Planning and preparation for prudent and safe use of hazardous materials at North Carolina State University (NC State) are predicated on the development of comprehensive Safety Plans and the shared responsibilities of researchers, faculty, staff and students. 

If you are a new employee (Principal Investigator) to NCSU and need to create a Safety Plan, please register here to begin the process.

If you are a current PI with an existing Safety Plan, please see the following:

Important news!  *Effective 1 January 2024, all new requests for Safety Plans and renewals of existing Safety Plans will be completed in EHSA; the platform which has been used since 2017 will be phased out during 2024 as plans expire.  This will require effort initially but will pay dividends in simplicity by creating a unified records portal for EHS Plans, licenses, permits, training records and inspection data.   Door Signs were moved to EHSA in late 2022.

NOTE: Machine Shops and Facilities Zone Shops
will remain in the old Safety Plan system until further notice.

Once a new Safety Plan has been established in EHSA, the “old” Plan will be archived.  

Transition to the EHSA platform will allow EHS to condense and greatly reduce the PI’s time in completing a Safety Plan. *Note that there are multiple steps associated with completing a PI’s Safety Plan:

  1. Access the existing Safety Plan to use as a reference. 
  2. Complete the NCSU Safety Plan Assessment in EHSA
    1. Step by step instructions can be found here.
    2.  View the  recorded online training session video.
    3. Please contact EHS at for additional assistance.  Most issues can be quickly resolved.
  3. Update your Chemical Inventory using the template.
  4. Create and/or upload Standard Operating Procedures (formally known as a PI’s Processes) for processes that contain hazardous chemicals and/or equipment. 
    1. To create SOPs in the EHSA system, follow the guidelines here.
    2. To upload a current SOP, make sure it is a PDF and contains all the required information from the template listed here.

What’s New? Inclusion of Safety Plans into EHSA results in a “one stop shop” for  research safety documentation:  Unwanted Material pickups, radioactive material permits and now Safety Plans and associated chemical inventories and SOPs will all be managed in EHSA.

Gone is the requirement for PIs to maintain more than a single Safety Plan.  Now, in EHSA, ALL research spaces and chemical inventories associated with a PI will be included under one Plan. PI’s should include all spaces that are associated with their research. This Includes, but is not limited to, animal housing facilities, greenhouses, offsite facilities (CMAST, Kannapolis, etc), and campus research labs.  

How will this be implemented?  Approximately 30 days prior to the expiration of their current Plan, the PI and the Secondary Safety Contact will each receive email notification from EHS to create a Safety Plan in EHSA.  This will be an “assignment” akin to the Lab Safety Inspection process.  The expiring Plan on the outgoing platform will be available for reference during this process.  Clearly, it will take approximately one year for this transition as all existing Plans expire through 2024.

Need help?

Please contact EHS Research Safety Section for any questions or assistance. In-person training and online and written reference materials are will be made are available to guide users in this process. Instructions to create a new Safety Plan in EHSA can be accessed here.

NEW: For convenience, a recorded online training session video is available.

 Background of Safety Plans

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) administers the workplace safety and health regulations in the United States. The OSHA regulation entitled “Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories” (29 CFR 1910.1450, commonly referred to as the “Laboratory Standard”) requires the development of a “Chemical Hygiene Plan” which states how the University will implement the requirements of the Laboratory Standard to provide a safe and healthful work environment for its employees. NC State’s application of this standard is broader in scope and is applied to all areas that store and use hazardous materials and processes.  University Safety Plans are intended to fulfill these OSHA requirements as well as all other regulatory standards of local, state, and federal governing bodies.

Laboratory Safety Plans and the ACS Tutorial

The American Chemical Society (ACS) handbook is intended to be the foundation of each safety plan.  The University’s application of the material in the handbook is presented as ‘will’ rather than ‘should’.  The ACS handbook will be supplemented by material provided by Principal Investigators about specific chemicals and risks/hazards in a work setting.

Who needs a Safety Plan?

A safety plan is required for all teaching and research laboratory areas that use hazardous materials, hazardous processes/equipment and/or store these items.  

What is a Hazardous Material?

For the purposes of safety plans, this term encompasses:

  • Physical hazards
  • Biological Materials
  • Chemicals – Office chemicals (White-out, glue and copying supplies) are exempt
  • Radioactive material or radiation producing devices
  • Hazardous processes: high voltage, high pressure, etc.

Intended Use of Safety Plans 

Emergency planning and response
Hazard Awareness
Training and Education of the students and Staff
State and federal regulatory compliance

Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP)

All NC State University personnel who handle and may be exposed to hazardous chemicals in research laboratories need to review the Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP). This document, along with your safety plan, and internally developed site/task-specific procedures must cover all elements required by OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1450.

The Chemical Hygiene Plan is also a required training tool to help protect employees from specific health hazards in laboratories and to keep exposure below limits specified by OSHA.

Hazard Communication Program (non-laboratory chemical users)

All NC State University personnel who handle and may be exposed to chemicals in a non-laboratory setting (e.g. filed labs and facilities zones hops) are covered under NC State University’s Hazard Communication Program (HCP).  This program along with your safety plan covers all of the elements required by OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1010.1200).  Employees must take Hazard Communication Training for Non-Laboratories (EHPS-0S600). In addition to this online training employees shall receive training on the site specific chemical hazards.  (Section 8 NC State University’s HCP).

Document and Posting Requirements

Safety Plans provide background information required to establish safe working practices for hazardous material/processes use and handling. The PI is responsible for implementation and enforcement of safe work practices and the plan functions as both a training tool and reference source.