Skip to main content
Report an Issue

Training Requirements - New Researchers

New Researchers will need to complete safety training relevant to their work areas and responsibilities. The list below summarizes safety training relevant for new researchers. Online trainings are available at this link.

All Researchers

All employees, including researchers, must complete the following:

Fire/Life Safety Training

This short online training describes the basic steps to take in case of a fire. In addition, researchers need to be familiar with the Site-Specific Fire Safety Plan, including the Emergency Assembly Point, for their work area.

All Laboratory Researchers

All researchers who work in laboratories must complete the following two general online trainings and site-specific training relevant to their research. Lab researchers are encouraged to complete “Ergonomics – Laboratory” online training. For paid lab employees, the Lab Safety General and Hazard Communication trainings (along with Fire/Life Safety) will appear in the “required training” list on OESO’s Online Training page within 2 – 3 days of the lab member being added (by the PI or lab safety coordinator) to the contact or personnel list in the Lab Safety & Waste Management System. For those receiving a stipend or not being paid by Duke, the trainings are accessible under “Courses Required Online” after logging into the Online Training page. OESO Lab Safety can add training requirements to individual lab staff upon request.

Laboratory Safety - General

This annually-required online training reviews basic laboratory safety topics such as personal protective equipment, chemical hygiene, basic biological safety, chemical waste, and emergency response.

Hazard Communication for Laboratory Personnel

This online training covers basic elements of the Hazard Communication Program, including how to interpret chemical labels and Safety Data Sheets, along with the Hierarchy of Controls for limiting chemical exposure and how to respond to chemical spills. The training is required before work in the laboratory begins, one year later, and then every three years. The initial training is called Hazard Communication for Laboratory Personnel – Orientation; subsequent trainings are Hazard Communication for Laboratory Personnel – Update.

Site-Specific Training

The Principal Investigator of each lab is responsible for providing laboratory-specific safety training to lab personnel, including training on the following topics:

The Principal Investigator may delegate the responsibility for safety training to a Laboratory Safety Coordinator and/or Chemical Hygiene Officer, or other member of the lab, but the safety of lab members is ultimately the PI’s responsibility.

Recommended for all lab researchers: Ergonomics - Laboratory

Though it is not required, all lab researchers are encouraged to take the “Ergonomics – Laboratory” online course.

Some Laboratory Researchers

Laboratory researchers may need the following trainings, depending on their work. Contact OESO Lab Safety (919-684-8822) if you have questions about Biosafety training, Biological Shipping training, Formaldehyde Exposure Awareness training, the Chemical Hygiene Course for Lab Contacts or the Laboratory Chemical Waste Management Practices training. Contact OESO – Radiation Safety (919-684-2194) for Radiation Safety and Laser Safety training requirements.

Biosafety Level 2 and BBP for Lab Workers

This online training is required for any laboratory staff members who handle biosafety level 2 materials, including any human-derived materials, including blood, body fluids, and immortalized human cell lines.

Shipping Biological Materials

This online training covers International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements for packaging and shipping biological materials and/or dry ice. Anyone with responsibilities for classifying biological materials for shipping, packaging and labeling and/or completing paperwork for shipping, or shipping dry ice are required to complete this online training at least every two years.

Recombinant DNA (rDNA) Survey


Formaldehyde Exposure Awareness Training

This online training covers the hazards of formaldehyde exposure as well as control strategies that should be used when working with formaldehyde.

Chemical Hygiene Training for Lab Safety Contacts

This instructor-led class is required for one person from each research lab. This may be the Principal Investigator or designated Lab Chemical Hygiene Officer. The class is offered every 8 – 10 weeks. Registration instructions are found here.

Lab Chemical Waste Management Practices

This online training covers the requirements of the Laboratory Chemical Waste Management Practice at Duke University including the roles and responsibilities, hazards of chemical, container handling and management, and waste storage.

Laser Safety – Non-Clinical Use

This online training covers laser safety requirements for researchers using Class 3b or Class 4 lasers. Contact OESO – Radiation Safety (919-684-2194) to determine training and inspection needs for lasers.

Radiation Safety Training for New Researchers and Laboratory Personnel

Please see this page on Radiation Safety Training Requirements for an overview of training requirements for researchers who handle radioactive materials. If your lab will use radiation-producing equipment, including x-ray machines, x-ray diffractometers, electron microscopes and small-animal irradiators, contact OESO – Radiation Safety (919-684-2194) for more information about applicable training.

For more information about any of the above safety training courses, call 919-684-8822 or e-mail OESO-Lab Safety.

  • Regardless of funding source, all recombinant DNA (rDNA) research at Duke University must comply with the NIH Guidelines for Recombinant DNA Research. Each investigator working with rDNA is responsible for understanding and following the NIH guidelines.
  • All non-exempt research with rDNA materials must be registered with the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) before it is initiated. This includes work with rDNA materials obtained from other scientists or from commercial sources.
  • Duke has developed an rDNA Survey Tool to assist researchers with determination of the exempt status of their rDNA work. This Survey is required for all Principal Investigators with research laboratories.