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University of Minnesota

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Welcome to the JST homepage!

The Joint Safety Team (JST) is a researcher-led organization focused on improving the culture of safety in chemical laboratories at the University of Minnesota.  The JST consists of all graduate student or postdoc Laboratory Safety Officers (LSOs) within the Departments of CHEM and CEMS.  We also welcome any other interested graduate students or postdocs to participate.  If you are interested in supporting our objective, meeting new people, or improving your leadership skills, then please email or attend the next monthly meeting to get involved! 

JST Committee Members Needed!

The JST has made great strides to improve the safety of U of M laboratories in the last two years.Our accomplishments would not have been possible without the active participation of graduate students post-docs on JST committees. To keep up our stellar record of success, we need more committee involvement!

Why join a JST committee?

To learn more about each committee, visit our "About the JST" tab and scroll down to "How is the JST Organized?" In particular, our PR and Analysis and Compliance teams are looking for new people.

Email with questions or to get connected.

Role of Hazard Analysis in Academic Research

You can download a presentation about the role of hazard analysis in academic research (including information about the azide incident in Chemistry) from here:

Role of Hazard Analysis in Academic Research

Safety Updates

Empowered Students and Postdocs Drive Lab Safety

The efforts of the JST were recently highlighted on the Science Magazine's website. The article addresses the need for an improved culture of safety in research-intensive science department and how the leadership developed in the JST has led to measurable changes.

New mandatory online training course for anyone working with chemicals

A new online training course required for anyone working with chemicals. All university staff members, faculty members, and students who use, purchase, or are "potentially exposed to one or more chemical hazards" are required by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration's (OSHA) revised Hazard Communication Standard to be trained on changes to the standard. Everyone who works around hazardous materials must be trained immediately. Go to to complete this online training.

CEMS Safety Video Contest

1st Place: The Safety Enforcer

2nd Place: Science of Dating

3rd Place: Safety Enforcement Sentinel

Runner Up: Safety Moment


Previous events

Tuesday, January 13, 2014 12:00pm - 1:00pm, Smith Hall 231

All LSO training

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 12:00pm, STSS 432A: JST Monthly Meeting

Walkthrough analysis and safest lab voting

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 12:00pm, STSS 432A: JST Monthly Meeting

Walkthrough assessment and emergency response training.

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 12:00pm, STSS 131A: JST Monthly Meeting

All are welcome, not just LSOs. Attendance is a great way to meet people, learn new safety tips, and shape future JST actions.

July 29th, 2013, 12:00pm, STSS 530A: All LSO Meeting

This meeting will focus on developing an incentive/reward system for good safety practices.

June 10th - 14th, 2013: Cleanup Week Part II: Electronics/Equipment Disposal

As a follow-up to the unknown chemical disposal event that took place in January, This week will focus on getting rid of old electronics or equipment that is no longer used in labs. If your lab has old, unused equipment, look for postings and updates regarding how you can help eliminate clutter and contribute to a safer work environment for yourself and your lab mates!

April 30th, 2013, 3:00 pm, Smith 331: Workshop on Standard Operating Procedures

This workshop focused on the function and essential elements of standard operating procedures (SOPs).  Topics discussed included writing SOPs, maintaining SOPs, and policies regarding SOP updates and availability to researchers.

March-April, 2013: Second Round of Student-Led Laboratory Walkthroughs

The second round of LSO lab walkthroughs was held March-April 2013. These walkthroughs followed up on the initial round of walkthroughs from November-December 2012 to check what issues have been addressed, as well as identifying additional areas of safety and housekeeping that can be improved in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and Materials Science research labs.

