luongo, MSc, CHMM
Director of Research Compliance and Integrity
Office: 530 Wilson Hall
Phone: (248) 370-4314
Fax: (248) 370-2973
E-mail: [email protected]

Janell Hallauer MSc., BA
Biosafety Officer & Laboratory Compliance Specialist
Office: 143 Dodge Hall
Phone: (248) 370-4603
Fax: (248) 370-2973
E-mail: [email protected]

Robert Perreault, MOL, CHMM
Hazardous Waste Specialist
Office: Graham Health Center  - Apt
Phone: (248) 370-4956
Fax: (248) 370-4376
E-mail: [email protected]

Lab Volunteers

Any individual or enrolled student, who is not a University employee and will not receive any compensation, benefits or credit for a class is considered a volunteer. Volunteers will comply with University policy and complete all necessary training for any lab work they will be conducting. All volunteers must sign a release form.

Government and Professional Resources
  • ACS American Chemical Society
  • ABSA American Biological Safety Association
  • ASM American Society for Microbiology
  • EGLE
  • EPA
  • CDC
  • NIH
Animal Worker Safety

All researchers who handle and care for laboratory animals are included in Oakland University's Animal Occupational Health and Safety Program. This program evaluates the hazards, facilities and procedures associated with animal research and in conjunction with;Biological Research Support Facility (BRSF) staff, develops guidelines and medical surveillance programs to keep animal workers safe.

Animal Allergy Links

Animal Zoonoses Links

Biohazards Control

Oakland University's Biosafety Program is designed to prevent employee injuries from exposures to hazardous biological agents. The following links provide access to the university's Biosafety Program as well as online guidance on the safe handling of biological agents from various government and professional organizations. Please contact the Biosafety Officer at (248) 370-4314 for any questions regarding biosafety.

University Biosafety Services

What to do in the event of an exposure incident

If a laboratory worker is involved in an incident where exposure to bloodborne pathogens may have occurred, the worker should seek medical attention immediately. See: Bloodborne Pathogens for instructions. 

Biohazardous and Medical Waste (Instructions)

How do I dispose of contaminated sharps?

Contaminated sharps are managed as follows:

  1. Broken glassware which may be contaminated is picked up using mechanical means, such as a brush and dust pan.
  2. All contaminated sharps are discarded immediately or as soon as possible into a sharps safe.

How do I launder my lab coat?

Contaminated laundry is managed as follows:

  1. Send out to those laundry facilities in the area willing and able to handle biohazardous laundry. The Graham Health Center can provide the name(s) of current facilities who perform this function.
  2. Place in leak-proof, labeled or color-coded containers before transport
  3. Handle as little as possible by OU employees, and never take contaminated materials home for laundering.

What are the guidelines for the use of biohazard bags, hampers and sharps safes containing biohazardous waste?

  1. Maintained upright at all times
  2. Replaced routinely and not overfilled
  3. Secure and seal the container prior to removal to prevent spillage or protrusion of contents during handling

How do I dispose of my biohazardous waste containers?

  1. Please submit a pickup requests via the online Hazardous Waste Pickup form.
  2. For chemical name please enter the words “Medical Waste".
  3. An "OU Medical Waste Internal Tracking Form" shall be completed for each "pickup" (regardless of the number of containers). A fund number is not required for medical waste originating from Oakland University Research Labs. Please make a copy for your records.
  4. EH&S will contact the submitter to pickup the medical waste.
  5. EH&S does not provide replacement sharps containers.

Medical Waste Disposal (non-sharps) for Research and Teaching Labs with access to an autoclave.

All medical waste generated in research labs must be managed as follows
  1. Dispose biohazardous waste in an appropriately labeled biohazard bag.
  2. When the biohazard bag is full it must be decontaminated using your departments autoclave.
  3. Autoclaved waste may be disposed in the regular trash once it is transferred to a black bag marked with the words, "Decontaminated Medical Waste".

Please contact EH&S (extension 4196) for "Decontaminated Medical Waste" labels or for assistance with the disposal of biohazardous waste that cannot be autoclaved.

Chemical Safety

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Laboratory Standard requires employers to convey chemical health and safety information to their laboratory employees and, ensure that proper work practices/procedures are in place to protect the worker. Oakland University's Laboratory Chemical Hygiene Plan is a requirement of the OSHA Laboratory Standard and the university's guide to laboratory chemical safety. A copy of the Chemical Hygiene Plan is located in the laboratories and is also available upon request to all university laboratory workers. For assistance in laboratory chemical safety please call (248) 370-4314 or (248) 370-4603.

