Laboratory Safety Programs at The University of Texas at Dallas are dedicated to addressing the primary hazards (general, biological, chemical, and radiological safety concerns) commonly found in research and academic laboratories at UTD. The specific aim of the University’s laboratory safety programs are to minimize the risks of personnel and organisms involved in laboratory activities.

Guidelines for research and academic safety and exposure to hazardous chemicals and/or materials in laboratories are included in the Texas Hazard Communication Act. Although the OSHA laboratory standard 29 CFR 1910.1450 is not federally mandated for State-funded facilities, UTD uses this standard to guide its safety programs.

General Safety

As a minimum worker protection foundation, the University follows OSHA standards and federal guidelines for safe operations. The University’s Safety programs set forth those procedures which are deemed “best” safety practices, and provides guidelines for the use and implementation of safety controls common to all laboratory operations. The Safety team also supports special circumstances, including equipment moves, laboratory closeout, and laboratory relocation, which can present unusual hazards and challenges.

Your Healthy Workplace

Configuring your academic, administrative, and laboratory workspaces in a way that supports excellent, innovative education and research can be a challenge.  The University is committed to providing you with tools to successfully protect the health of each member of our UT Dallas community in every work environment. 

The Industrial Hygiene program is concentrated on the science of anticipating, recognizing, evaluating and controlling workplace conditions that may cause injury or illness. This program promotes collaboration to achieve healthier workplaces.  The Safety team assists with ergonomic design, ventilation evaluations, chemical inventory management, exposure sampling, PPE hazard assessments, and compliance with respirator selection procedures.

Biological Safety

The Biological Safety Program focuses on minimizing risk to any laboratory personnel that works directly or indirectly with biohazardous materials. Examples of biohazardous materials may include pathogenic microorganisms, biological toxins, certain types of viral vectors, etc. Our team works hard to identify any biohazardous risks that are potentially harmful to laboratory personnel and may interfere with research.

UTD’s Biosafety Program promotes the safe use of biohazardous materials in the University’s research laboratories. UTD has established an Institutional Biosafety and Chemical Safety Committee to assist in providing guidelines and polices for biological safety to ensure that laboratory personnel are trained in the hazards and safe handling procedures of biological agents.

Chemical Safety

Chemicals and/or hazardous materials play an important and essential role in both research and teaching operations at the University of Texas at Dallas. The Chemical Safety Program establishes policies, procedures, and training for the safe acquisition, use, storage, and disposal of chemicals and hazardous materials on campus. The Chemical Safety Program provides information useful in the recognition, evaluation, and control of workplace hazards and environmental factors existing within and/or associated with the laboratories of the University.

Hazardous Waste

The Office of Research Safety Team is responsible for the collection and proper disposal of chemical waste, biohazardous waste, batteries, and other hazardous materials used and/or produced in the labs at UTD.  The University’s Hazardous Waste Management Program must comply with all “General Facility Standards”, State, and Federal regulations.

Radiation Safety

The purpose of the University’s Radiation Safety Program is to provide consultation and guidance to ensure a safe working environment. Radiation policies and procedures are in place to maintain compliance with the Texas Regulations for Control of Radiation and the University’s Radioactive Materials License, and to ensure the protection of all personnel. These procedures include guidance for keeping personal exposure to radiation AS LOW AS REASONABLY ACHIEVABLE (ALARA), wearing personnel dosimeters when deemed necessary by the Radiation Safety Office, and utilizing all appropriate protective measures.

Laser Safety

The University has established a Laser Safety Program to:

  • Provide controls and safety guidance to relevant research and educational activities involving lasers; and
  • Meet the requirements of state (25 Texas Administrative Code 289.301) and federal guidelines.

The Laser Safety Program covers work with Class II, III, and IV lasers. Individuals working with such lasers must attend training which includes: fundamentals of laser operation, biological effects of laser radiation on the eye and skin, non-radiation hazards (e.g., fire hazards, chemical exposure), classification of lasers and laser systems, control measures, and personal protective equipment. Class IIIb and IV lasers must be registered with the University.

Teaching Labs

Those working and learning in the teaching labs and experiential learning spaces (academic laboratories, workshops, studios, and machine shops) are exposed to many hazards. The Safety Program for Teaching Labs provides guidelines and support to mitigate the hazards to the students, teaching/research assistants, lecturers, faculty, and staff associated with the teaching labs at UTD.

For a more in-depth description of UTD’s safety programs, please select the provided link(s) and/or contact a member of the Safety Team.