How to be a Lab Safety Buddy

Many lab activities are hazardous, some sufficiently so that someone should be watching and standing by in case of emergency. Understand how to be a such a bystander, a lab safety buddyby recognizing your role(s) and obtaining appropriate safety training. 

A lab safety buddy may have a range of roles depending on the lab work being performed and its hazards. In some cases, a buddy may only be expected to call his or her partner at set intervals to check in, but with more hazardous work, a buddy may need to be present in the lab. Safe experimentation requires that you and the lab partner you’re “buddy-ing” with establish clear roles and communicate effectively.  

Your principal investigator will decide exactly which work requires the buddy system, but you and your partner can apply it to more lab activities if you wish.  

In addition to having a clear understanding of the experiment or activity being done, you and your buddy must have the proper safety training to deal with the accompanying hazards and respond to any incidents. This includes contacting Security at 410-516-7777 for emergency response, properly evacuating an affected area, recording all information pertaining to the incident, and contacting Health, Safety, and Environment at 410-516-8798 before re-entering the lab. 

If you have any questions about lab safety buddies, contact Dr. Daniel Kuespert, Homewood Laboratory Safety Advocate, at [email protected].