Laboratory Compliance Enforcement

Policy Information
Policy TitleLaboratory Compliance Enforcement
Responsible OfficeEnvironmental Health and Safety (EH&S)
Policy TypeEnvironmental Health
Policy Number1017
Last Revision Date10/25/2023

Binghamton University is dedicated to providing a safe and healthy learning and working environment for all Binghamton University faculty, staff, and students.  To foster this goal the Office of Compliance and Risk Management and the Office of Environmental Health and Safety work diligently to maintain a high level of compliance with all laboratory safety requirements and regulations. Regular laboratory audits, training on safe laboratory practices, and appropriate inventory, labeling, handling, and disposal of all chemical is an integral part of this safety program.

Principal Investigators, faculty and laboratory supervisors are responsible for laboratory safety in their respective research or teaching laboratories.  Each individual associated with a laboratory is directly responsible for all of the activities outlined in University Health and Safety Polices, as found in the BU Management Policy and Procedure Manual.  These responsibilities include, but are not limited to, ensuring appropriate training for all staff and students working in the laboratory, appropriate handling and disposal of chemicals, maintaining current chemical inventories, appropriate handling of biological agents and recombinant DNA, using appropriate personal protective equipment, and complying with the BU Chemical Hygiene Plan, BU Laboratory Safety Manual, BU Biosafety Committee recommendations and OSHA/PESH, DEC, EPA, NIH and other Federal/State regulations. 

Unfortunately some laboratories engage in practices that are not safe even after being notified about these problems.  To help rectify these circumstances an enforcement policy has been developed jointly by the Divisions of Research, Academic Affairs, and Administration.  Consistent non-compliance in laboratory safety practices, in both teaching and research laboratories, is subject to some or all of the following penalties, depending on the severity of the infraction(s).

  • If laboratory non-compliance in chemical hygiene or biosafety causes a great enough safety concern/regulatory risk that staff from EH&S are required to correct the problem immediately, the department in question will be required to pay for the time spent by EH&S staff or any other cost to the University to correct the infractions.
  • If consistent non-compliance in a laboratory is noted upon external inspection, (Office of Fire Protection and Control, Public Employee Safety and Health, etc), or if negligent actions taken in a laboratory result in the University being assessed fines and penalties, those fines and penalties will be paid by the department.
  • Laboratories consistently out of compliance could have discretionary funding withheld by their departments.
  • As a last resort, Faculty/Staff/Students could potentially lose privileges for access to all laboratory space on campus, in the event of consistent, non-corrected lab safety issues.

Penalties would be assessed by the Vice President for Research or the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs (based on the type of laboratory in question — research or teaching) in conjunction with EH&S.  Initial or ‘non-chronic’ issues of non-compliance with chemical hygiene and safety requirements will continue to be dealt with in the same manner.  Faculty will be notified of the issue(s) by EH&S, and they will work together to correct the infractions.