CoS Teaching and Research Laboratory Safety Training

Instructors or course coordinators of teaching laboratories and Principal Investigators (PIs) of research laboratories are responsible for obtaining the appropriate safety permission (e.g., Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) Biological Use Authorization (BUA) approval), generating the appropriate safety protocols (e.g., Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)), and assigning or conducting and documenting student and laboratory personnel safety training.  

Please note that appropriate safety and training documents must be completed before beginning experiments in a laboratory. Safety and training documentation must be maintained in a binder in the laboratory, which is referred to below as the Laboratory Safety Binder (except in the case of Chemical Safety Training for students in the Chemistry Department, which is stored electronically by the College of Science Safety Team and the Chemistry Department Office (see below). 

Information on the SJSU and College of Science (CoS) procedures designed to meet federal, state, county and CSU safety requirements in the following areas is below:  

  • Biosafety 
  • Chemical safety
  • Laser safety
  • Power-tool safety
  • Other safety

Remember that biology laboratories usually use chemicals, and geology laboratories sometimes use chemicals and/or power tools, so read all relevant areas of safety below for your experiments.

Safety and training documents will be checked by the CoS Safety Team at the regular bi-annual safety audits.

Biosafety in Teaching and Research Laboratories

Biosafety Level 1 (BSL1) safety: 

Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) Biological Use Authorizations (BUAs): Many experiments conducted in teaching and research laboratories require submission and approval of a BUA to the IBC before experiments begin.  Please see the SJSU IBC BUA website  for more information. If your course or research lab involves the following activities or agents, you must submit a BUA: 

  • potential human pathogens (e.g., microorganisms above BSL-1)
  • recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules (including cells or organisms expressing a transgene)
  • materials derived from humans and non-human primates 
  • animals (vertebrates and invertebrates)/plants/samples with potential for zoonoses
  • sample collection in areas with high potential to encounter biohazards
  • toxins of biological origin
  • select agents
  • agents of dual use research concern

Biosafety Training Requirements:

For BSL1 experiments, students in teaching and research laboratories and laboratory personnel must:

  1. Either complete the CITI Basic Introduction to Biosafety training module or faculty can provide an equivalent, documented training. 
  2. Be trained on the Biological Use Authorization (if required) and all Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) relevant to their assigned tasks or workspaces.

In addition, for research laboratories, laboratory-specific training must be provided by the PI, and must include: 

  1. A lab orientation to familiarize the new researcher with the available safety controls and lab safety rules or work practices.
  2. Management of hazardous waste stream: 
  1. CoS Biohazardous Waste Disposal Protocol:
    1. SJSU research laboratories must provide their own biohazardous waste containers for solid waste. Research laboratories must have a large, rigid, leak-proof container with a tight-fitting lid, and 4 sides and the top must be labelled with a biohazard symbol, (more information and stickers are available from the CoS Safety Team. Small items, such as microcentrifuge tubes and pipette tips that are contaminated with biohazardous materials can be placed in small, rigid containers with tight-fitting lids, and 4 sides and the top must be labelled with a biohazard symbol. (These can be requested from the CoS Safety Team).  
    2. Teaching and research laboratories must have biohazard bins lined with a red biohazard bag.  A non-red autoclave bag must be placed inside the red biohazard bag within its container.  Information on which non-red autoclave bags meet regulations can be obtained from the CoS Safety Team).
    3. Before disposal, the non-red autoclave bag from the teaching or research lab must be tied. It can either be moved from the teaching or research lab container directly into the red biohazard bag in the rolling container from the Microbiology Service Center (MSC, Duncan Hall room 637) and taken to the MSC.  Or the tied non-red autoclave bag can be transported to the MSC in a sealed and labeled biohazard container lined with a red biohazard bag from the teaching or research lab on a cart.
    4. At the MSC, the non-red autoclave bag must be moved to the appropriate red biohazard bag-lined MSC non-rolling bin.  The rolling bins must remain empty when not in use.
    5. MSC staff must take the non-red autoclave bag out of the bin when it is to be autoclaved.  Once autoclaved, the non-red bag of waste will be disposed of with regular waste.
    6. Note that it is essential that the non-red autoclave bag is ALWAYS within a red biohazard bag prior to autoclaving.

b. Decontamination materials: Appropriate decontamination materials must be available in each research laboratory, (usually bleach and/or 70% ethanol, which can be requested from the CoS Safety Team). 

c. Serological pipettes and Pasteur pipettes: A tall cylinder containing DC Gold for decontamination of serological pipettes and a small metal bucket for small glass Pasteur pipettes is required if these are used in the laboratory.  Biology faculty can request the containers and DC Gold from Matt Voisinet at in the MSC. Working strength (3%) DC Gold may be disposed of in the sink, however higher concentrations must be collected as hazardous waste and disposed of in properly labeled chemical waste containers provided by the CoS Safety Team.  

