Washington State University
Environmental Health & Safety Responsibilities


Consistent with University policy, responsibility for chemical hygiene and safety in the laboratory is shared by administrators, faculty, principal investigators, managers, supervisors, employees and students at all levels. Delegation of specific responsibilities are described below.

  • WSU Safety, Health and Security (SHS) Committees:
    • Are a network of Safety, Health and Security Committees organized into four levels. Together, the committees engage and coordinate WSU administrators, campuses, colleges, departments, programs, students, and employees to sustain and improve WSU’s commitment to safety and a culture that emphasizes safety.
  • Environmental Health & Safety:
    • Promotes programs which are needed for compliance with safety and health regulations and for the protection of the health and safety of employees, faculty, staff, students and the surrounding community.
    • Provides a University Lab Safety Program Manager, who assists department Chairpersons/Directors, Principal Investigators, Faculty and Laboratory Supervisors in the implementation and maintenance of the chemical hygiene plans designed for individual laboratories.
    • Cooperates with academic and service units by identifying health and safety hazards.
    • Evaluates and reports on the status of compliance with health and safety regulations.
    • Recommends and implements necessary modifications to the “generic” University Chemical Hygiene Plan/Laboratory Safety Manual.
    • Records, evaluates and reports laboratory accidents and laboratory incidents related to chemical exposure.
    • Develops and maintains training resources. Conducts training courses in general laboratory safety topics if requested. Online training resources are readily available to WSU employees and students and are encouraged to be used as the primary source of training.
  • The Department Chairperson or Director:
    • Is responsible for the safety of all employees, students and visitors in his/her areas of control.
    • Reviews the control methods used by the Principal Investigator or laboratory supervisor and ensures that required authorizations to use restricted or regulated hazardous chemicals are on file in the department.
    • Reviews all accident reports and ensures that appropriate corrections are made.
  • The Principal Investigator, Faculty or Laboratory Supervisor:
    • Is the Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO) for the laboratory. Enforces University laboratory safety rules and establishes specific procedures for the laboratory.
    • Trains employees and students in safety procedures, corrects improper work practices, identifies defective environmental conditions which could result in personal injury, and develops a positive attitude among employees toward accident prevention.
    • Prepares a Laboratory Specific Chemical Hygiene Plan keyed to the specific needs of each research and teaching activity under his or her direction. Trains laboratory personnel on the contents of the Chemical Hygiene Plan. Reviews and evaluates the Chemical Hygiene Plan at least annually and updates as necessary. Consults with the EHS Lab Safety Program Manager with questions, as needed, to ensure correct and adequate development of the plan.
    • Investigates and reports every accident (whether or not an injury occurs) and initiates corrective action that will ensure maximum safety for his or her employees.
  • The Employee or Student:
    • Knows and complies with safety guidelines and policies required for the task assigned.
    • Reports unsafe conditions to the Principal Investigator, faculty member, immediate supervisor, or the Environmental Health & Safety Department.
    • Utilizes fume hoods, laboratory safety devices and personal protective equipment properly as trained.