The Safety Office is responsible for managing all Lamont campus safety and environmental protection programs.

If an accident occurs on the Lamont campus, the LDEO Safety Office needs to be contacted to coordinate the corrective action plan. This includes accidents/injuries on duty to employees, students, visitors, or vendors. Email [email protected] and then call 845-359-2900.

Note: All work-related injuries resulting in amputation, loss of an eye, or in-patient hospitalization must be reported to LDEO Safety Office immediately, as such accidents need to be reported to OSHA within 24 hours. Work-related fatalities must be reported to OSHA within 8 hours.

For any of the above listed work-related accidents, the following information should be included in your communication to LDEO Safety:

  • Location of the work-related incident (building, floor, room)
  • Time of the accident
  • Type of reportable event (i.e., fatality, inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye)
  • Number of employees who suffered the event
  • Names of the employees who suffered the event
  • Contact person and phone number
  • Brief description of the work-related incident

After ANY accident occurs, the injured person is to fill out an Accident Report. The Accident Report must be filled out for ALL accidents, even if the affected person appears uninjured. The supervisor or host must notify the Safety Office ASAP, which will prompt an accident investigation. A corrective action plan is to be negotiated with the Safety Office in order to complete the accident report.  

Download the Columbia University Accident Report Form.

Please contact Cathy Troutman at xt. 8860 or [email protected] for an Excel copy of your Laboratory Chemical Inventory. Further information will be provided when LDEO has implemented the ChemTracker System.

Medical, police, fire emergencies requiring immediate response: Dial 911 for Emergency Responders, then call 555 from any campus phone or 845-359-2900 to notify Safety/Security Office so that we may direct the emergency responders to the right location.

The Lamont campus is equipped with 6 automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in the following locations: 

  • Administration (1st Floor, outside of Safety Office)
  • Comer (1st Floor, outside of Lab 102)
  • Geoscience (1st Floor Lobby - to the right upon entrance)
  • Monell (Upper Lobby - outside of restrooms)
  • Guard Booth
  • Oceanography (1st Floor Lobby)

Non-life-threatening emergencies such as broken water lines, leaks, chemical spills/odors, wildlife hazards that do not require external agency response: Dial 555 from any campus phone or 845-359-2900 if using cell phone or off campus.

For further information on various campus emergencies which could arise, see the Lamont Campus Emergency Response Handbook.

Register with the Lamont ENS to receive alerts of emergency situations as well as campus delayed openings, closings, and/or shuttle bus service disruptions.

All information will remain confidential and will only be used to populate the secure web-based database. 

If you need to make changes to your contact information, please contact the LDEO Safety Office.

Check out these useful health and safety resources from Columbia Research.

Review our fire safety procedures for what to do in the event of a fire. Muster location maps are located in each building. You should familiarize yourself with the locations so that you are prepared in case there is a fire while you are in that building.

The Safety Office manages all hazardous waste generated on campus and works with EHS to ensure its lawful disposal. Laboratory chemical waste must be collected in approved containers supplied by the Safety Office and labeled as per CU requirements.

Prior to arranging for a pickup, verify that all chemicals meet the following conditions:

  • A Hazardous Waste label is affixed to all containers
  • Containers have all components listed and include full chemical names (chemical formulae, abbreviations, and generic names are UNACCEPTABLE)
  • Container is compatible with its contents and is properly closed
  • Container is stored in a secondary containment bin.

To arrange for disposal of hazardous waste, email [email protected]

Include in email: 

  • Building and Lab Room Number
  • List of each container size* and all contents of container (full chemical name and volume)
  • If your lab also needs Broken Glass Boxes or Chemically Contaminated Glassware Buckets picked up

*LDEO Safety Office Supplies: 1-gallon, 2.5-gallon, and 5-gallon containers for waste collection. The containers and hazardous waste labels can be found in the Comer Basement Storage Room across from the Loading Dock, as well as in the Core Lab on the 2nd Floor.

Columbia University has a detailed document Guidelines for Short-Term Visitors in Research-Related and Clinical Activities

This document should be reviewed for more details on specific requirements for short-term visitors.

Below are highlights of this document, and additional Lamont-specific requirements.

Short-term visitors may include high school students, visiting undergraduates, post-baccalaureates, and others. 

Short-term visitors are required to be registered utilizing the "Visitor Registration Form" (see pp. 6-7 of Guidelines document above).

The sponsoring investigator and department administrator are responsible to ensure that the visitors: 1) have received the necessary training and/or approvals, and 2) comply with all relevant University rules and policies during their stay. Importantly, visitors are to be shown where all lab safety equipment is located (including fire extinguishers, emergency eye wash and shower, spill kit), and how to contact Security in the event of an emergency.