January 16th, 2013: LSO Training and Website Launch

Research groups in CHEM and CEMS were required to send a representative (LSO) to this 1-hour training session. The goal was to distribute and review materials regarding the roles and responsibilities of a LSO, as well as the resources available to help make performing these duties easier.  The full LSO guidebook, which was handed out at this event, can be found under the LSO Resources tab.  The JST emphasizes that this guidebook is an evolving document and will be reviewed in 3-6 months to determine what improvements might be made. Coinciding with the training session, the JST launched its website to provide a central location for all researchers to find information on safety. Both of these items contribute to the resources and education areas of CARE in our mission. Thanks to all of the LSOs and volunteers who helped fill binders and plan this session!  

January 7-11th, 2013: Cleanup Week

Cleanup Week Part I: Unknown Chemical Testing and Disposal took place from Monday, January 7 through Friday, January 11. This was an opportunity for laboratories to dispose of unknown waste at no cost to Principal Investigators. LSOs or other graduate students learned about the hazardous waste stream and how to test the unknown chemicals at the Hazardous and Unknown Waste Seminar at the beginning of the week.  The unknown chemicals were then tested at assigned times by the trained students, working under the supervision of the Department of Environmental Health & Safety (DEHS).  A total of 321 unknown samples were processed, which if disposed of in the typical way would have cost the departments thousands of dollars and DEHS would have needed weeks to perform the testing.  More importantly, our laboratories made an important safety improvement in the removal of these samples. Cleanup Week Part II: Electronics/Equipment Disposal will be held summer 2013. These events contribute to the compliance area of CARE in our mission. We thank DEHS and all of the volunteers who helped to make this event a success! 

November 5th-December 17th, 2012: Student-Led Laboratory Walkthroughs

The first of what will be a semiannual event in which the research laboratories in CHEM and CEMS are informally audited by students. For this event, each Laboratory Safety Officer (LSO) performs 3 laboratory walkthroughs, which consist of filling out a checklist regarding, for example, the chemical storage and general housekeeping of a lab. Each laboratory is audited by a group of 3 students, who afterward meet to discuss their findings and fill out a report clarifying which areas the lab might improve. The report is then submitted to the Principal Investigator of the laboratory along with the LSO. The next round of walkthroughs will begin in March-April 2013. This event contributes to the compliance area of CARE in our mission.

September 24th, 2012: Kick-Off Event

This event represented the official introduction of the JST to our community of researchers in the Departments of Chemistry (CHEM) and Chemical Engineering and Materials Science (CEMS).  We introduced the four key areas of our safety campaign – Compliance, Awareness, Resources, Education (CARE) – and some of the recommendations we planned to implement. We presented the safety posters some of our members had created, sporting our "Safety Starts with U!" slogan. These posters are a part of our ongoing effort to raise awareness and to improve the safety culture in CHEM and CEMS.     


Joint Safety Team in the news

April 02, 2014: C&EN

March 05, 2014: Science

October 01, 2013: Journal of Chemical Education

May 24, 2013: Dow Unveils Lab Safety Website

February 8, 2013: UMNews

October 29, 2012: C&EN News

October 01, 2012: Minnesota Daily

September 25, 2012: University of Minnesota Department of Chemistry

May 4, 2012: Science Careers Blog

May 2, 2012: C&En Safety Zone Blog

April 30, 2012: The Dow Chemical Company press release.

Joint Safety Team outreach

April 30-May 2, 2014: Presentation at the UC Center for Laboratory Safety Workshop in California

April 21, 2014: "Safety First" workshop at the Materials Research Society Meeting in San Francisco, CA

January 29, 2014: Safety Culture Webinar in Conjunction with BioRAFT

November 1, 2012: Presentation for Dean's Advisory Board

October 8, 2013: Presentation for Department of Mechanical Engineering Faculty Meeting

July-August, 2013: Safety consultation and video production for Ohio State

April 9, 2013: Presentation for College of Science and Engineering Administrative Council

July 14, 2013: Chisago County "Safety Camp"

May 19, 2013: Presentation at Council for Chemical Research meeting

Throughout 2013: Phone conferences with University of Pennsylvania, University of California Santa Barbara, and Dow Chemical Company