Chemical Safety Services

Reference Links

Radiation Safety

Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) is responsible for ensuring compliance with Oakland University's broadscope radioactive materials license and to provide a safe work environment for all university employees permitted to use radioactivity. Please contact the university's Radiation Safety Officer at (248) 370-4196 for assistance with radioactive materials or radiation generating machines.

 Radiation Safety Services      

Radioactive Waste Disposal

Waste Segregation and Packaging

  • Keep 3H and 14C wastes separate from waste containing shorter-lived radionuclides
  • Do not mix waste types
  • Package waste in a suitable container
  • Seal package to prevent leaks
  • Provide PI name, radionuclide, activity and assay date for each item

Waste Handling and Disposal

  • Collect waste in low-traffic area
  • Waste container should be clearly labeled
  • Waste collection area should be labeled and isolated
  • Waste should be transferred to RSO every two weeks

Additional Resources

Nanotechnology Safety

Precautionary Measures for Employers and Workers Handling Engineered Nanomaterials
NIOSH Recommendations

Overview: Given the limited amount of information about the health risks, it is prudent to take measures to minimize worker exposures.

  • For most processes and job tasks, the control of airborne exposure to nanoaerosols can be accomplished using a wide variety of engineering control techniques similar to those used in reducing exposure to general aerosols.
  • The implementation of a risk management program in workplaces where exposure to nanomaterials exists can help to minimize the potential for exposure to nanoaerosols. Elements of such a program should include:
    • evaluating the hazard posed by the nanomaterial based on available physical and chemical property data and toxicology or health effects data.
    • assessing potential worker exposure to determine the degree of risk.
    • the education and training of workers in the proper handling of nanomaterials (e.g., good work practices).
    • the establishment of criteria and procedures for installing and evaluating engineering controls (e.g., exhaust, ventilation) at locations where exposure to nanoparticles might occur.
    • the development of procedures for determining the need and selection of personal protective equipment (e.g., clothing, gloves, respirators).
    • the systematic evaluation of exposures to ensure that control measures are working properly and that workers are being provided the appropriate personal protective equipment.
  • Engineering control techniques such as source enclosure (i.e., isolating the generation source from the worker) and local exhaust ventilation systems should be effective for capturing airborne nanoparticles. Current knowledge indicates that a well-designed exhaust system with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter should effectively remove nanoparticles.
  • The use of good work practices can help to minimize worker exposures to nanomaterials. Examples of good practices include; cleaning of work areas using HEPA vacuum pickup and wet wiping methods, preventing the consumption of food or beverages in workplaces where nanomaterials are handled, and providing hand-washing facilities and facilities for showering and changing clothes.
  • No guidelines are currently available on the selection of clothing or other apparel (e.g. gloves) for the prevention of dermal exposure to nanoaerosols. However, some clothing standards incorporate testing with nanoscale particles and therefore provide some indication of the effectiveness of protective clothing with regard to nanoparticles.
  • Respirators may be necessary when engineering and administrative controls do not adequately prevent exposures. Currently, there are no specific exposure limits for airborne exposures to engineered nanoparticles although occupational exposure limits exist for larger particles of similar chemical composition. The decision to use respiratory protection should be based on professional judgment that takes into account toxicity information, exposure measurement data, and the frequency and likelihood of the worker’s exposure. Preliminary evidence shows that for respirator filtration media there is no deviation from the classical single-fiber theory for particulates as small as 2.5 nm in diameter. While this evidence needs confirmation, it is likely that NIOSH certified respirators will be useful for protecting workers from nanoparticle inhalation when properly selected and fit tested as part of a complete respiratory protection program.
Environmental Health and Safety

The Laboratory Safety and Compliance web site provides Health, Safety and Compliance information specifically designed for University Labs, but there is quite a bit of information on the Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S)web site which also applies to labs. The following links on the EH&S web site are applicable to labs as well as non-lab departments on campus:

Hazardous Materials Management

All hazardous waste must be managed according to the Oakland University Hazardous Waste Management Guidance Manual. Specifically all waste must be properly identified with proper chemical name and/or EPA waste code. For a list of EPA waste codes please refer to the EPA waste code links at the bottom of this page. Please note that the words “Hazardous Waste” must appear on all waste containers.

To arrange for the disposal of hazardous waste click on the "Hazardous Waste Pickup Request Form" below. If five or more chemicals need to be picked up, or to arrange for a lab clean out, please contact the Laboratory Compliance Manager for instructions. If you experience any difficulty with the online pickups submission, please contact Lab Safety personnel at (248) 370-4196.

