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Research Smart Safety Coordinators

Safety Coordinators

Safety Coordinators are essential to the safety culture infrastructure at the University of Michigan. Individuals have been carefully selected by schools, colleges and department/unit leadership to fulfill this role, which is described in the Academic Laboratory and Research Safety Policy, and below.  Local safety committees and the research community will rely on Safety Coordinators as a foundational resource. 

Safety Coordinators have the following responsibilities

  • Act as safety liaison between the academic or research operations and EHS, and assume the authority delegated by the dean or chair to dealwith safety or environmental issues that arise during research operations.
  • Disseminate all safety and environmental information to appropriate personnel in the department. This may be educational material, posters, signage, or specific changes in safety or environmental rules or practices.
  • Perform periodic walk-throughs of academic laboratory and research areas to identify safety or environmental issues that require mitigation or reporting to EHS.
  • Work with academic or research faculty and staff in resolving questions or raising concerns to appropriate authorities.
  • Notify both the unit safety committee and EHS of potential safety hazards, exposures, accidents, injuries, illnesses, spills, releases, near misses, or other regulatory and environmental issues.
  • Attend the annual EHS training program for Safety Coordinators and any other training recommended by EHS or safety oversight committees.
  • Respond in a timely manner to all reports of failures of individuals to adhere to safety or regulatory requirements.

Special programming is being developed for Safety Coordinators. Information about these programs and other Safety Coordinator resources will be displayed on this webpage. If you want to be involved or have questions, find out more by contacting your Safety Committee chair.



Safety Coordinator Training (Training, Bootcamp, and Refreshers)

Safety Coordinators play an extremely important role in supporting a culture of safety within the research and academic communities they serve. 

To support you in this role, the University of Michigan Laboratory and Research Safety Committee (LRSC) and the Department of Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) organize regular training, the Safety Coordinator Training/Bootcamps Series (New and Refresher Training).

The Safety Coordinator Training program connects safety goals identified by units with learning modules and practical exercises.  Future trainings will be posted here as times and dates are determined.



*****New resources are continually being posted check back frequently and ask questions!

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Presentations and resources

Safety Coordinator Roster & Table Notes


Table notes 


Resource Documents


  • Coffee & Conversation:  Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) has been partnering with different research departments on campus to host informal Q&A events.  We can come and answer any questions that you may have or consult on an EHS-related topic of your choice (e.g. commissioning & decommissioning process).  Would your department like to host an information session?  Please contact us to arrange a time and date.

  • Inaugural Safety Committee Summit (March 19, 2018) Palmer Commons

    • Purpose:

      As part of the Research Smart Initiative, the U-M Laboratory and Research Safety Committee (LRSC) and the unit safety committees are charged with responsibilities that help strengthen the culture of safety at UM.  The Research Safety Committee Summit is intended to be an annual communication forum bringing together members of all the research safety committees at U-M to discuss ways to help each other fulfill those responsibilities. 

      The Summit will provide a chance for participants to share best practices, discuss expectations for unit safety committees, and provide feedback on the current focus and future goals of the Research Smart Initiative.  Details of unit-level participation will be announced in future correspondences.


      Programs:  Available upon request

  • Safety Coordinator Bootcamp New Training and Refresher Training

    • Program Overview: The Safety Coordinator Bootcamp is a one-day program that connects safety goals identified by units with learning modules and practical exercises.  Bootcamps are offered for Safety Coordinators designated through their Units/Departments/Safety Committees.  Participants will examine the roles and responsibilities of a Safety Coordinator, discuss challenges and explore problem-solving measures and learn specific activities for Safety Coordinators that are central to maintaining a vital safety program in their unit.

    • Programs:  Available upon request




U-M Laboratory Safety Survey Results



Yiqing Liu, Research Laboratory Specialist Associate, Pediatrics-Neurology, Medical School. I have been working with Dr. Barks at the Department of Pediatrics for 20 years. My official title is Research Laboratory Specialist Associate. In our Lab, we performed the hypoxia-ischemia in rat or mouse pups (neonatal) and tried to find new method or medicine to protect baby’s brain from injury caused by hypoxia-ischemia. When working in the research Lab, the Laboratory safety means life or death to me and others. Since there are many harmful chemicals and biohazards in the Lab. Some are carcinogens; some can cause damage to our eyes, liver, lung etc. I always handle the harmful chemicals and biohazards very carefully in the fume hoods.  I collect all of the harmful wastes and biohazards and send them either to EHS or to designated area. To me, the phrase ‘safe research is smart research’ means that we have responsibility to ‘ Protect ourselves, others  and our environments.’ This protect action starts from me.

Caroline Foster, BA, RALAT, Research Lab Specialist Associate, Internal Med-Hematology/Oncology.  I am a retired veterinary technician, turned cancer research lab specialist.  I am involved in setting up different tumor model cell lines in the lab and subsequently testing various classes of compounds in the treatment of cancers including leukemia, prostate and mammary cancer in  animals (in-vivo). Absorption, toxicity, tumor regression  and pharmacological effects are studied with the goal of eventually having these compounds approved for human cancer treatment. Because I am involved with translational research it is of vital importance to take advantage of safe research practices and to take all of our required training seriously. Research often entails experimenting without knowing the potential outcome or hazards that could be involved.  Because there are so many factors of every study that is not within our control and researchers are trying to find new answers, having safe research protocols and habits is just Smart Research!!

Donald Swiderski, Research Laboratory Specialist Intermediate and Adjunct Assistant Research Scientist, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.  In the lab of Dr. Y. Raphael at the Kresge Hearing Research Institute, we focus on the protection, repair and regeneration of sensory cells and neurons in the inner ear, exploring new ways to treat loss of hearing and balance.  We are working to develop new therapies, using both gene therapy and pharmacological approaches.  We are also exploring ways to improve the health the neurons that survive in the deaf cochlea in order to improve cochlear implant function."What researching safely means to me?" -  Not having to explain the bald patches in my beard.  More seriously, safe research means attentiveness to detail, which includes exercising appropriate caution when handling instruments, reagents and research animals. 

Danielle Richards, PhD Candidate, Singh Laboratory, Chemical Engineering. Chemical Engineering Ph.D. Candidate. Excess aqueous nitrate species deposited from human activities have detrimental effects on the environment and the health and well-being of surrounding communities. My research efforts are centered on the development and optimization of stable and active electrocatalysts for the denitrification of wastewater (i.e. nitrate reduction). Researching safely means being able to explore new frontiers while also being confident in your research safety practices!

Jacob Lampen, Graduate Student Research Assistant, LSA Physics. My research is on topics related to atomic physics and quantum information in neutral atoms.  "Safe Research is Smart Research" to me means that by protecting those that do the experiments you can improve the long term productivity of the resaerch group.