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Office of Laboratory Safety


Empowering FDA to serve as a model of excellence for robust laboratory science, safety, and security best practices.


Ensure that FDA laboratories and workplaces are operated in a safe and secure manner to protect employees, the surrounding communities, and the environment


The Office of Laboratory Safety's mission is to:

  • ensure that FDA’s laboratories and workplaces are operated in a safe and secure manner to protect employees, the surrounding communities, and the environment
  • research and disseminate innovative ideas and validated methods for safe and secure laboratory practices
  • support high-quality (i.e., accurate, reliable, and timely) FDA laboratory results and
  • promote a culture of shared responsibility and safety.

OLS’s Strategic Plan describes the following high-level principles and strategies that inform its mission.

  • Culture of Responsibility and Safety: Workplaces are safest and laboratory results are of highest quality when FDA employees and leadership share common beliefs, values, and norms about safety and quality and take responsibility for their own roles in these fundamental practices.
  • Collaborative Development: The OLS mission will be conducted through collaborative development and implementation of its programs. Success will be achieved through partnerships, flexibility, and a spirit of service to FDA employees, leaders, Offices, and Centers.
  • Transparent Operations: OLS will operate with transparent processes and communications. For example, when permissible, policies and manuals will be published to FDA’s public website, and incident investigations and mitigations will be made public and represented anonymously.
  • Evidence-Based Practice: Evidence-based practices will be used whenever possible, including organizational theory, laboratory operations, and behavioral change. To the extent practical, OLS will empirically evaluate the outcomes of its programs and initiatives, and will shift resources toward programs or initiatives that need the most assistance or attention.

OLS’s goals encompass workplace health and safety, laboratory safety, laboratory security, laboratory quality, efficiency, applied research, and culture of responsibility and safety:

  • Minimize risks to employee health and safety attributable to FDA's workplace, outside of laboratory activities.
  • Minimize risk to employee health and safety attributable to laboratory activities.
  • Ensure that appropriate security and procedural safeguards are implemented in laboratories with biological, chemical, radiological, and other hazardous materials.
  • Protect and preserve the quality—including accuracy, reliability, reproducibility, and timeliness—of laboratory results and data.
  • Increase efficiency related to laboratory science; laboratory security; and Agency-wide environment, health, and safety.
  • Conduct a program of applied research to generate evidence for best laboratory science and safety practices.
  • Reinforce and promote the Agency-wide culture of responsibility and safety.

OLS will use this site to communicate and promote our latest strategies, initiatives, and activities, to our stakeholders. We invite you to check back often to learn more about policies, procedures, and practices that are focused on protecting the quality of our laboratory work and the health and safety of FDA employees as they carry out FDA’s critical public health mission.

For more information, please contact:

Segaran Pillai, PhD
Director, Office of Laboratory Safety
Office of the Commissioner


Last modified: July 25, 2017

Office of Laboratory Safety

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