Laboratory Safety Specialist

Job description

Hyde Park Campus

20100 BSD Academic Admin

About the Unit
The Biological Sciences Division (BSD) is the largest operating unit of the University of Chicago. It includes the Pritzker School of Medicine, approximately 20 academic units, degree-granting committees, and research centers and institutes. The BSD is located on the University's main campus in Hyde Park, ten minutes south of downtown Chicago. BSD's patient care operations are conducted primarily at the University of Chicago Medical Center and clinics, which share the same campus.

Job Information

Job Summary:

The Laboratory Safety Specialist for the Biological Sciences Division is responsible for managing and providing technical guidance, training, and inspective/risk analysis of the BSD to ensure a safe environment in which to facilitate research and the pursuit of academic excellence. Laboratory safety includes the delivery of safety services to all facilities involved in research for both laboratories and lab support areas in the BSD. Provides input into University-wide research safety standards, policies, and procedures as a key member of the research safety community in addition to providing input on the allocation of roles and responsibilities for research safety between the Office of Research Safety and the divisional Laboratory Safety Specialists. Works with BSD Deans and the Office of Research Safety (ORS) to develop and implement strategic initiatives to foster safety culture at all levels and all areas in BSD laboratory safety program The Laboratory Safety Specialist reports to the Biological Sciences Division Dean for Research and the Associate Vice-President for Research Safety. This position also works closely and in coordination with University Environmental Health and Safety, U Chicago Medicine Environmental Health and Safety, building managers and Facilities staff within the BSD.


  • Serves as the single point of contact for his/her assigned departments, Principal Investigators (PIs), and research teams on research safety issues.
  • Manages all research safety support, collaborating with the Office of Research Safety, Animal Resource Center, and University and/or U Chicago Medicine Environmental Health and Safety, as needed.
  • Collaborates with assigned PIs on a regular basis as a partner in addressing research safety needs, meeting as often as necessary to discuss research work performed, safety risks, training and safety material needs, and other measures to mitigate risk.
  • Provides research safety knowledge and support to assigned departments, PIs, and respective research teams with technical support and subject matter expertise from the Office of Research Safety.
  • Demonstrates a regular presence in the laboratories, building a strong partnership with assigned PIs and their research teams.
  • Works with research teams to develop systems and procedures for maintaining their laboratories' chemical inventory and monitor status of records.
  • Ensures compliance of laboratory safety equipment (e.g., fire extinguishers, eyewash stations, fume hood certifications).
  • Works with PIs to assess safety risk and develop appropriate safety controls for research experiments or procedures with significant safety risks with support from the Office of Research Safety.
  • With technical and subject matter expertise from the Office of Research Safety and Animal Resources Center veterinarians, provides support to PIs in developing Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) protocols.
  • Collaborates with PIs to determine research safety training needs and how they can be met by the Office of Research Safety offerings and assist the PI in determining training elements PIs need to provide via team-specific training.
  • Interfaces with University and U Chicago Medicine Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) to determine non-research specific training needs for the assigned laboratory areas and research teams and works with team members and the PI to ensure those requirements are met.
  • Conducts orientation training sessions with new PIs, ensuring they understand their research safety roles and responsibilities and how to acquire required support.
  • Works with the Office of Research Safety to monitor adherence to training requirements and inform PIs about non-compliance.
  • Works with PIs and departments to procure safety equipment and supplies (e.g., personal protective equipment, hazardous materials) for assigned research teams.
  • With lead support from and in collaboration with Research Safety Officers (e.g. Biological, Chemical, Radiation and Laser), conducts inspections of all research laboratories and lab support areas as determined by risk level for unsafe conditions and work practices, recommends corrective actions, and performs follow-up verification of deficiency correction status.
  • Assists and partners with the Office of Research Safety staff for laboratory safety inspections with a representative of the research team, ensuring adherence to government regulations and University and department/division standards, policies and procedures.
  • Collaborates with laboratory, ORS, EHS, and administrative personnel to perform laboratory safety incident investigations and monitors implementation of controls and corrective actions.
  • Serves on laboratory safety related committees and participates in departmental and campus-wide work groups to facilitate laboratory injury prevention, best practices, and lessons learned.
  • Identifies benchmarking metrics for laboratory safety and uses database technology and tracking systems to generate reports.
  • Participates as a member of the emergency response team and responds to hazardous material releases and serves in the appropriate response role based on training and expertise.
  • Develops recommendations to improve the overall laboratory safety management system including the tracking of chemical inventories, inspections, and laboratory assets.
  • Monitors compliance and provides information and data to both the Office of Research Safety and University and U Chicago Medicine Environmental Health and Safety in support of regulatory agency laboratory safety inspections.
  • Reviews assessments and assists faculty, administrative, and academic department staff in assessment of chemical hazards and personal protective equipment (PPE) needs for laboratory research operations.
  • Reviews and researches appropriate hazard control and mitigation strategies, including engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment, and supports faculty and research support staff in the implementation of these control strategies.

