Online Laboratory Safety Training Hub Launched

Although it is currently focused on undergraduate colleges and universities in New Hampshire, free introductory safety training courses at LabSafetyWorkspace.org are open to researchers anywhere.

LabSafetyWorkspace.org, a new online laboratory safety training hub, has been launched by the New Hampshire IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (NH-INBRE), Dartmouth College Environmental Health & Safety, and BioRAFT. They announced it July 24, saying it was funded as part of a $15.4 million award in 2010 from the National Institutes of Health supporting biomedical research by faculty and students throughout New Hampshire and funding the formation of collaborative network of 10 colleges there.

The team created LabSafetyWorkspace.org to help student scientists and faculty work safely in a lab environment. It is currently focused on undergraduate colleges and universities in New Hampshire, but free introductory safety training courses at LabSafetyWorkplce.org are open to researchers anywhere.

"Prior to securing these grants, many of these schools were able to teach science at the classroom level, but now they can bring students into the laboratory to conduct research," said Chuck Wise, coordinator of NH-INBRE. "That has created an opportunity, but it also has created a liability: Many faculty and students have not had recent exposure to lab safety training."

Principal investigators at Dartmouth Medical School, one of the lead institutions for NH-INBRE, recognized the opportunity to create standardized curricula for lab safety and worked on it with Dr. Michael Blayney, EH&S director at Dartmouth College. "Safety training may or may not be mandatory at different institutions, so it's hard to gauge what students know coming into a lab. We wanted to create a way for not only New Hampshire students and faculty, but for anyone in the world to get access to best practices for basic lab safety training," Blayney said in a news release. "LabSafetyWorkspace.org creates a transferrable training record that can be validated by any institution, and levels the field by providing competency-based training."

NH-INBRE asked BioRAFT to provide an online portal. "We launched a Web-based portal that ensures open, streamlined access to lab safety content for training purposes, as well as for contributing new course material," said Nathan Watson, president and CEO of BioRAFT. "We're impressed with the leadership that the NH-INBRE collaborative has shown in promoting laboratory safety for the research community and are honored to help them make their high-quality training content available to researchers worldwide."

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