While our Safety Teams provide expert guidance and training on the handling of biohazardous materials, laboratory personnel are ultimately responsible for the application of knowledge and safe practices gained through consultation with our staff. Therefore, it is essential that individuals maintain a certain level of responsibility while working with hazardous materials at the University of Chicago.
Code of Conduct
University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division Code of Conduct and Culture of Responsibility
The importance of reporting accidental spills or exposure events is obvious. Not only is this important in terms of personal health, but it is also important for the health of our coworkers, the research community, and the general public. The secure and responsible conduct of life sciences research depends, in part, on observation and reporting by peers, supervisors, and subordinates. Individuals working with hazardous chemical material, radioactive material, or potentially infectious material (molecular recombinant DNA constructs with either direct or indirect, acute or latent disease potential such as insertional mutagenesis due to exposure to a viral vector) must understand and acknowledge their responsibility to report activities that are inconsistent with a culture of responsibility or are otherwise troubling. Likewise, institutional and laboratory leadership must acknowledge their responsibility to respond to reports of concerning behavior and undertake actions to prevent retaliation stemming from such reports. The University of Chicago Office of Risk Management has established a program to enable the anonymous reporting of troubling behavior. Information about this program can be found here. In addition, reports can be provided to UChicago at: Whistleblower hotline: 1-800-971-4317. Reports of concerning behavior within the lab can also be reported to the Office of Biological Safety, the Department of Environmental Health and Safety, the Institutional Biosafety Committee, and the University Safety Committee. Please click this link for additional information on reporting of concerning behavior in the laboratory: http://rmia.uchicago.edu/whistleblower.shtml
Finally, persons with health conditions, whether chronic or acute, that have the potential to place them at risk in the laboratory should self-report to their personal physician and/or UChicago Occupational Medicine. A decision about continued involvement with research involving infectious agents must be an informed decision that includes appropriate medical expertise.