Laboratory Supervisor Responsibilities

UVM strives to promote research productivity and excellence in education. Laboratory Supervisors and Lab Safety Officers play a critical role in creating and maintaining a safety culture at UVM while ensuring their activities remain in compliance with all federal, state and local regulations. 

Laboratory Supervisor Responsibilities

Laboratory Audits (How to review or respond to an audit)

Laboratory Safety Officer (LSO) Role

Laboratory Safety Officer Meetings

Visiting Researchers and Students

Laboratory Supervisor Responsibilities

Supervisors are expected to:  

  • Set a standard for safe and professional behavior
  • Be a safety role model,
  • Provide safety oversight of day-to-day laboratory operations,
  • Incorporate safety discussions into lab group meetings for continuous improvement of best safety practices.


Supervisors are expected to participate in UVM's Laboratory Safety Program and provide a safe work environment for everyone within their area. While some safety tasks can be delegated to a Laboratory Safety Officer, the Laboratory Supervisor bears the ultimately responsibility for carrying out those tasks and ensuring safe laboratory conditions. UVM Risk Management & Safety is available to consult and  provide tools or resources to support safe laboratory work. 

The online lab safety training, entitled Laboratory Roles & Responsibilities, specifically addresses the roles and responsibilities of UVM Laboratory Supervisors. All Supervisors are required to complete this training in addition to the safety trainings shown on the Train and Inform Personnel page.

Laboratory Supervisor responsibilities include the following: 


Laboratory Audits

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Laboratory safety audits are conducted by the Risk Management & Safety staff on a routine basis. 

Only the Lab Supervisor can respond to a lab safety audit.

Safety deficiencies require corrective actions to be taken within 2 weeks of the audit. Items may be "reassigned" to a Lab Safety Officer, if appropriate. 

Lab Supervisors may request an extension.

To take any of these actions, login to Login directions are below.



Lab Supervisors must LOGIN to the LabCliq audit program to respond to safety deficiencies found during a lab safety audit. This documents that  "corrective actions" have been taken. You may also leave comments, if necessary.

Directions for logging in to

Directions for logging into to respond to your lab safety audit.

Have questions about your audit or a particular corrective action that needs to be taken in your lab? Contact your Lab Safety Coordinator


Lab Safety Officer Role

If you work in a lab with several members in the overall lab group, it makes sense to designate a Lab Safety Officer.  The lab safety officer is a part of the lab's quality team. Their role is to improve the lab's safety culture using education, training and coaching to reduce the number of incidents, injuries and biohazard or chemical spills. They liaison with Risk Management & Safety and coordinate annual refresher trainings as needed, orient new lab staff as they begin working and complete the required monthly self-inspections of the lab area(s). This frees up time for the Principal Investigator to continue focusing on getting grant funding and publishing to keep their research going. 

Specific duties of the LSO may include the following:

  • Oversight of University lab safety policies and procedures. Continuing staff education of these policies is also important as regular awareness always improves the level of safety culture.
  • Management of employee injuries and exposures. This would include following up with occurrences, looking at trends and making engineering or work practice control changes if necessary, and requesting exposure monitors for those who work with specific hazardous materials of concern.
  • Monthly lab safety inspections, including fire and electrical safety, ergonomics, chemical hygiene, general housekeeping, waste management, personal protective equipment, and infection prevention.
  • Making sure everyone in the lab has lab-specific training, emergency spill response training, fire extinguisher training, knows what to do in an evacuation or fire drill, and several other topics.


Often, these safety responsibilities are in addition to their normal bench duties.  LSO's assist in following up with audit deficiencies, incident follow-up and by acting as safety role models for other lab staff. Large labs might even designate a safety representative for each shift.


Lab Safety Officer Meetings

April 17, 2018

November 8, 2017
Presentation - general
Presentation - Protecting Research
Meeting Notes

October 4, 2016
Emergency Poster

April 26, 2016
Meeting Summary Notes

October 27, 2015

April 16, 2015
Presentation (does not include Thermo Fisher Centrifuge Safety Presentation)

October 8, 2014
Powerpoint Presentation (Including AirGas Presentation)

April 8, 2014

October 10, 2013
Meeting Summary Notes

April 17, 2013
Meeting Summary Notes

October 26, 2012
Meeting Summary Notes


Visiting Researchers and Students

UVM often hosts visiting researchers and students within our labs, especially during the summertime months.  There are a few actions required of lab supervisors to accommodate this: 

  • MOU:  All personnel working within UVM’s labs must be affiliated with UVM, either as employees, students enrolled in a class and/or degree program, or through a “Memorandum of Understanding.”  See UVM's Lab Safety Policy webpage for the “Visiting Worker MOU” (bottom of page under Forms/Guidelines).
  • Minors:  If the researcher is less than 18 years of age, then UVM’s policy for “Minors in Laboratories” applies.  A link to this policy, as well as the “Minors in Labs Permission Form” are also on UVM's Lab Safety Policy webpage.
  • Training:  UVM’s compliance with OSHA and EPA regulations is detailed within our Chemical Hygiene Plan, Environmental Management Plan and related trainings, even visiting lab workers must complete the trainings detailed on UVM's Laboratory Safety Training webpage.
  • Protocols:  Protocols approved through the RSC, IBC, IACUC and IRB do not automatically include changes in research personnel or in research spaces.  Lab Supervisors and visiting researchers may have protocols that need to be updated and reviewed to accommodate these changes.


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