Challenges in applying process safety management at university laboratories

Tomasz Olewski, Mike Snakard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


Risks associated with academic research are often perceived as being much lower than risks within large-scale process industry operations. While the inventories of hazardous materials are lower within the university environment and the number of hazards may be lower, factors such as materials of construction used in laboratories and the proximity of researchers to their equipment may equate to high individual risk for lab workers. Worldwide, the number of reported lab accidents that have resulted in fatalities, severe injuries and financial losses demonstrates that there is a need for better risk management practices within academic teaching and experimental research labs. Academic and research laboratories within universities contain a diverse array of hazards, and the risks associated with these hazards can be significant if not properly managed. The misperception that university labs are “low risks” and “inherently safer” remains within and outside academia, in part, due to a lack of hazard awareness. This work discusses a proven approach to applying the principles of process safety management, widely used in the process industry, to teaching and research laboratories within an academic environment and discuss selected challenges and suggested solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-214
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017



  • Laboratory safety
  • Process safety management
  • Safety management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Food Science
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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