CfA Safety: Principal Investigator's Responsibilities

Each Principal Investigator (P.I.) and supervisor is responsible for implementing an occupational safety and health program in his/her laboratory that is in compliance with OSHA, S. I. and Harvard safety standards. The P.I./supervisor shall:

  • Maintain a work environment that assures maximum health and safety;

  • Instruct employees, students, and visiting scientists as to specific standards, rules, and operating procedures related to their jobs and assure their observance;

  • Investigate and report any injuries and occupational illness promptly and take or recommend corrective action to prevent similar occurrences;

  • Assure the maintenance of an adequate self-auditing program;

  • Include safety and environmental performance as a significant factor in employee job review;

  • Consult with the CfA Safety Officer to identify the jobs for which the use of personal protective equipment is needed;

  • Comply with established standards, practices, and procedures as promulgated under the Occupational Safety and Health Act to protect the health and provide for the safety of employees;

  • Inspect laboratory premises under their jurisdiction to assure compliance with established standards;

  • Through the CfA Safety Office, arrange for evaluation of work conditions in light of present and future standards in order to eliminate areas of potential risk to employees;

  • Take prompt action to prevent, eliminate, or control potential hazards by applying necessary safeguards, training and other controls.

A P.I./supervisor shall conduct an accident investigation whenever an employee sustains an occupational injury or illness and shall fill out and return an accident report form (available from the Safety Office) with the employee.

Each supervisor of employees whose work involves possible exposure to radiation shall assure that these employees have available to them, are familiar with, and follow the regulations prescribed in the Harvard Radiation Safety Manual (60 Garden St.) or the CfA Radiation Safety Manual (CDP).

Each supervisor of employees whose work involves lasers shall:

  • Register all lasers with the CfA Safety Office;

  • Ensure that the engineering and/or administrative controls recommended by the S. I. Office of Environmental Management and Safety (OEMS) and the CfA Laser Safety Officer are in place during laser operation, maintenance and repair;

  • Ensure that warning and danger signs are posted in all areas required;

  • Inform the Safety Office of any operation or condition that appears to present a laser hazard to employees;

  • Ensure that employees are furnished with the proper eye protective equipment, and that the equipment is worn when needed;

  • Refer all personnel working with or around Class IIIa, IIIb or IV lasers for a medical examination (Harvard University Health Services) prior to their work with the laser(s) and following any suspected laser accidents. Medical examinations are available for employees working with lower class lasers, but are not required.

PI's/supervisors of labs containing hazardous chemicals have specific responsibilities under the OSHA Lab Standard (see Chemical Hygiene Responsibilities).


Section Photo