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Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Chemicals
FIGURE 1.1 Pattern of interactions through which laboratory safety can be arranged within an institution.
sense of teamwork for protection of themselves, their neighbors, and the wider community and environment. However, safety in the laboratory also depends on well-developed administrative structures and supports that extend beyond the laboratory's walls within the institution. There are many ways that the detailed organization for laboratory safety can be arranged. Within a business, academic, or governmental institution, organizations often involve interactions such as those shown in Figure 1.1.
The protection of health and maintenance of safety constitute a moral obligation shared by everyone. Federal, state, and local laws and regulations make safety a legal requirement and an economic necessity as well. Laboratory safety, therefore, is not a purely voluntary function; it requires mandatory safety rules and programs and a commitment to them. A sound safety organization that is respected by all requires the wholehearted participation of laboratory administrators, employees, and students.
The ultimate responsibility for safety within any institution lies with its chief executive officer or president. That individual must provide the leadership to ensure that an effective safety program is in place so that all institutional officials will demonstrate a sincere and continuing interest in the program. Even a well-conceived safety program is apt to be treated casually by the workers if it is neglected by top management. Initiative and support for good safety programs, like most other institutional plans, usually come from the top down.
Although the responsibility for safety in a department or other administrative unit lies with its director or chairperson, the responsibility for the delineation of the appropriate safety procedures and the instruction of those who will carry out the operation lie with the project manager or principal investigator. The responsibility for safety during the execution of an operation lies with those technicians, students, and other workers who actually perform that operation. Nevertheless, the primary responsibility for maintaining safe behavior in a safe laboratory environment remains with the project manager or principal investigator. Each institution should develop policies that