Approved: October 30, 2019

Boston University (BU) is committed to maintaining a healthy and safe environment for students, faculty, staff, patients, visitors and neighbors, and to fostering a culture of safety among users of all campus facilities.  Cultivating a safe working and learning environment is a shared responsibility that requires all individuals working in laboratories to recognize their obligation to be appropriately trained and to comply with University policies and procedures.

Scope of Committee Oversight

The Laboratory Safety Committee’s (LSCLaboratory Safety Committee) scope extends to all laboratories affiliated with, served by, owned or controlled by BU. This charter defines the LSC’s membership and responsibilities.

Committee Charge

The LSC’s primary goal shall be to provide a forum where discussion of laboratory safety issues, challenges, and initiatives can occur collaboratively among institutional representatives. Voting members shall have the appropriate expertise and authority to formulate and recommend institutional responses, policies, procedures, and programming that promote laboratory safety.

Responsibilities

The LSC is responsible for the oversight of laboratory activities and establishing appropriate health and safety policies and programming to comply with federal, state and local laws, regulations, and guidelines. The LSC will advise and collaborate with other standing committees, including but not limited to: the Radiation Safety Committee; the Institutional Biosafety Committee; the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee; the Scientific Diving Safety Committee; and the Clinical Labs Safety Committee. In recognition of the specialized jurisdictions of these other committees, the LSC aims to target overall safety and to develop its own focus on classes of hazards that are not specifically addressed by other committees (i.e., chemical safety). In cases where the jurisdictions of two committees overlap, the more stringent constraint applies. All matters regarding laboratory safety that are not under the purview of these other standing committees are directly overseen by the LSC.

In furtherance of its charge, the LSC has the following responsibilities: 

  • Serve as a resource in the development, implementation, and maintenance of a comprehensive laboratory safety program;
  • Review policies, guidelines and other programming related to laboratory safety;
  • Support the safe operation of covered laboratories through the development of safe practices; 
  • Review the Boston University Chemical Hygiene Plan, at least annually; 
  • Evaluate the use of highly hazardous chemicals and review and prescribe special requirements or Standard Operating Procedures regarding safe use;
  • Evaluate research laboratory use of unique or emerging hazards (i.e., nanomaterials) and field research, and recommend and review policies and programming to promote safe practices;
  • Evaluate the laboratory safety aspects of teaching labs, and recommend and develop educational, programmatic, or functional changes to promote safe practices;
  • Discuss institutional laboratory safety issues and incidents, and recommend and develop policy and programmatic changes to promote safe practices;
  • Discuss laboratory safety related changes in oversight, such as regulatory changes and other extra-institutional issues or incidents, and recommend and develop policy and programmatic changes to promote compliance and safe practices; and
  • Review the LSC’s Charter at least every three years.

Agendas, Minutes and Reports

The Chair(s), with assistance from the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) staff, shall be responsible for establishing the agenda for meetings. The agenda and relevant materials will be sent to LSC members at least five (5) business days in advance of the meeting. Minutes of all meetings shall be drafted by ORI staff and approved by committee members at the following meeting. The LSC will provide periodic reports to the Associate Vice President of Research Compliance (AVPRC) as requested, in a form and according to a schedule that meets with the AVPRC’s specifications. 

Membership

The LSC’s membership is comprised of faculty members and staff. The committee’s composition is intended to be representative of the laboratories within its scope of oversight and includes members representing BU and Boston Medical Center (BMC). Members are appointed by the AVPRC in consultation with leadership from BU and BMC. All members are appointed for two (2) year terms, with reappointments determined by the AVPRC. 

The Chair(s) will lead and facilitate discussion at the LSC meetings and coordinate the assignment of activities. The Chair(s) will coordinate with the Executive Director of Research Compliance to ensure that directives of the LSC are implemented. 

Members are expected to review all information provided prior to the meeting and attend all scheduled LSC meetings. A voting member unable to attend a LSC meeting may send a designee in his or her place, provided that the Chair(s) has been notified in writing in advance of the meeting. Each voting member is expected to serve on at least one subcommittee or contribute on one subtopic relevant to their expertise. Members should report laboratory safety issues and initiatives within their domain to the LSC, and should communicate LSC activities to other members of their departments. 

Meetings

The LSC shall meet at such times and with such frequency as it determines to be necessary or appropriate, or at the call of a Chair, but at least quarterly. 

The LSC will have the authority to establish subcommittees that will be charged with addressing particular laboratory safety related issues. The subcommittees will meet as needed and report back to the LSC at regularly scheduled meetings regarding progress on their specific charge. 

A quorum shall be a majority of voting members (fifty (50) percent plus one (1)).  Action of the LSC shall be taken by the vote of a majority of voting members present in any meeting at which a quorum is present.  Members may participate by remote means when necessary.