If any Hazardous Chemicals/Radiation or Machine Shop equipment are to be used, the visitor must complete the requisite Environmental Health and Safety training sessions. The Lab/Workshop "Laboratory Assessment Tool and Chemical Hygiene Plan (LATCH)" is to be read by and available to the visitors.

Lamont-Specific Requirements: Undergraduate visitors performing work with hazardous chemicals or working with Machine Shop-type equipment are to be supervised by the Lamont PI or the PI's designee. The PI or designee must be present on campus, and readily available for assistance in the event of an emergency situation.

Safety Training is assigned by the PI or Lab Manager via the CU Lab Assessment Tool and Chemical Hygiene Plan (LATCH). Before you are allowed to begin working with chemicals in a laboratory OR with any shop equipment (including the Rock Mechanics Lab) on the Lamont campus, you must complete the requisite Safety Training.  Furthermore, before beginning any work in the lab or workshop, you must have the permission of the Lab Principle Investigator (PI) or the Shop Supervisor to work in that lab / workshop AND review with the PI or Shop Supervisor the “Lab Specific Safety Work Procedures” or “Tool Specific Procedures.” Click the links below for further information:

What Training is Required
All Columbia training courses are taken through the RASCAL program (see below). LDEO also offers on-site campus orientation and Fire Safety training, typically in June and September. A schedule will be sent out to the community when available.

Research Compliance & Training
The Research Compliance Training Finder is an interactive tool that identifies which research compliance trainings an individual may be required to take. Using a series of research-related questions, the Finder creates a personalized training chart of required and recommended trainings, complete with links to the trainings and the responsible offices. The identified trainings can be added to your Rascal Training To-do List.

All employees and visitors working with chemicals in a laboratory are required to have a Columbia UNI in order to take the necessary training courses online in RASCAL. Courses must be taken before individuals can do in the lab. Contact your LDEO department administration or Human Resources regarding how to obtain a Columbia UNI.

All Federal, State and Local regulations must be followed when transporting hazardous materials (including chemicals, radioactive material, or any such waste). If you will be shipping (UPS/FEDEX) hazardous materials out into the field, the LDEO Shipping department must be contacted to ensure that these items are properly transported.

The Hazardous & Radioactive Materials Field Use form must be submitted by the Columbia Principal Investigator or Research Scientist at least 90 days prior to a cruise or field work involving the use of any radioactive materials or hazardous chemicals.

Note: You should not transport hazardous materials in your personal vehicles as there are strict regulations restricting this practice.

In addition, if you will be generating any hazardous waste (chemical or radioactive) off campus, the LDEO Safety office needs to be notified well in advance of your departure so that we can coordinate with you  and Columbia's EHS office to arrange for proper waste disposal.  

Hazardous waste cannot be shipped back to LDEO.

Note: Disposal cost for hazardous waste generated in the field may be the responsibility of the PI and would need to be included in your budget.

While the Lamont campus is a safe place, there are a number of "natural" hazards of which you should be aware. The purpose of this page is to alert you and your visitors of these wildlife hazards so that your time on campus is safe and pleasant. Please share this information with your visitors.


Since snakes are cold-blooded, they will often seek the warmth of the sun on cool days, and will similarly seek the cool of the shade when the temperatures get hotter. Remember, too, that snakes can climb, so be mindful of them in shrubs and trees. Also, occasionally, snakes have entered buildings, so please do not leave exterior doors open, and report snakes you see inside a building to the Safety Office (dial 0 or call 845-359-2900).

There are 3 species of snakes that you may encounter on campus:

Black Rat Snake: As the name suggests, the snake is black in color. This snake is fairly common, and while its bite will hurt, it is non-poisonous. You should seek medical attention if you are bitten. 

Copperhead Snake and Timber Rattle Snake: These poisonous snakes are very similar in appearance, with the major difference being that the Timber Rattle Snake has a “rattle” on its tail and is more rarely seen. Both have a copper-colored head and pinkish-tan color superimposed on a darker brown pattern. The head is angular, like an arrow point. If you are bitten, call 911 and direct the responder to take you to Nyack Hospital as they have the anti-venom. 

Snapping Turtles

You may encounter these turtles throughout the campus, however, they are mainly in the vicinity of the pond. Snapping turtles are extremely dangerous as they can easily take a finger off with a bite, and they can strike very quickly. Should you encounter a snapping turtle crossing the roadway, you should slow down oncoming traffic to allow the turtle to safely pass.


Coyotes resemble a German Shepherd dog. They can be aggressive and therefore should not be approached. If, however, you are approached by an aggressive coyote and cannot readily get to shelter, you should raise your hands high in the air and make loud noises, which ought to scare them off. Promptly report any such interaction to the Safety Office (dial 0 or 845-359-2900).


