What do I do if I observe an unsafe situation?

An unsafe situation is a subjective evaluation of your laboratory where your gut-feeling tells you something is wrong. Do not ignore this important “6th sense” and take action to prevent an incident.

Building problems such as flooded rooms, loose wires, faulty electrical plugs, etc

Faulty equipment with exposed wires, sharps, unbalanced centrifuge, etc

  • Do not use and notify your supervisor or faculty
  • Do not repair equipment unless you have been trained by a certified technician
  • Place a “DEFECT, do not use” sign on the equipment
  • Call service for repair

Unsafe experimentation by others, e.g., repeated contamination of work spaces or equipment, repeated unsafe behavior with bunsenburner or hazardous chemicals, etc

  • Communicate your concern directly to the unsafe individual if possible
  • Notify your supervisor or faculty
  • Discuss unsafe behavior and alternative procedures during the next lab meeting
  • Notify your UCLA’s EH&S safety officer if behavior persists

Lack of PPE to perform an experiment safely

  • Provision of complete and correctly fitting PPE is a Cal/OSHA requirement; no faculty is allowed to operate a lab without it. Talk to your supervisor to obtain proper PPE.

Pests such as ants, cockroaches or rodents in the lab

Suspicious stranger in the lab

  • Call UCLA PD directly at (310) 825-1491 or 911 and report the following:
    • Who is the problem?
    • What is the problem?
    • When did incident occur? If it is happening now, call 911 (911 called from your cell phone on the UCLA campus will be routed to UCLA PD)
    • Where did incident occur?


Odd acting co-worker

  • Notify your supervisor or faculty
  • If threatening call 911
  • UCLA PD offers an Anonymous Reporting option where your call will be kept confidential (310) 794-5824
  • Call UCLA’s Ombuds services for help with conflict resolution (310) 825-7627