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4301.1 Prohibited Materials and Equipment When Working Alone
4301.2 Lab-Specific Working Alone Protocols
4301.4 Yale Undergraduate Students and Visiting Undergraduate Students in Laboratories
This policy applies to all individuals performing research activities in a Laboratory at Yale University, referred to as “Laboratory Members” in this policy.
For the safety of those individuals working in Laboratories at Yale, Laboratory Members must adhere to the standards articulated in this policy and any more restrictive protocols appropriately established by the cognizant Principal Investigator.
Laboratory research often involves Working Alone during Non-Standard Hours. If an individual is severely injured while Working Alone, they may be unable to call for emergency assistance. To mitigate this risk, this policy sets standards for Working Alone in Laboratories and provides information that defines materials and equipment that may not be used when Working Alone.
Standards for Minors are addressed in Minors Participating in Research or Clinical Activities.
Standards for visiting Undergraduates are addressed in Visiting Undergraduates Participating in Research or Clinical Activities.
A mechanism for regular, routine checks on individuals Working Alone, by a designated colleague remaining physically present or entering the room where the Laboratory worker is located.
Occurs when the Principal Investigator, or trained Laboratory Member designated by the PI, is physically present in the Laboratory.
A room or facility in which research involving the use of equipment or materials, some that may present hazards, is conducted.
All individuals performing research activities in a laboratory space. This includes, but is not limited to, Principal Investigators, other faculty, staff, postdoctoral/postgraduate appointees, graduate students, Undergraduate students, and visitors.
Individuals under the age of 18 years.
Days and times outside of regular business hours when others may not be present and emergency response may be delayed. Standard business hours typically are Monday – Friday, 8:30am-5:00pm. University holidays and recess periods would be considered Non-Standard Hours under this policy.
Principal Investigator (“PI”)
Typically, an individual with a faculty appointment who is responsible for the safety and compliance in their Laboratory.
Students enrolled in Yale College.
Visiting Graduate Students
Students who are currently enrolled in a graduate program at another university and are at Yale to pursue research for their dissertation. Those students who are registered through Banner have the title of Visiting Assistant in Research (“VAR”).
Undergraduate students 18 years of age or older who are currently enrolled in an accredited degree-granting institution other than Yale.
Occurs when a researcher is out of the line of sight or is otherwise unable to communicate with another person who can assist in the event of an emergency.
Individuals may not Work Alone in a Laboratory with the following high hazard materials, equipment, or perform certain activities:
Please see Appendix A: Prohibited Materials and Equipment When Working Alone in Laboratories for additional information and examples of materials and equipment prohibited from use when Working Alone.
PIs must be aware of and understand the risks associated with materials and equipment in their Laboratories. If they allow Laboratory Members to Work Alone with materials or equipment that present risks to those individuals, the PI must create a documented protocol for Working Alone.
This protocol must, at a minimum, include the requirements of this University policy and should identify activities specific to their Laboratory. PIs are encouraged and authorized to develop protocols that set specific and more restrictive requirements than described in this policy for those individuals Working Alone in their individual Laboratories. The PI or their trained Laboratory representative should communicate their specific Laboratory’s protocol for Working Alone to all Laboratory Members.
Please see Procedure 4301 PR.01 Procedures for Principal Investigators on Establishing Working Alone Protocols for Their Laboratories.
Except for Yale College Undergraduates, Minors 16-17 years of age must be approved by Environmental Health and Safety (“EHS”) before being allowed to work in a Laboratory at Yale University. Minors must be under Direct Supervision by the PI, or trained Laboratory Members designated by the PI, at all times and must abide by Minors Participating in Research or Clinical Activities. Minors 15 years of age or younger are not permitted in Laboratories.
Visiting Undergraduates and Yale Undergraduates must always be under Direct Supervision by the PI, or trained Laboratory Members designated by the PI, when working with hazardous materials or equipment in a Laboratory.
See Visiting Undergraduates Participating in Research or Clinical Activities for additional information.
If, in an exceptional circumstance, a PI believes that it is necessary for an individual to Work Alone with a class of material or equipment defined in Section 4301.1, above, or Appendix A, below, they may petition EHS and the Laboratory Safety Committee for a policy exception. An exception must be requested and granted well in advance of the work. The PI must submit a plan to mitigate the risk with their request for the exception.
The request and accompanying plan will be reviewed by EHS and the Laboratory Safety Committee (“the Committee”). The PI will be notified by EHS of the Committee’s decision. Under no circumstances should the work proceed without explicit approval communicated by EHS.
Principal Investigator (“PI”)
Principal Investigators are responsible for:
Laboratory Members are responsible for:
Environmental Health and Safety (“EHS”)
EHS is responsible for:
Laboratory Safety Committee
The Laboratory Safety Committee is responsible for:
There are certain equipment and materials that pose such a significant risk that no Laboratory Member may Work Alone with these materials or equipment. (Note: see Special Situations & Exceptions for exceptional circumstances).
A. High-risk Biologicals – biological materials that pose significant risk to individuals, as determined by the University Biological safety Committee on a case-by-case basis.
B. Explosive Chemicals – chemical (solid or liquid) which is in itself capable by chemical reaction of producing gas at such a temperature and pressure and at such a speed as to cause damage to the surroundings.
C. Pyrophoric Chemicals – Chemicals that can ignite spontaneously on contact with air, moisture in the air, oxygen, or water.
D. Acutely Toxic Materials– Substances that can cause severe adverse effects following oral or dermal administration of a single dose of a substance, or an inhalation exposure of 4 hours, at very low doses (LD50 <50mg/kg oral, LD50 <200mg/kg dermal, LC50 <500ppm inhalation gas or odorless).
Examples – Gases:
Examples – Solids and Liquids:
E. Highly Corrosive Chemicals1 – these include strong acids and bases, dehydrating agents, and oxidizing agents. A chemical that produces irreversible damage to the skin or eyes following direct contact with the substance is considered corrosive.
F. Class 3+ tools in Laboratories – tools identified as class 3 or higher per the Student Shop Safety Policy. These include powerful portable and small benchtop tools, light industrial tools, and large industrial tools. See Classification System for Student Access Shops.
G. Highly Hazardous Equipment – equipment that pose inherent risk to the researcher
H. High Voltage Work – working directly on energized (i.e., live) systems greater than 50 volts, including repair, maintenance, troubleshooting, or testing of electrical circuits or components.
I. Certain Animal Work – handling of large or other animals which can cause serious injury, as determined on a case-by-case basis by the Yale Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (“IACUC”).
1. De minimis quantities of Highly Corrosive Chemicals (<1 ml) are exempt from this restriction, providing that appropriate PPE is worn, and SOPs are followed. Transferring from a larger container to create the de minimis quantity is prohibited when Working Alone.