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Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Research Lab Training

2 students in lab

New research students or employees will be required to complete a training checklist as prescribed by the professor responsible for the research. Students or employees, in general, who are working in graduate research laboratories will have safety training appropriate to the work to be accomplished and the hazards present.

Some safety training can be received in Earle Hall, through watching videos or training online. The ChBE Safety Technician can help students and workers find the appropriate training. The Information Manual for Chemical Engineering Graduate Students contains general safety regulations and training information.

Safety Training

All Clemson employees/students who work in research labs in Earle Hall must take the appropriate safety training and be oriented by the PI ("Principal Investigator," usually the professor in charge of research) responsible for the lab. (The only exceptions are custodial and facilities, maintenance staff.)

General Information

A file in the Chemical Engineering Office (123 Earle Hall) contains safety training records for each employee/student, grouped by PI. This file should not leave the office.

Questions and In-House Training: Employees/students with questions about safety training can contact the lab PI, the Departmental Safety Technician, or the Departmental Safety Coordinator.

Occupational and Environmental Safety (OES) Training: Clemson University has a Comprehensive Environmental Health and Safety Plan. This Plan has been approved by the Clemson University Administrative Council and applies to all Clemson University Faculty, Staff, and Students, as well as all activities carried out on Clemson property regardless of Clemson affiliation. All sections of the plan, including the chemical hygiene plan, can be found online at

EH&S training can be received in class form or on the Safety Programs site.


Departmental Safety Coordinator: The Safety Coordinator will supervise Safety Training issues and perform an accuracy audit of the file twice a year (July and October).

Departmental Safety Technician: The Safety Technician will assist the PIs and employees/students with Safety Training issues, assure the training records are in place and assist in the accuracy audit.

Departmental Student Services Administrator: The Administrator will provide training record forms for each new Employee/Student, keep the training file, and assist in the accuracy audit.

Principal Investigators (PI): The PIs are ultimately responsible for assuring the employees/students working in their research labs have the proper safety training. The PIs should determine which training is required and ensure that training is accomplished. PIs should give all new employees/students a lab-specific orientation, including safety concerns.

Employee/Student: The employee/student will receive the training and update the office file.

Training Orientation

To work in the ChBE labs at Clemson University, you must first complete and document the completion of the required safety training. This orientation will explain your safety responsibilities; outline what safety training is required, how to find it, and how to document your training properly.

  • Safety Responsibilities Overview


    Clemson University's Occupational and Environmental Safety (OES) department has the responsibility of providing overall guidance to the education departments in areas concerning safety. OES provides manuals and plans that meet governmental guidelines for research universities in the areas of safety, hazardous waste management, chemical inventories and storage, related training, safety inspections, etc. EHS is the department that collects and disposes of hazardous waste. You can find more information on the OES website. Contact information for each area of safety is provided.


    Dr. Bud Rice (656-5428,, 128 Earle) is the ChBE Faculty Safety Coordinator. Dr. Rice can help you with any questions about safety, safety procedures, or your safety-related responsibilities in the lab.

    The Safety Technician (ST) maintains the safety training file, will assist you in finding required training and can answer most safety-related questions. ST can also help you with labeling or hazardous waste pick-up issues, but they can not store hazardous waste. He also supervises the Chemical Storage Sheds, maintains the Hazardous Chemical Inventories, tests the Eyewash/Safety Shower stations, and is responsible for the placement and inspection of fire extinguishers. He is also responsible for moving compressed gas cylinders as needed if you need help.

    The person ultimately responsible for safety in the lab is the professor in charge of the operations of the lab. This faculty member may be called the PI (Principal Investigator), Advisor, or Supervisor. This is because the PI should be the most familiar with and have the most control over lab operations. The PI decides if additional safety training is required for some hazardous operations.

    Sometimes due to necessity, the PI will assign a designate, or a representative, for them in the lab. Usually, these designates are post-docs or senior researchers familiar with the day-to-day lab operations and safety requirements and procedures. All safety-related questions can and usually should be addressed by the PI or designated first.

    As a worker in the lab, you are responsible for getting the proper safety training, following established safety procedures, and calling to attention any violations or neglect of safety procedures you may find.

  • Safety Training Files

    Files of completed safety training are kept in G14 and maintained by the Safety Technician. Each PI has a folder, and each worker has a file. If a worker does not have a completed file, then safety training is not complete. The ChBE department has a policy that workers can not work in the labs without completing their safety training.

    Contents of the Worker Files

    Training record
    The cover sheet for your training file is the Training Record. It is divided into Personal, Departmental Training, EH&S training, and Final Approval sections. It is designed to be able to audit your safety training at a glance. Notice that several duplicate signatures must be given in order to complete this form.

    Personal: This section should be self-explanatory.

    - Compressed Gas Cylinder and Electrical Safety Videos: You must watch 2 short videos. The safety technician can help you with this.
    - The Chemical Hygiene Plan: You must read this EH&S publication and sign a statement to that effect. A copy of the signature page is attached to the file. The CHP can be found in the lab, or on the Chemical Hygiene page.
    - Safety Articles: You sign that you have read the magazine articles concerning safety. Copies of some articles not posted may be attached to the file.
    - Safety Checklist: This form, Attachment D, is attached to the file. It is your orientation into the lab from a safety perspective. It should be completed before your first day of work if at all possible, or at least the first day. Notice that you and the person doing the orientation must sign that every area is covered. When you are comfortable with the orientation you sign again, and the PI must sign as well, at the bottom. This assures the PI knows you have been properly oriented concerning the lab. Once completed, you and the safety technician sign again on the Training Record.

    This section covers training received by EH&S. You may attend training seminars held by EH&S, or you may find the training online at Clemson Research Safety

    The required EH&S training for all workers in the labs are Chemical Hygiene and Hazardous Waste Management. Additional training may be required by the PI.

    PI Notification:
    This is a notification to the PI that all training is complete. This is a good time to discuss with the PI any questions you have about your training or safety in general. The PI may require additional training as mentioned above. The signatures here should be the final signatures given in your training.

  • Safety Related Questions

    Principal Investigator

    All safety-related questions can and usually should be addressed by the PI or designated first. If, for some reason, the PI is not available, or you are not satisfied with an answer, then you can take the question or problem to the Safety Technician or the Faculty Safety Coordinator. The ChBE department chair would be next in line for notification. Under the unusual circumstance that a proper answer is not found within the department, then you should take your concern to the proper EHS contact person.

  • Other Relevant Topics

    Mercury or Other Residual Chemicals

    We have renovated most of the ChBE labs in recent years, and this process is ongoing. This has included a thorough cleaning of the labs to assure no residual chemicals remain from prior research. There is a slight possibility you may encounter mercury or other residual chemicals from prior lab use. If this unlikely event occurs, notify the Safety Technician as soon as possible so the chemicals can be cleaned up properly.

    Spills or Glass Breakage

    Please clean up spills and glass breakage using the proper procedure. In general, you will not be fired or dismissed for a spill or breakage. It is more likely for a worker to be dismissed for not following the proper procedure afterwards, than for the accident itself. Broken Glass containers and Sharps containers are located in each lab.

    Working Late and Working Alone

    Discuss these issues with the PI. Make sure you understand and follow the requirements set by the PI for each lab.

    Special Protocols

    Certain chemicals require special handling procedures or protocols due to the specific hazards they pose. Be sure you are familiar with the correct procedures for each chemical you use or are in use in the lab you work in.