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Safety & Health Specialist - Laboratory Safety Division

HEALTH SYSTEM Full Time Durham, North Carolina
Requisition Number: 235623

Primary Purpose of Organizational Unit:

Duke University and Duke University Health System are committed to fostering excellence and leadership in education, healthcare delivery, medical teaching and research. The Occupational and Environmental Safety Office (OESO) exists to support this Institutional effort by promoting a safe environment for the Duke Community that is conducive to achieving such excellence while providing the highest level of customer service possible. OESO is committed to providing expertise in safety and health in a friendly, responsive and enthusiastic manner.

Specific to the Laboratory Safety Division:

The Laboratory Safety Division coordinates the programs for recognizing, evaluating and controlling health and safety hazards in the laboratory environment. The Lab Safety Division collaborates extensively with the other Divisions within OESO to provide guidance for lab personnel who handle or who could potentially be exposed to hazards in the laboratory. This is accomplished through the development of policies and training programs that are based on regulatory requirements or current safety guidelines. The Laboratory Safety and Health Specialist supports these programs and reports directly to the Director of the Laboratory Safety Division of the OESO.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Serve as a primary resource regarding health and safety within the laboratory environment.  Will be able to recognize deficiencies and hazards independently and research unfamiliar situations. Provide technical leadership to Duke Departments and personnel. Serve as expert consultant for safety issues within the institution.
  • Conduct laboratory safety audits in research, clinical, and teaching laboratories.
  • Communicate federal, state and local regulations accurately and effectively to insure safety compliance.
  • Perform accident investigations and work with departments to correct safety hazards and develop preventative procedures. 
  • Develop reports documenting observations, sampling results, and recommendations for OESO and Duke independently.  Assist lower level employees in developing reports and recommendations.  Compile and present reports to management related to safety and health activities.
  • Provide solutions to a variety of problems where analysis of data requires evaluation of identifiable factors. Exercise judgment within defined policies and/or parameters in selecting methods and techniques for obtaining solutions.
  • Review planned expansion, modifications, or closures of facilities that affect occupational safety.  Contribute to the design of new laboratory facilities where hazardous materials will be used or hazardous processes will be located.
  • Determine sampling priorities for the institution and request the necessary budget resources to accomplish goals.  Develop comprehensive sampling strategies for specific project and work areas, and perform sampling to evaluate personnel exposures and engineering controls.  Review sampling strategies and results for Safety Technicians and level 1 & 2 Specialists.
  • Determine priorities for safety and health investigations in Duke's diverse work areas.  Identify personnel, institutional and material resources needed to accomplish objectives.
  • Recognize injury and illness trends within the organization and develop and implement Duke-wide solutions (policies and training strategies, etc.), working with Employee Occupational Health and Wellness, Workers’ Compensation and other departments as appropriate.
  • Develop and implement University-wide policies with minimal input from Division Director.
  • Perform Job Hazard Assessments and recommend measures to control exposures, including substitution of less hazardous materials, personal protective equipment (PPE), work practice changes, and engineering controls.  Provide input to engineers for development or improvement of engineering controls.  Develop and recommend appropriate engineering or work process modifications to prevent worker illness or injury. Provide follow-up assessment of recommendations.
  • Prepare training classes and materials and deliver training courses that have already been developed.  Determine training needs and develop new programs and training materials as necessary. Contribute to and oversee training development and delivery by lower level employees.
  • Provide leadership and direction to professional and technical staff and participate in the professional development of staff.
  • Work with departments to develop new safety committees or take a leadership role in enlarging the focus/scope of the safety committee's activities, advocate improvements to department safety policies, direct safety committee concerns to the appropriate divisions of OESO and act as a technical advisor on safety and health issues. 
  • Act as liaison with various officials internal and external to Duke.  Coordinate contract agreements with outside agencies.
  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge and understanding of new or anticipated regulations or compliance interpretations.
  • Serve as a member of the OESO spill response team, which includes response on weekends and after regular business hours on a rotating schedule.

Required Minimum Qualifications:

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Must have advanced knowledge of chemical and biological hazards in the laboratory environment.
  • Knowledge of organizational and personnel management skills.
  • Must be familiar with applicable laboratory safety regulations and guidelines, including OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogen, Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemical in Laboratories, and Hazard Communication standards;  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/National Institutes of Health (NIH) Guidelines for Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories; the NIH Recombinant DNA Guidelines; the International Transport Aviation Association and the Department of Transportation’s Guidelines for shipping biological materials; CLIA and CAP standards and other OSHA regulations or CDC/NIH Guidelines as necessary.
  • Must communicate and work cooperatively with personnel in diverse positions, including professors, researchers, lab technicians, engineering and operations/facilities maintenance personnel, administrators, and regulators to apply regulatory requirements or guidelines to the unique environment of the research or clinical laboratory.
  • Creative problem solving to recognize and analyze needs and develop programs to address needs.
  • Developed professional presentation skills.
  • Must have excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to locate and use appropriate technical resources in occupational safety and health.
  • Ability to lift and carry heavy materials and equipment.
  • Ability to climb/descend ladders and enter confined spaces to perform evaluations.
  • Physically able to serve on a HAZMAT spill response team, including ability to wear respiratory protection.


  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Engineering or related field.


  • No experience for level 1; three years’ experience for level 2; five years’ experience for level 3.

Degrees, Licensure, and/or Certification:

  • Must have a valid driver’s license.
  • Certified Safety Professional (CSP) or Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) preferred
  • Must have completed or be able to complete First Responder- Operations Level Training (29 CFR 1910.120) within 90 days of hire.

Preferred Minimum Qualifications:


  • Master’s degree in Environmental Science, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Engineering or related field.


  • 5+ years of experience in lab safety and/or industrial hygiene.

Duke is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual's age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Duke aspires to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity, and belonging. Our collective success depends on the robust exchange of ideas—an exchange that is best when the rich diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences flourishes. To achieve this exchange, it is essential that all members of the community feel secure and welcome, that the contributions of all individuals are respected, and that all voices are heard. All members of our community have a responsibility to uphold these values.

Essential Physical Job Functions: Certain jobs at Duke University and Duke University Health System may include essentialjob functions that require specific physical and/or mental abilities. Additional information and provision for requests for reasonable accommodation will be provided by each hiring department.

As you explore and apply to career opportunities with Duke Health, we want to alert you of possible fraudulent scams and phishing schemes targeted at job seekers. Duke Health will never ask for any financial contribution or to provide sensitive personal information outside of our application and background check process.

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