Chapter 4: Required Employee Training

Effective training is crucial to a successful laboratory safety program. Laboratory Supervisors must actively participate in the training process to ensure that all lab employees are effectively trained before any work with hazardous materials occurs. This chapter details the minimum training requirements for all Michigan Tech chemical laboratories

All training activities must be documented. Some general training requirements, such as Hazard Communication, General Safety Awareness, and Bloodborne Pathogen training, are available through a Michigan Tech on-line training course. There are additional topics in the on-line library that may also be relevant to a worker’s job responsibilities. Note that these courses are broad overviews and may require additional laboratory or task specific training. Additional departmental wide, laboratory-specific, and task specific training can be documented at the departmental level, laboratory level, or at the specific piece of equipment, as appropriate.

4.1 Safety Training

General hazard communication training is required for all individuals that handle or use chemicals as part of their work/research responsibilities. Training is available online by contacting your departmental safety liaison or safety coordinator.

Additional online training for general laboratory safety is available through DOW chemical’s Lab Safety Academy.

4.2 Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) training

All laboratory employees (graduate students, lab technicians/managers, postdocs, visiting scientists, etc.) must receive documented CHP training before working with hazardous materials. The laboratory supervisor (or Principle Investigator) is responsible for providing CHP training. Initial CHP training should include review of the following:

  • the lab-specific CHP, with emphasis on laboratory policies, procedures and responsibilities; 
  • lab-specific hazard assessments; 
  • lab-specific SOPs including chemical spill and lab emergency response procedures; 
  • chemical waste disposal;
  • proper use of lab equipment (e.g. chemical fume hoods, lab furnaces, vacuum pumps, eye washes, safety showers, etc);
  • other lab-specific protocols or requirements.

4.3 Annual CHP refresher requirements

After receiving the initial documented CHP training, all lab employees must receive annual CHP refresher training as well. This annual refresher training can be a condensed version of the initial CHP training, but should include review of the following elements:

  • lab-specific hazard assessments (review of PPE requirements);
  • lab-specific SOPs;
  • any additional lab-specific rules and requirements;
  • laboratory chemical spill and other emergency procedures.

4.4 PPE training

Laboratory supervisors must ensure that all employees receive PPE training before any work with hazardous materials occurs. This training must be documented in the relevant SOPs. Each lab employee must be trained to know at least the following:

  • when PPE is necessary and how to select it;
  • how to properly put on and remove, adjust, and wear PPE;
  • the limitations of the PPE;
  • the proper care, maintenance, storage, and useful life of PPE.

Everyone working in the laboratory must demonstrate an understanding of the training provided, and the ability to use the PPE properly, before performing any work that requires the use of PPE. Retraining is required if laboratory workers show a lack of understanding of the purpose or appropriate use of PPE (e.g., the worker is seen handling hazardous materials without wearing proper PPE).

4.5 Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) safety documents

The CHP focuses on work with hazardous chemicals in the laboratory. However, other common types of hazards are present in many research labs as well (e.g., biological hazards, lasers, etc.). EHS has developed various Safety Documents as a tool to assist researchers with compliance and training requirements for a broad range of common hazards and regulatory programs found in the laboratory.

Chapter 5