Biosafety Documentation: The following documentation must be included in the Safety Training Binder for both teaching and research laboratories:

  • If a BUA is required, the IBC-approved BUA must be printed and included in the Laboratory Safety Training Binder and students and laboratory personnel must sign and date a signature page indicating that they have read and understand the information in the BUA.
  • SOPs must be printed and students and laboratory personnel must sign and date a signature page indicating that they have read and understand the information in the SOP.
  • Either:
    o Printouts of each student and laboratory personnel’s CITI Certificate of Completion for all required training, or
    o Slides or bullet points of the faculty-provided training and an accompanying signature page that students and laboratory personnel must sign and date to indicate that they understand the information in the training. 

Biosafety Level 2 (BSL2) Safety: 

Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) Biological Use Authorizations (BUAs): All BSL2 experiments conducted in teaching and research laboratories require submission and approval of a BUA to the IBC before experiments begin.  Please see the SJSU IBC BUA website for more information.

Biosafety Training Requirements
For BSL2 experiments, student in teaching or research laboratories and laboratory personnel must:

  1. Either complete the free online CITI Initial Biosafety Training as well as the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens (if working with human-derived materials) modules or faculty can provide an equivalent, documented training.
  2. Be trained on the Biological Use Authorization and all Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) relevant to their assigned tasks or workspaces.

Research laboratory-specific training must be provided by the PI, and must include: 

  1. A lab orientation to familiarize the new researcher with the available safety controls and lab safety rules or work practices.
  2. Management of hazardous waste stream: All guidelines outlined above for BSL1 must be followed.

Biosafety Documentation: The following documentation must be included in the Safety Training Binder for research and teaching laboratories:

  1. The IBC-approved BUA must be printed and included in the Laboratory Safety Training Binder and students and laboratory personnel must sign and date a signature page indicating that they have read and understand the information in the BUA.
  2. SOPs must be printed and students and laboratory personnel must sign and date a signature page indicating that they have read and understand the information in the SOP.
  3. Either:
  1. Printouts of each student and laboratory personnel’s CITI Certificate of Completion for all required training, or
  2. Slides or bullet points of the faculty-provided training and an accompanying signature page that students and laboratory personnel must sign and date to indicate that they understand the information in the training. 

Chemical Safety in Teaching and Research Laboratories

Chemical Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): Use of chemicals in several hazard classes requires the development and use of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), as per the SJSU Chemical Hygiene Plan [pdf]. Chemical SOPs are required for all research laboratories using chemicals in these hazard classes in the College of Science as of December 31, 2021.  Chemical SOPs are required for all teaching laboratories using chemicals in these hazard classes in the College of Science begining in spring, 2022.  Chemicals SOPs should be submitted to the CoS Safety Office to review for completion. 

Chemical SOP acknowledgement signature pages must be signed by all students and personnel and submitted to the CoS Safety Team via this Chemical SOP Signature Page Submission Google Form before chemicals are used in a teaching or research laboratory.  Research labs must submit Chemical SOP signature pages at the beginning of each semester or any time there is a significant update to the SOP.  Teaching labs must submit Chemical SOP signature pages at least one week prior to the use of the chemical in that lab.

SOPs must be developed for especially hazardous procedures, including working with:

  • pyrophorics
  • hydrofluoric acid
  • carcinogens
  • reproductive toxins, and
  • acute toxins with a high degree of toxicity (e.g., poisons).  

EH&S has developed a Guidance Document [pdf] for developing chemical SOPs that includes links to a list of many chemicals in each of these hazard classes.  

A single SOP for each hazard class in a research laboratory is sufficient. Template documents for SOPs for each of these groups of chemicals, and more information on chemical SOPs is available in the “Chemical & Laboratory Safety” section of the Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) Lab Safety webpage.

If you would like additional support in developing an SOP, please contact the CoS Safety Office

Chemical Safety Training Requirements: The CoS Safety Office provides a CoS Chemical Safety Training for TAs, students and research personnel in all research laboratories that use chemicals. Students must review the CoS Chemical Safety Training slides. Students in Chemistry Department research laboratories must take a chemical safety quiz from the CoS Safety Office, and training records are available from the CoS Safety Team. Chemistry Department research students can request to take the quiz using this form. Please contact Kitty Nguyen at ngoc-huong.nguyen@sjsu.edu in the CoS Safety Office with any questions. Students in any other department in the CoS document their training by signing a signature page in the Laboratory Safety Binder (see below). 

Research laboratory-specific training by the PI must include: 

  1. A lab orientation to familiarize the new researcher with the available safety controls and lab safety rules or work practices
  2. Training on all laboratory-specific Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) relevant to their assigned research tasks or workspaces (see above for submission details)
  3. Management of hazardous waste stream: Chemical waste should be collected in containers with appropriate chemical waste labels that are supplied by the CoS Safety Team. When a chemical waste container is ready to be picked up, email randy.kirchner@sjsu.edu, michael.p.walsh@sjsu.edu or ngoc-huong.nguyen@sjsu.edu and they will arrange a time to collect the waste and leave you with a new empty waste container.
  4. Chemical ordering and barcoding information: All chemical orders in the College of Science for San Jose campus must be delivered to the CoS Safety Team. When ordering chemicals, give the following shipping address: 

      Attn: PI’s name, DH 435 
      129 S. 10th Street
      San Jose, CA 95112-3619

The CoS Safety Team barcodes all chemicals that are received and delivers them to research laboratories. When a chemical container is empty, remove the barcoded label from the container and place it on the laminated sheet in the chemical container collection bucket, which is provided by the CoS Safety Team to each laboratory. Then place the empty chemical container in the bucket. If you accidentally receive any chemicals directly, please contact the CoS Safety Team so that they can pick up the chemical to barcode it and return it to you.
      