Hazardous Waste Services

Reference Links

Shipping of Hazardous Materials

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)Federal rules require that anyone wishing to ship biological material, hazardous material, and/or dry ice must first receive shipping training. Hazardous material is defined as any material or substance that poses a risk to the health and safety of the public, property or the environment during transportation. Examples of commonly shipped material that may be regulated are: alcohols, such as ethanol solutions, formaldehyde solutions, xylene, chemical mixtures, newly synthesized compounds, solvents, lubricants, and corrosives (acids or bases which are corrosive to the skin). Regulations may also apply to some commercial products such as paints, batteries, cleaning products, etc.

DOT specifically defines the hazardous substance as any material that is listed in the 49 CFR Hazardous Materials Table which can be accessed at: CFR 49 Hazardous Materials

If you anticipate a need to ship any of these types of materials you must first submit an Intent to Ship Biological or Hazardous Material Form. To begin this process, click on the Intent to Ship link below. EH&S will contact you within one business day.

If you experience any difficulty with the form, please contact Lab Safety personnel at (248) 370-4196. 

Intent to Ship Hazardous Materials

 Please submit your Intent to Ship form two business days prior to shipping.

Shipping References

Several agencies regulate the shipping of biological and hazardous materials. Regulations which apply to the packaging and shipment of such materials are as follows:

Importing or Exporting Animals, Insects or Plants

Hazardous Waste Minimization

It is critical that all hazardous waste generating departments on campus play an active role in hazardous waste minimization. As indicated below, we have outlined several suggestions with regard to hazardous waste minimization. It by no means lists all of the possible methods of minimization available; nor are any of the methods specified below mandatory. Generating departments on campus are requested to review these methods for applicability, identify which techniques are (or can be) used in their areas, and provide any additional methods of waste minimization that their areas currently, or intend to, employ. The following describes common waste minimization techniques:

  1. Process Modification in Laboratories
    1. The use of microscale experiments and glassware.
    2. Many organic and inorganic synthesis procedures have been successfully designed so that the product of one synthesis is the starting material for the next. Chains of from two to six steps have thus been designed with a good variety of syntheses. When each step is complete, characterizing measurements are made on a few milligrams of material. The rest goes back into the process so that no product from the earlier steps is left to be disposed of or to be stored.
    3. Storing radioactive animal wastes which contain short half-life (<90 days) radionuclides in freezers and holding them till they are no longer regulated as Radioactive Wastes.
  2. Waste Exchange for Laboratories
    Many laboratory materials treated as chemical wastes are actually surplus chemicals which are reusable; unused chemicals can constitute as much as 40% of the hazardous waste generated from laboratories.Therefore, as often as is possible, chemicals intended for disposal by a department should first be made available to other departments that may utilize them. When you complete the on-line Hazardous Waste Pickup form please indicate under additional “Special Handling Instructions” that the material to be picked up may be available for redistribution. Upon the waste pickup the EH&S department will determine the usefulness of the material and decide whether or not to offer the material for redistribution.

    Chemicals desirable for redistribution:

    1. Solvents:
      1. Acetone
      2. Chloroform
      3. Dichloromethane
      4. Ethyl Acetate
      5. Formaldehyde
      6. Glycerol
      7. Hexanes
      8. Isopropyl alcohol
      9. Methanol
      10. Methylene chloride
      11. Petroleum ether
      12. Toluene
      13. Xylenes
    2. Acids:
      1. Acetic acid (glacial)
      2. Hydrochloric acid
      3. Sulfuric acid
  3. Product Substitution in Laboratories
    1. Histology Laboratory: The substitution of citric acid based AmeriClear for xylene, benzene and toluene containing reagents.
    2. Radioactive laboratories: Substitution of non-hazardous proprietary liquid scintillation cocktails for standard xylene or toluene based cocktails in radioactive tracer studies.
    3. Physical Chemistry Laboratories
      1. Isopropyl alcohol is as suitable as carbon tetrachloride in the measurement of vapor pressure-temperature relationships by isotensiscope.
      2. Determination of molecular weight by freezing point lowering methods can use cyclohexane as the solvent, rather than benzene.5
    4. General Academic Laboratories
      1. In the standard test for halide ions, cyclohexane can be substituted for tetrachloride to extract the halogen.
      2. Benzene or carbon tetrachloride used as reagents or solvents can be replaced by less hazardous materials
      3. Spent glassware cleaning solutions such as Chromic acid and alcoholic potassium hydroxide solution can be replaced by one of several super-surfactant laboratory detergents.
      4. Qualitative analysis schemes for heavy metals have been developed that replace sulfide ion by hydroxide ion as a central reagent.
      5. In some organic synthesis, hypochlorite ion can replace chromate ion or other oxidizers.
    5. Analytical Laboratories
      1. Extraction solvents can be selected so as to minimize hazards and increase recoverability.
      2. Sample sizes can be reduced, thus reducing the quantities of extraction solvents and or derivatization reagents.
  4. Incorporating Neutralization Methods into Student Laboratory Experiments. Neutralization of waste chemicals to allow drain disposal is considered "treatment" under strict interpretation of the EPA's definition of "treatment," and requires a special Permit (See Section VII: Drain Disposal). However, since "a waste is not a waste until you call it a waste" incorporating the neutralization process as part of a "student experiment" is allowed, and in fact encouraged. Several examples of these types of experiments are available upon request from the Office of Environmental Health and Safety.
  5. Product Substitution in Non-Laboratories. Substitution of non-hazardous or less toxic materials in chemical processes and experiments should be utilized as much as possible.

