skip to Main Content

Open position: Chemical Safety Officer @ The University of Chicago

Jobs Unadvertised Secrets

The Chemical Safety Officer for the Office of Research Safety is responsible for providing input into University-wide chemical safety standards, policies, and procedures as a key member of the research safety community in addition to providing input on the allocation of roles and responsibilities for chemical hygiene between the Office of Research Safety, Environmental Health and Safety (Hyde Park campus and the UC Medical Center), the divisional Laboratory Safety Specialists and laboratory research teams. The Chemical Safety Officer is responsible for managing and providing technical guidance, training, and inspective/risk analysis of the University of Chicago’s Chemical Hygiene Plan to ensure a safe environment in which to facilitate research and the pursuit of academic excellence. Chemical Safety includes the delivery of chemical hygiene services to all facilities involved in research for both laboratories and lab support areas. The Chemical Safety Officer reports to the Associate Vice-President of the Office of Research Safety.


The job participates in the development and implementation of programs and procedures that promote healthy and safe educational and work environments for the University and the surrounding community. Acquires higher-level job-related skills and builds working knowledge of the University’s environmental health and safety processes.1) With a moderate level of guidance, interprets University environmental health and safety standards to assist in the design and implementation of programs. Ensures legal compliance and develops procedures. Monitors and evaluates health and safety concerns., 2) Plans and executes surveys, audits, and inspections of instruments, laboratories, and other facilities to ensure compliance with government and University policies and procedures. Analyzes data and initiatives immediate corrective action plans and follow-up to ensure implementation., 3) Performs risk analysis on the University’s environmental and occupational health and safety programs and implements alternatives or improvements to current programs., 4) Performs other related work as needed.

Unit-specific Responsibilities

1) Conducts annual and follow-up Laboratory Reviews and immediately takes steps to abate hazards that may pose a risk to life or safety upon discovery of such hazards.

2) Ensures compliance with all components of the Chemical Hygiene Plan according to OSHA, federal and state regulations.

3) Helps develop and implement appropriate chemical hygiene policies and practices; Works with PIs and lab groups to develop and review SOPs for processes using hazardous chemicals.  

4) Manages all chemical safety support, collaborating with the Radiation and Biological Safety groups of the Office of Research Safety, the Animal Resource Center, and Environmental Health and Safety, as needed.  

5) Informs PIs of chemical-related health and safety requirements and assists with the selection of appropriate safety controls, including engineering controls, laboratory and other workplace practices and procedures, training, and personal protective equipment;  Works with the Environmental Health and Safety and Office of Research Safety to monitor adherence to training requirements and inform PIs about non-compliance.  

6) Works collaboratively with Environmental Health and Safety and Divisional Laboratory Safety Specialists to develop, implement and maintain a chemical inventory and monitoring program. Identifies and monitors corrective action plans.

7) Works collaboratively with Environmental Health and Safety and Divisional Laboratory Safety Specialists to ensure that laboratory personnel are cognizant of and compliant with procedures and policies set forth in the Chemical Hygiene Plan.

8) Assesses the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and provides recommendations concerning appropriate selection of PPE based on hazards and a risk assessment. Provides assistance and acts as a resource to institutional (e.g. Institutional Biosafety Committee-IBC) and departmental/institute safety committees (Institute of Molecular Engineering-IME Safety Committee), Laboratory Safety Specialists and laboratory and support personnel.

9) Provide technical expertise and administrative support to the laboratory community in the area of laboratory safety and health, and direct inquiries to appropriate resources.

10) Works with principal investigators (PIs), divisional Laboratory Safety Specialists and departments to monitor procurement and use of chemicals in the labs.

11) Monitors professional literature and attends seminars to stay current with technical advances in the research environment as well as governmental compliance requirements.

12) Works closely with faculty in the realms of synthetic chemistry and synthetic biology to assess risks presented following or during synthetic chemical processes. Collaborates with Environmental Health and Safety, divisional Laboratory Safety Specialists and assists with the coordination of hazardous materials spill response and training.

13) In collaboration with Environmental Health and Safety, assists PIs/Lab personnel with shipping and handling of chemicals or hazardous substances (“Dangerous Goods”). Participates as a member of the emergency response team and responds to hazardous material releases and serves in the appropriate response role based on training and expertise.

14) Develops recommendations to improve the overall chemical hygiene plan. Monitors compliance and provides information and data to both the Office of Research Safety and Environmental Health and Safety in support of regulatory chemical hygiene. 

15) At least annually, reviews and evaluates the effectiveness of the Laboratory Safety Manual and making updates as appropriate.  

16) Reviews assessments and assists faculty, administrative, and academic department staff in assessment of chemical hazards and personal protective equipment (PPE) needs for laboratory research operations Ensures that extremely hazardous substances are appropriately labeled, handled, and stored and that specific standard operating procedures that instruct all personnel in the safe use of these substances.

17) Reviews specific operating procedures developed by principal investigators and department personnel for the use, disposal, spill cleanup, and decontamination of extremely hazardous chemicals and substances are developed and followed.

18) Reviews new research protocols prior to their initiation to determine if hazardous chemicals are used and, if so, to ensure proper measures are taken to protect laboratory personnel. Investigates all reports of laboratory hazard incidents, chemical spills, and near-misses to prevent repeat occurrences.

19) Acts as a liaison between the laboratory and the departmental administrator and, if necessary, bring unresolved and potentially serious health and safety problems to the administrator’s attention.

Required Qualifications

Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 2-5 years of work experience in a related job discipline.

Driver’s License – Multiple States

Desired Qualifications


1) Bachelor’s degree in chemistry, biochemistry, physical chemistry, occupational safety, industrial hygiene, engineering, or one of the life sciences

2) Advanced degree (Ph.D. or M.S.)


1) Five plus years of experience in a laboratory or related industry (chemical manufacturing, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, research laboratory, etc.).  Experience in Chemical Hygiene/lab safety preferred.2) Experience, education and/or training in the realms of nanotechnology or synthetic chemistry.

Licenses and Certifications

1) Relevant certifications (e.g., Hazardous Materials Technician or higher classification, certified safety professional, certified industrial hygienist, safety management certificate, qualification in laboratory safety).

2) Capable of obtaining medical clearances for using respiratory protection necessary for HAZMAT response.

3) Valid driver’s license.

More information and to apply

Wildcard SSL Certificates

Back To Top