An awareness-level training for students and research personnel in research laboratories may be developed by instructors, course coordinators or PIs for student researchers and laboratory personnel who will not themselves conduct hazardous procedures, but will work in a laboratory where hazardous procedures are conducted. This training must also be documented (see below).

For teaching laboratories (e.g., general or organic chemistry lab), the specific hazards of chemicals to be used by students shall be discussed on a day-to-day basis. This discussion shall include the proper safety controls (e.g., engineering controls, work practices) and personal protective equipment used to prevent exposure and proper management of hazardous wastes generated.

Chemical Safety Documentation: For research laboratories, the following documentation must be included in the Laboratory Safety Binder:

  1. The CoS Chemical Safety Training slides must be printed out with a signature page that student researchers and laboratory personnel must sign and date indicating that they have read and understand the information.  For laboratories in the Chemistry Department, training records are also maintained electronically by the CoS Safety Office and the Chemistry Department Office. To obtain the CoS Chemical Safety Training slides, please contact Kitty at ngoc-huong.nguyen@sjsu.edu.
  2. SOPs for each class of hazardous chemicals (above) must be printed and included in the Laboratory Safety Binder, and student researchers and laboratory personnel must sign and date a signature page indicating that they have read and understand the information in the SOP.  The SOP and signature page must be included in the Safety Training Binder. 
  3. If an alternate awareness training is developed for student researchers and laboratory personnel who will not themselves conduct hazardous procedures, but will work in a laboratory where hazardous procedures are conducted, this awareness training must be documented by printing out slides or bullet-points outlining the awareness training, followed by a signature page that student researchers and laboratory personnel must sign and date to indicate that they have read and understand the training. The printed out training slides or bullet-points and the signature page must be included in the Laboratory Safety Binder.

Laser Safety in Teaching and Research Laboratories

Laser Safety Training Requirements: All students and laboratory personnel in rooms with Class 3B or 4 lasers or laser systems (exception: permanent Class 1 systems containing a Class 3B or 4 laser) must receive laser safety training. 

As per the SJSU Laser Safety Plan [pdf], laser training at SJSU consists of two parts:

  1. General laser safety training is available online through CSULearn (Course title: Fundamentals of Laser Safety). Instructors, course coordinators or PIs can also generate their own general laser safety training.
  2. Lab and laser-specific training must be developed by instructors, course coordinators or PIs for the lasers that are in their work area. Written Standard Operating Procedures make excellent training tools, especially as a guide for hands-on training. A Laser SOP Template is available on the EH&S Lab Safety webpage under “Laser Safety”. Laser training slides or bullet-points of text are also acceptable.  
  1. For all individuals working in the laser laboratory: The lab and laser-specific training shall incorporate beam and non-beam hazards, safety precautions associated with each laser, and the proper use of protective eyewear.
  2. For those individuals operating the lasers or laser systems: Specific hands-on instruction in the use of each laser or laser system.

Laser Training Documentation: The following documentation of both general and lab and laser-specific training must be included in the Safety Training Binder:
1. For general laser training, either:

  1. Training certificates for each student or research personnel from an online course, such as “Fundamentals of Laser Safety” through CSULearn, or
  2. Printed out slides and/or text bullet-points outlining the general laser-safety training, followed by a signature page that student researchers and laboratory personnel must sign and date to indicate that they have read and understand the safety training. 

2.  Lab and laser-specific training, either:

  1. SOP(s) must be printed and students and laboratory personnel must sign and date a signature page indicating that they have read and understand the information in the SOP, or
  2. Slides or bullet points of the instructor, course coordinator or PI-provided training and an accompanying signature page that students and laboratory personnel must sign and date to indicate that they understand the information in the training. 

Power Tool Safety in Teaching and Research Laboratories and Workshops

Power Tool Safety Training Requirement: Training on the power tools must be developed by instructors, course coordinators or PIs for the power tools that are in their work area. This training should include a review of the safety manual for each piece of equipment being used. The Hand and Power Tool Training on CSU Learn can also be used for general training.

Power Tool Training Documentation: Documentation of safety training must be included in the Safety Training binder.  It should consist of printed out slides and/or text bullet-points outlining the power tool safety training, followed by a signature page that the person who provided the training and student researchers and laboratory personnel who received the training must sign and date to indicate that they have read and understand the safety training. The trainer can initial by each trainee’s signature. A printout of the certificate of completion from the CSU Learn Hand and Power Tool Training can also be included.

Other Safety

For techniques that are outside the scope of what is described above, please contact randy.kirchner@sjsu.edu for referral to the appropriate resource.