The University of Iowa

SAFETYmatters - Who's Manning the Ship???

Article published 08/29/17

In a research lab, the Principal Investigator is like the captain of the ship.  They are responsible to make sure the work is getting done correctly and on time, and for all the other activities in the lab, including safety.  But unlike ship captains, Principal Investigators are often required to leave the ship (well, lab actually).  This begs the question of “who’s in charge now”.  Although most labs have a designated person to take over for directing work in the PIs absence, it is important to have someone in charge of safety as well.  This is especially true in the case of extended absences in which the PI is gone for more than 2-3 weeks.  If this is the case, please contact EHS and let us know the length of the absence, and the name of the individual responsible for safety related issues.  This would include audits, incident reporting, training, etc…  Calling EHS at 335-8501 to report any such change in command is a good way to ensure smooth sailing in the captain’s absence.