Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Ensuring the safety of all employees, students, and visitors at ABI is a top priority of ASU and the ABI management. In addition, successfully meeting all federal, state and University requirements for safety and regulatory compliance is absolutely critical for maintaining our ability to perform research in ABI.

Safety is Important

All researchers within ABI need to be fully aware that ABI and ASU can be banned from doing certain kinds of research, deemed ineligible for federal grant funding, or even “shut down” based on non-compliance with regulatory requirements. Thus, it is paramount that everyone working in ABI understands the policies, receives appropriate training, knows their responsibilities with respect safety, building security, and compliance, and follows the guidelines ensuring safety, good laboratory practices, and good stewardship of regulated material. It should be understood that “ignorance” of safety, security, and regulatory policy is not an excuse and that consequences could include being dismissed from a project, banned from ABI, or dismissed from the University.

All researchers are reminded that there are special policies and regulations regarding:

  • Disposal of toxic wastes (Health and Safety)
  • Experimentation involving radioisotopes (Health and Safety)
  • Research involving human subjects (IRB approval required)
  • Research involving laboratory animals (IACUC approval required)
  • Research involving recombinant DNA and transgenic plants (IBC approval required)
  • Research involving CDC-designated select agents or toxins (Health & Safety, IBC)
  • Handling and disposal of human tissues or samples
  • Materials that can be brought into ABI or removed from ABI
  • ABI building security and access

Descriptions of policies, training requirements, information on website training modules, forms for documenting training requirement and completion, and other relevant information are included within this safety manual and the ASU website supporting ASU’s safety and regulatory compliance. Additional “lab-specific” training is also required which includes the location of safety equipment (e.g., eye-wash, fire extinguishers, safety shower), first-aid supplies, and MSDS information: policies and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for use, storage, labeling, and disposal of regulated materials; and training on the operation of selected laboratory equipment.

We all benefit from maintaining a safe and supportive work and research environment. This includes being responsible and considerate. For example:

  • Do not use equipment or supplies without permission and appropriate training
  • Use the sign-out sheets
  • Report problems or concerns immediately
  • Question people you do not recognize or who appear to be doing something unsafe, unethical, or inconsiderate or bring the concern to your supervisor
  • Take responsibility! If you break it or find something broken, report it
  • Follow the security rules; sign-in visitors
  • The success of many of the ABI research groups is dependent on maintaining sterile cultures – do not bring contaminated or “environmental” samples into the building. Dispose of all cultures in a timely way as appropriate and bring concerns regarding potential contamination or disposal to your supervisor
  • Likewise, materials that leave the building must comply with all disposal, safety, transport and regulatory policies. If you are unsure – ask! 
  • Clean-up after yourself, especially when you are using common or multi-user equipment or spaces
  • Do not leave your “stuff” in common or multi-user areas. For example, remove your materials from autoclaves and dishwashers promptly!
  • Respect and follow reagent labeling practices (content, date, name, hazard sticker if necessary) and bring concern about non-compliance to your supervisor

ABI is an exceptional research environment that reflects excellent state-of-the-art facilities and instrumentation and a highly interactive multi-disciplinary team of researchers and support staff. It is all about teamwork, respect, supporting excellence, and making a difference. Please work with me to maintain a safe, secure, cooperative, and dynamic research environment.