Laboratory Assessment Tool

Laboratories are an integral part of Louisiana State University’s educational mission and provide valuable scientific and engineering research. Laboratories also present a variety of health and safety hazards that must be identified and controlled to minimize the risk of injury, illness or accidents.  To facilitate compliance with health and safety regulations and grant requirements the LSU Laboratory Assessment Tool (LAT) is an on-line questioner designed to identify potential hazards specific to the laboratory personnel present in research labs.  Recommendations for the necessary administrative and engineering controls are provided.  Also the personal protective equipment (PPE) required to eliminate or minimize potential exposures are defined.   It is a tool that will help define potential hazards and guide the principle investigator (PI) in the implementation of appropriate hazard control strategies.

The LAT is accessed through the PI’s account in the EHS Assistant.  The responsibility for completing the LAT generally lies with the PI.  If the PI assigns an alternate person to complete the LAT, it  is necessary to contact EHS to request security access for the alternate.  The LAT requires identification of lab space and lab personnel. Then a series of questions concerning potential hazards in the lab area are answered. The LAT automatically assigns the required on-line training to lab personnel based on the hazards in your lab.  A report is generated for review and after review; the PI certifies and submits the report to EHS.  EHS will review the report and either approves the LAT or request additional information. A completed LAT represents an update to the Lab’s operating permit.

The Laboratory Assessment Tool (LAT) is your laboratory-specific complement to the LSU Chemical Hygiene Plan.  A Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) is required per OSHA’s Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories standard (29 CFR 1910.1450) and LSU policy. The CHP provides essential information for prevention of potential exposures to hazardous materials and physical hazards in the laboratory. LSU has developed a Chemical Hygiene Plan to provide an overview of information about the use of hazardous materials in research laboratories, their hazards, warning signs, control measures, safety training to minimize exposure and waste management.

Another element of laboratory safety is Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).  The idea of Standard Operating Procedures is certainly not new and is a mandatory item in industry and private research. However, the academic world has been slow to embrace this requirement. Each lab needs to have Standard Operating Procedures that are clear, consist, and useful to lab personnel for training and safety purposes.  SOP’s may be developed according to a process or procedure, to classes of hazardous chemicals, individual hazardous chemicals, or any other reasonable approach that address health and safety concerns of an experimental protocol.

Completing the LAT is largely self-explanatory, however if you have any questions or comments, or require assistance, please do not hesitate to contact EH&S at 578-5640.  EHS suggests that each lab maintain a copy of the CHP, the LAT, and any applicable SOPs in each lab.