Safety Policies and Procedures Manual
Chapter 4: Laboratory Safety

Laboratory Signage

SPPM 4.33

For more information contact:
   Environmental Health and Safety


Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) and Facilities Services, Operations have worked together to develop and implement a laboratory signage program to communicate potential hazards to WSU faculty, staff, students, and others entering laboratory spaces. The goals of the University’s Laboratory Signage Program are to:

  • Protect human health and safety.
  • Protect research.
  • Identify what types of personal protective equipment (PPE) and information are needed before entering the laboratory to protect individuals and the research in the laboratory.
  • Provide a flexible program that customizes a laboratory entrance sign for each type of lab that can be updated as the hazards in the lab change.


Department Chair/Director

The department chair or director is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that this policy is implemented.
  • Ensuring the safety of all employees, students, and visitors in their area of control.
  • Providing appropriate resources and support for people who use laboratory spaces.

Principal Investigator/Supervisor/Faculty

The principal investigator (PI), laboratory supervisor, faculty member, or their designee is responsible for all of the following:

  • Registering as a user in the signage program.
    Register as a laboratory signage program user at EH&S Laboratory Signage Program.
  • Ensuring that signage is created and posted as appropriate at the laboratory space entrance(s) under their control.
  • Reviewing and updating laboratory signage annually.
  • Ensuring that signage is updated if materials or conditions, e.g., hazards, required PPE, or emergency contact information, change for the laboratory space(s).
  • Providing appropriate PPE as indicated on laboratory signage to visitors, if PPE is a mandatory requirement to enter the laboratory.
  • Training employees to recognize and understand the information provided on the laboratory signs.


EH&S, the Office of Research Assurances (ORA), and the Radiation Safety Office (RSO) provide assistance to meet the laboratory signage needs of laboratories at WSU.

EH&S also:

  • Acts as curator of the laboratory signage program.
  • Determines appropriate program content.
  • Approves or denies users, as needed.
  • Provides training and assistance in using the signage program.

Contact EH&S for assistance with using the laboratory signage program; telephone 509-335-3041.

Finance and Administration Information Services (FAIS)

Finance and Administration Information Services (FAIS) provides and supports the laboratory signage program database. Laboratory signage program users are responsible for printing and posting the signs.


The employee is responsible for:

  • Understanding that signage is used as a communication tool when entering laboratory spaces.
  • Receiving training from the applicable PI, laboratory supervisor, faculty member, or their designee to recognize and understand the information provided on laboratory signs.
  • Effectively communicating potential hazards identified by the signage to visitors.
  • Utilizing the hazard controls (e.g., PPE) designated on the signage when in the laboratory.

Sign Holders

The department is responsible to ensure that appropriate sign holders are purchased and installed for WSU signage.

Holder Style and Size

Laboratory sign holders are to be 8 1/2″ x 11″, transparent (clear), bifold style, and are to be affixed to the wall with double-sided adhesive tape.

To request exceptions to the sign holder requirements listed above, contact Facilities Services, Operations.

Other Programs Requiring Laboratory Signage

Various programs at WSU require additional signage dependent on laboratory use of animals, biohazardous materials, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), non-ionizing radiation (e.g., lasers), and radioactive materials.

The laboratory signage program does not replace additional placards or signage that may be required by specific regulatory standards. Contact the appropriate WSU department for assistance. The following programs may have additional signage requirements:

Animal Contact

For signage requirements regarding contact with animals at WSU, contact ORA; telephone 509-335-9553.


For signage requirements regarding work with biohazardous materials (i.e., materials capable of self-replication and producing harmful effects upon other biological organisms), contact ORA; telephone 509-335-1585.

Ionizing Radiation

For signage requirements regarding work with radioactive materials, contact the RSO; telephone 335-8916.

See also SPPM 9.60.


For signage requirements regarding work with lasers, contact EH&S; telephone 509-335-3041.

See also SPPM 4.50.


For signage requirements regarding work with pesticides, contact the Washington State Pest Management Resource Service (WSPRS); telephone 253-445-4611.

See also BPPM 45.65, 45.67, 45.69, and 45.70.

Revisions:  Sept. 2016 – new policy (Rev. 108).