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Suggested Citation:"Laboratory Safety in Research." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2009. On Being a Scientist: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in Research: Third Edition. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12192.
Page 28

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28 On Being a S c i e n t i s t Laboratory Safety in Research In addition to human participants and animal subjects in research, governmental regulations and professional guidelines cover other aspects of research, including the use of grant funds, the sharing of research results, the handling of hazardous materials, and laboratory safety. These last two issues are sometimes overlooked in research, but no researcher or scientific discipline is immune from accidents. An estimated half million workers in the United States handle hazard- ous biological materials every day. A March 2006 explosion at the National Institute of Higher Learning in Chemistry in Mulhouse, France, killed a distinguished researcher and caused $130 million in damage. Researchers should review information and procedures about safety issues at least once a year. A short checklist of subjects to cover includes: • appropriate usage of protective equipment and clothing • safe handling of materials in laboratories • safe operation of equipment • safe disposal of materials • safety management and accountability • hazard assessment processes • safe transportation of materials between laboratories • safe design of facilities • emergency responses • safety education of all personnel before entering the laboratory • applicable government regulations

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The scientific research enterprise is built on a foundation of trust. Scientists trust that the results reported by others are valid. Society trusts that the results of research reflect an honest attempt by scientists to describe the world accurately and without bias. But this trust will endure only if the scientific community devotes itself to exemplifying and transmitting the values associated with ethical scientific conduct.

On Being a Scientist was designed to supplement the informal lessons in ethics provided by research supervisors and mentors. The book describes the ethical foundations of scientific practices and some of the personal and professional issues that researchers encounter in their work. It applies to all forms of research—whether in academic, industrial, or governmental settings-and to all scientific disciplines.

This third edition of On Being a Scientist reflects developments since the publication of the original edition in 1989 and a second edition in 1995. A continuing feature of this edition is the inclusion of a number of hypothetical scenarios offering guidance in thinking about and discussing these scenarios.

On Being a Scientist is aimed primarily at graduate students and beginning researchers, but its lessons apply to all scientists at all stages of their scientific careers.

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