Laboratory Research

UC Merced offers students many opportunities to engage in laboratory research. In order to participate in research, certain safety guidelines must be followed to mitigate risks and promote individual growth. Once a student is accepted into a research laboratory, a series of steps shall be followed to meet all necessary guidelines.

The steps are outlined below.

What should I do once I am accepted into a laboratory to conduct research?

  1. Each incoming student shall complete all relevant safety trainings. Safety training registration is completed through the Learning Management System (LMS).
    • At a minimum, all laboratory personnel must complete the following:
      1. Laboratory Safety Fundamentals (offered as an online course through the LMS)
      2. Hazmat Spill Response (offered as an online course through the LMS)
      3. Fire Safety Training (offered as an in-person course only)
    • Additional courses, see examples below, might be required depending on the nature of the lab's research.
      1. Radiation safety (offered as an online course through the LMS): Required when lasers are present and used in the laboratory.
      2. Biosafety: Required for all personnel working in a BSL-2 lab or above
      3. Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP): Required for all personnel who work in a lab where blood and/or potentially infectious materials are present and contact with such materials may occur while working in the lab.
      4. Laser safety (offered as an online course through the LMS): Required for all personnel who work with lasers.
      5. Waste Management (offered as an online course through the LMS): At least one person from each lab should complete this training, but it is recommended for all lab members.
  2. Each incoming student shall be added by the principal investigator (PI) to the lab group's online Laboratory Hazard Assessment Tool (LHAT). Once added to LHAT, each student must complete an online training and quiz regarding the hazards present in the laboratory. This tool is used to determine the required personal protective equipment (PPE) that will be issued to each student by EH&S.
    • Each student must bring his or her PPE voucher (obtained after logging into LHAT and completing the brief online training) when receiving PPE from EH&S
    • For EH&S store hours, please see the PPE store web page.
  3. Students should request that their PI provide access to the lab space via CatCard.

What should I do if I observe unsafe practices or improper use and/or disposal of materials in the lab?

  1. If you feel comfortable, report the incident(s) to your PI.
  2. Contact EH&S to report a safety concern using our online web form (this can be done anonymously, but if you wish to receive feedback from EH&S, you will need to provide us with your contact information).

What do I do once I leave the lab?

  1. Return all EH&S-issued PPE to EH&S by following the procedures outlined below.
    • Lab coats: Use a black marker to deface or scratch out your name from the identification sticker on the lab coat and place the coat in your laundering drop-off location. Lab coats with scratched out names will automatically be retained by EH&S.
    • Safety goggles and glasses: Please drop these off at EH&S, located in Facilities Building B.
  2. Leave all research-related materials in the lab (such as lab notebooks, electronic copies of data and results, etc.) as these are property of the UC Regents.
  3. Ensure your PI has removed you from his or her lab group in LHAT once your PPE has been returned to EH&S, and that you no longer have access to the laboratory space via CatCard.