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Roles and Responsibilities

2.1 Principal Investigator

Research Compliance

Laboratory research compliance is required with university, state and federal policies regarding health and safety, and environmental quality.

If animals are involved in your research, compliance with IACUC regulations will be required.

If human subjects are involved in your research, compliance with IRB regulations will be required.

IBC Requirements also apply to research with biohazardous materials; these requirements include:

  • Submitting initial research protocol applications for IBC review and approval, including Risk Assessments for biohazardous agents/materials, and pertinent Standard Operating Procedures involving direct manipulation of biohazardous agents/materials.
  • Submitting amendments to approved protocols as changes occur over the course of a research project
  • Performing a self-inspection of your laboratory as part of your IBC annual review
  • Submitting protocol renewal applications every three years

Laboratory Safety Practices, Supplies, Equipment

  • Provide and maintain engineering controls, safety devices, etc. (e.g., handwashing facilities, needle safety devices, sharps containers, aerosol control, biosafety cabinets, PPE).
  • Provide/ see to the maintenance of lab equipment.
  • Be receptive to workers’ suggestions for safety devices/products or improved safety procedures.
  • Require that lab workers review with the PI any novel, untried, potentially hazardous procedures or innovations before trying them.

Personnel Supervision and Training

  • Take all safety training required of those who work in the PI’s laboratory.
  • If the PI so chooses, select a Laboratory Manager/Supervisor who can serve as the PI’s designee to be responsible for daily oversight of the lab and for specific areas of responsibility as agreed upon by PI and designee.
  • Directly provide/ensure the provision of lab-specific safety training, procedural training and awareness training for personnel.
  • Ensure that personnel have completed required training and stay current with their training.
  • Assess and endeavor to improve lab worker proficiency.
  • Enable the receipt of any required in-class training, Hepatitis B vaccinations, and other immunizations or occupational health services for lab workers during regular work hours.

Documentation

  • Ensure that lab workers complete and update medical surveys, when applicable.
  • Ensure that the LSBM for the lab is complete, current and accessible to lab workers.
  • Conduct an annual review of the LSBM, and reviewing it with lab workers annually and/or whenever changes are made.
  • Promptly report incidents, accidents, exposures and spills to EHS, and Human Resources if needed; document incidents, and maintain required records of incidents.

Lab Access and Safety for Non-Lab Workers

  • Coordinate with Housekeeping supervisor to determine housekeeper access and duties.
  • Determine visitor and service provider access to the lab, and escort practices for them while they are in the lab.
  • Ensure that visitors, housekeepers, and service providers receive pertinent information on lab hazards and safety practices according to the procedures documented in this manual.

 

2.2 Lab Managers And All Who Work In The Lab

  • Participate in all required training, and follow practices learned in training.
  • Adhere to Universal Precautions.
  • Read and understand the online UBM and your lab’s LSBM, and know the location of the LSBM in your lab or work area.
  • Follow all departmental and lab-specific safe work practices.
  • Review any novel, untried, potentially hazardous procedure or innovation with the PI before trying it.
  • Maintain clean and orderly work areas; clean up after yourself.
  • Maintain laboratory equipment according to routine practices that ensure safe operation.
  • Inform supervisors of problems with facilities, equipment, procedures, or coworkers.
  • Conduct interactions with coworkers in ways that promote lab safety and good work practices.
  • Report accidents, incidents, problems and near-misses to supervisors.
  • Take personal ownership for all aspects of safety in your work.
  • Follow security procedures for the laboratory, as designated by the PI.
  • Perform decontamination and containment practices.

Decontamination and containment practices include, but are not limited to:

  • Routine decontamination of work surfaces and equipment
  • Decontamination and clean-up of spills
  • Decontamination and/or disposal of contaminated PPE
  • Decontamination of lab equipment scheduled for repair or surplus
  • Appropriate handling of lab hazardous waste

 

2.3 Environmental Health and Safety

  • Provide biosafety-related information, guidance, consultation and assistance to the Virginia Tech research community.
  • Facilitate bioresearch compliance with federal, state and local regulations.
  • Perform biosafety lab inspections and general safety inspections for campus buildings.
  • Serve as liaison and advocate for research labs with regulatory agencies.
  • Provide biosafety-related training.
  • Package and ship all biohazardous materials being sent from Virginia Tech to national/ international destinations.
  • Collaborate with others at Virginia Tech to promote an integrated safety culture and safe working environment.

 

2.4 Institutional Biosafety Committee

  • Approve, disapprove or require modifications in these research protocols to ensure regulatory compliance with federal and state regulations.
  • Suspend or terminate ongoing protocols in which unacceptably hazardous activities involving biohazardous materials are taking place.
  • Provide regulatory/ biosafety oversight for activities conducted by Virginia Tech research/teaching endeavors using select materials.
  • Conduct reviews for compliance with the National Institutes of Health Guidelines, and grant approval for research and teaching proposals using the select materials.

The materials the Institutional Biosafety Committee provides oversight on includes:

  • Recombinant DNA and synthetic nucleic acids
  • Transgenic organisms
  • Artificial gene transfer
  • Infectious microbial agents
  • Human, NHP and mammalian blood, blood products, cells and unfixed tissue
  • Toxins of biological origin
  • Select agents and toxins
  • Prions
  • Dual-use technologies
  • Synthetic biology

 

2.5 Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

  • Review proposed uses of vertebrate animals in research, testing or education at Virginia Tech.
  • Approve, disapprove or require modifications in these research protocols to ensure regulatory compliance with federal and state regulations.
  • Suspend or terminate ongoing protocols in which inappropriate or unapproved activities involving animals are taking place.
  • Provide regulatory oversight for activities conducted in Virginia Tech research and teaching which utilizes vertebrate animals.

 

2.6 Institutional Review Board

  • Review research protocols which involve human subjects to ensure their rights, safety and privacy.
  • Approve, disapprove or require modifications in these research protocols to ensure regulatory compliance with federal and state regulations.
  • Suspend or terminate ongoing protocols in which inappropriate or unapproved activities involving human subjects are taking place.
  • Provide regulatory oversight for activities conducted in Virginia Tech research and teaching which involve human subjects.