Several resources and strategies have been developed to support students, faculty, and academic staff to start and maintain a student-led lab safety teams within academic institutions.
Are you ready to start an LST at your school or institution? Read these articles to learn more about establishing an LST:
Steps to Starting a Student-led LST
- Identify a substantial number of motivated researchers who are interested in enhancing the laboratory safety of their department or institution.
- Discover a champion who will remain committed to the institution for an extended period of time. Champion could be a department chair, faculty member or EH&S staff member.
- Locate internal and external resources to get access to funding and other resources to pursue your nitiatives.
- Register your student organization within your institution
- (Recommended) Register your student organization as an ACS Graduate Student Organization.
Tips for Maintaining a Student-led LST
- Establish a project management structure
- Engage in initial projects that have high visibility but require minimal resources
- Connect to the LST Community
Find a Lab Safety Team in your state or region:
The ACS CHAS Peer-led Workshops, the LST workshop and the RAMP workshop, are run by graduate student volunteers. These workshops provide a platform for graduate students, undergraduate students, safety professionals and faculty from different institutions to learn about the value of risk assessment and share best practices for LSTs. Learn more about the history of the Peer-led workshops.
This workshop, led by graduate students - attended by graduate students, undergraduate students, safety professionals, and faculty—is focused on promoting bottom-up approaches through LSTs to safety culture in academic labs.
RAMP in the Research Lab Workshop
This 3-hour workshop, led by graduate student researchers with significant lab safety experience - attended by graduate students, undergraduate students, safety professionals, and faculty— is focused on educating about the value of risk assessment
LST Quick Connections
A semesterly event, organized by the ACS DCHAS, to bring LST leaders and members together to share best practices for team growth and network. LST Quick Connections events create open dialogues with current LST leaders and supportive mentors (former LST leaders, LST champions, and passionate individuals who can offer guidance for teams) with the intention of forming and strengthening mentorship connections within the LST network.
History of the Lab Safety Team Movement
In 2012, a collaboration between the University of Minnesota's Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, along with the DOW Chemical Company, initiated what is commonly known as the "LST movement". The initiative focuses on empowering graduate students and postdoctoral associate Laboratory Safety Officers (LSOs) to take on leadership roles in order to enhance the overall safety culture in labs. This effort aims to supplement and complement the existing safety measures implemented by faculty and administrators.
ExxonMobil PALS (Partners in Academic Laboratory Safety), established in 2013, has been actively involved in advancing the LST movement by fostering safety skills among aspiring researchers and bridging the gap between academic and industry laboratories. Additionally, The American Chemical Society (ACS) has contributed to the growth of this movement by organizing workshops and highlighting the significance of safety leadership in the professional development of chemistry students.
Publications & Articles
- Starting and Sustaining a Laboratory Safety Team
- The Joint Safety Team at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities: A Model for Student-Led Safety
- Building a Sustainable Student-Led Model To Promote Research Safety in Academic Laboratories
- Lessons Learned from the Creation and Development of a Researcher-Led Safety Organization at The University of Chicago
- Improving the Academic Safety Culture: The Place of Lab Safety Teams