  • Knowledge of federal, state, and local environmental health and safety codes, regulations, and ordinances required.
  • Knowledge of basic principles of laboratory safety and chemical hazards required.
  • Must be detail oriented and able to prepare and evaluate documents (e.g. standard operating procedures-SOPs) and/or reports as necessary.
  • Ability to maintain professionalism, credibility and good service delivery practices when dealing with all contacts, internal and external, required.
  • Ability to remain calm and objective throughout stressful and unpleasant situations required.
  • Willingness and ability to make timely, sound decisions and accept concomitant responsibility required.
  • Ability to communicate effectively and consistently with others using tact when necessary required.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with the general public and members of the University community required.
  • Ability to work with people of various ages and backgrounds and with diverse constituencies, including students, parents, faculty, and staff in the University and the Medical Center required.
  • Ability and skill to build consensus and credibility across the campus required.
  • Ability to resolve conflicts and manage sensitive emergency situations appropriately required.
  • Demonstrated self-restraint in challenging and/or difficult situations required.
  • Ability to be on call and available to work nights/weekends/holidays as necessary required.
  • Ability to work in inclement weather or weather extremes required.
  • Ability to mentally and physically react effectively, quickly, calmly, and rationally during times of conflicts and emergencies required.
  • Proven ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of constituencies required.
  • High level of writing and presentation skills for both groups and one on one required.
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook required.
  • Ability to synthesize complex material to assist decision-making and to communicate priorities required.
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks and competing priorities simultaneously required.
  • Considerable skill in working both independently and as part of a team required.
  • Demonstrated outstanding written, verbal, analytical and interpersonal skills required.

Additional Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree in occupational safety, industrial hygiene, chemistry, engineering, or one of the life sciences
  • Master's degree preferred

  • Relevant certifications (i.e. Hazardous Materials Technician or higher classification, certified safety professional, certified industrial hygienist, safety management certificate, qualification in laboratory safety) preferred

  • Five or more years of experience in a laboratory or related industry (chemical manufacturing, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, research laboratory, etc.)
  • Experience in Chemical Hygiene/laboratory safety practices preferred

  • Capable of obtaining clearances for using respiratory protection necessary for HAZMAT response

Required Documents:
  • Cover Letter
  • Resume

Benefit Eligibility

Pay Frequency

Pay Range
Depends on Qualification

Scheduled Weekly Hours

Depends on Qualification

Job is Exempt?

Drug Test Required?

Does this position require incumbent to operate a vehicle on the job?

Health Screen Required?

Background Check Required?


Posting Date

Remove from Posting On or Before

Posting Statement:

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.

The University of Chicago's Annual Security & Fire Safety Report (Report) provides information about University offices and programs that provide safety support, crime and fire statistics, emergency response and communications plans, and other policies and information. The Report can be accessed online at: Paper copies of the Report are available, upon request, from the University of Chicago Police Department, 850 E. 61st Street, Chicago, IL 60637.

Full time

About Us
The University of Chicago is an urban research university that has driven new ways of thinking since 1890. Our commitment to free and open inquiry draws inspired scholars to our global campuses, where ideas are born that challenge and change the world.

We empower individuals to challenge conventional thinking in pursuit of original ideas. Students in the College develop critical, analytic, and writing skills in our rigorous, interdisciplinary core curriculum. Through graduate programs, students test their ideas with UChicago scholars, and become the next generation of leaders in academia, industry, nonprofits, and government.

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Job No:
Posted: 2/21/2018
Application Due: 4/22/2018
Work Type: