Division Title
Your Role

Principal Investigators

Principal Investigators (PIs) have many responsibilities. As a Principal Investigator at the NIH, you should:

  • Ensure a safe and healthful workplace for their employees.

  • Report unsafe working conditions to the DOHS when you need assistance to resolve the condition.

  • Register to work with biological materials and recombinant DNA materials.
Picture of two researchers, a man and a woman, in a laboratory reviewing a notebook together.
  • Ensure that all of your employees have proper training. All employees need to take annual Laboratory Safety Training. Employees who work with certain biological materials need to have annual Bloodborne Pathogen Training.
  • Contact your Safety Specialist before you renovate a laboratory or move a laboratory. This includes minor renovations such as replacing a sink or countertop.
  • All supervisors of minors in the laboratory need to review this guidance document to ensure that minors are not exposed to certain hazardous materials while working in NIH laboratories. As stated by the Deputy Director of Intramural Research, Dr. Michael Gottesman's Memorandum Summer Students and Laboratory Safety, "One of the most important roles we fill when introducing summer students to NIH laboratories is to demonstrate that safety is an integral part of planning and conducting science." For example, all students should be appointed under an approved hiring authority. Of special concern are those students who are under the age of 18- minors.

  • Please be aware that minors are prohibited from working with specific materials and that they are prohibited from working in specific areas. For example, minors may not work with:
    • Laboratories designated Biosafety Level 3;

    • Laboratories designated Biosafety Level 4;

    • Laboratories designated at level 2/3 (BSL-2 with 3 practices);

    • Radioactive isotopes, unless special permission and training is provided from the Division of Radiation Safety;

    • Nonhuman primates;

    • Select agents;

    • Human and nonhuman primate blood, body fluids, or tissues. Supervisors must be familiar with the NIH  Exposure Control Program 

    • Human and nonhuman primate retroviruses; and

    • Select carcinogens, reproductive toxins, or acutely toxic chemicals as outlined in the NIH Chemical Hygiene Plan.

    In addition, should there be the need, report all accidents and promptly seek proper medical care from the Occupational Medical Service (OMS). Minors may need to receive pre-placement medical evaluations from the OMS, depending on their assignment.