    1. The use of water based inks instead of solvent based inks in printing operations.
    2. The use of non-halogenated solvents in parts washers or other solvent processes.
  6. Bulking (vs. "Lab-Packs") Solvents
    1. Definition of the "Lab Pack": The term "lab-pack" refers to placing several sealed containers of compatible hazardous wastes into a larger vessel (e.g. a 55-gallon drum) along with a packing material (such as vermiculite) in order to transport the wastes to a disposal/incineration facility. The contractor responsible to semi-annually remove this University's wastes is responsible to lab-pack the material properly prior to transport.
    2. Definition of "Bulking": "Bulking" refers to emptying smaller containers of like hazardous material into ONE accumulation vessel (e.g. a 55-gallon drum), and transporting this vessel to the disposal site.
    3. The Advantage of Bulking Solvents on Campus: A 55-gallon "lab pack" of waste solvents can hold only 15 gallons of solvents (due to the limitations of lab packing techniques and materials). This means that only about one quarter of the drum's volume is used, and yet it costs four times more than bulking the material. Therefore, since solvents are a large contributor to this University's waste stream, bulking them can easily generate large cost savings. If any generating department believes that it uses one or more solvents in large quantities throughout the year, its Hazardous Waste Coordinator should contact the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, so that the techniques of accumulating and storing these wastes can be explored. Many factors must be considered and discussed, such as removing sources of ignition in and around the bulking area, and assuring adequate ventilation during transfer of the solvent(s).
  7. Reclamation. Some generating departments may reclaim precious metals and valuable chemicals from their waste streams. Successful reclamation can reduce waste treatment and chemical purchase costs. Some examples of this are:
    1. Photo fixer waste can be processed (by an outside vendor) to reclaim silver.
    2. Mercury can be collected and sold to a vendor for redistillation.
    3. Fuel grade solvents and used motor and pump oil can be reclaimed by a vendor (e.g. Safety-Kleen or Edward's Oil) for use as an energy source.
  8. Segregation and Characterization
    1. Hazardous wastes should NOT be mixed. And, hazardous wastes should NEVER be mixed with nonhazardous wastes.
    2. Waste bottles should be labeled as to their exact content. Segregation and characterization allows waste to be redistributed for reuse if someone else in the University system can use the chemicals And, even if the waste cannot be redistributed, segregation and characterization simplifies waste packaging and minimizes cost.
  9. Inventory Control
    1. Only the quantity of chemical required for specific projects should be purchased. In other words, lower "unit" pricing alone should not promote large quantity purchasing. This (initially attractive) method of buying chemicals often leads to surplus product, wherein the purchaser has 1) paid for product that will not be used, and 2) must additionally pay for the surplus to be disposed of.
    2. Chemicals stored in a "shared" stockroom that have been left by personnel (or students) no longer with the University should not be ignored. These chemicals should be examined, and either internally redistributed, or listed for disposal/redistribution on the Hazardous Waste Pickup form.
    3. When purchasing automated equipment, the amount of hazardous waste generated by the machine should be considered as one of the primary purchasing criteria.
  10. Training. Those who purchase and work with hazardous materials should be trained in the importance of hazardous waste minimization strategies and the methods utilized in their areas.
Laboratory Chemical Inventory (LCI)

The Laboratory Chemical Inventory is a critical component of chemical management at Oakland University. We strongly encourage the monitoring of hazardous materials on a continuous basis and require a physical inventory at least annually or as requested by the Chemical Hygiene Officer.

The Laboratory Chemical Inventory is also required to maintain compliance with local, state, and federal regulations as well as provide critical information to responders during an emergency.

Laboratory Chemical Inventory Manager