Geese may be found around the campus at any time of the year; however, they can be particularly aggressive during the spring when they are protecting their nesting territories. Should you be attacked by an aggressive goose you should maintain direct eye contact and keep your body pointed in the direction of the goose and slowly back away in a neutral demeanor (do not show hostility or fear). Report any such interaction to the Safety Office so that we may investigate and place signage to alert others of a nesting area.


It is not unusual to see a black bear in this region. Bears are foragers, and quite comfortable rooting through human garbage for scraps of food, so managing our garbage on campus is extremely important. We use a garbage compactor on the campus to keep garbage out of reach of wildlife. However, we do not have custodial services on campus over weekends and holidays. So if you generate bags of garbage on campus from a picnic or party, you must take it with you when you leave.

If you are outside and see a bear at a distance, just stay quiet and let it go about its business. Never approach a bear and NEVER get between a mother bear and her cubs. If you are on a trail and a bear approaches you, identify yourself as human by allowing the bear to see and hear you. The bear should divert its path and avoid you as they are more likely to be afraid of you than you are of them. 

Startled bears will often confront intruders by making woofing and teeth clacking sounds, salivating, laying their ears back, and slapping the ground with their paws. These are warnings for you to leave the area. In such a situation, backing away while keeping an eye on the bear usually addresses the animal's concern about your proximity to it. If a black bear does charge, stand your ground and do NOT run. Black bears often "bluff charge,"and you cannot outrun a bear. Throwing away a knapsack or camera bag may distract a bear long enough for you to make a safe exit.

If you believe you are going to be attacked by a black bear, the conventional wisdom is to make yourself as big and frightening as possible by raising your arms over your head and yelling loudly. If a black bear really does attack there are two schools of thought on responding:

1. Fight Back. There is no physical way you can win a fight with a black bear, so the fighting would simply be a way to try to deter the bear into thinking that the fight just isn't worth the energy...if you can, go for the bear's nose as it is most sensitive.

2. Play Dead. Since black bears generally attack because they feel threatened, it is believed that playing dead will make you non-threatening and convince the bear to back off. Try to protect the back of your neck with your hands as you lay on the ground, face down or on side, curled up into ball.

If you see a bear on campus or in the surrounding woodlands, please contact the LDEO Safety/Security Office by dialing 0 from any LDEO phone (or 845-359-2900 from your cell phone) so that we can alert others. Remember: Bear attacks are extremely rare, so don't be overly concerned.

Other Wild Animals

There are a number of other wild animals on campus which could be aggressive due to being ill, including having rabies. All animals are likely to bite out of fear if trapped. You should understand that typically, a healthy animal will do its best to avoid humans. Therefore, if you should be approached by an animal such as fox, raccoon, skunk, rabbit, squirrel, or even a chipmunk, particularly one that is normally nocturnal such as a raccoon or skunk, you should move away quickly and contact the Safety Office (dial 0 or call 845-359-2900) to apprise them of the situation.

Bees & Wasps

You should be especially careful of bees and wasps nesting. Some nest in the ground (particularly on the hillside along the staircase, behind Geoscience) or in a tree or building overhang. If you see a nest, you should stay clear, and then contact the Safety Office (dial 0 or call 845-359-2900). Because bee sting allergies can be built up in individuals by successive stings, one cannot assume that, having been stung before with no allergic reaction, one is still not allergic, and one should best seek aid in case an allergic reaction ensues.


Ticks could be encountered when you are walking off the paved trails. Ticks are potentially dangerous should you be bitten by one as they could transmit Lyme disease or other viral infections. If you walk on grassy areas or hike along any of the trails around campus, you should check yourself for ticks, and if bitten, seek medical attention. A tick bite MAY be indicated by a more-or-less circular, red bull’s eye circle around the bite. Immediate medical attention should be sought if you have been bitten by a tick or notice a bull’s-eye circle.


Most spiders can bite and spider bites can be painful. One particular spider, the Brown Recluse, although not confirmed to be on campus, has been found in this region and its bite is particularly dangerous as it dissolves human tissue. If you are bitten by a spider, you should try to capture it in a bag or cup, which will assist greatly in the treatment, then seek medical attention. 

Poisonous Vegetation

Poison ivy is widespread on the campus and it takes various forms, either as a shrub, ground cover, or tree climber. Often it is concealed, growing alongside the five-leafed Virginia Creeper vine. One very tell-tale sign of the plant is that there are tiny "root hairs" along the stem, which is what allows the plant to climb/creep. Also, the compound leaves of poison ivy consist of three pointed leaflets; the middle leaflet has a much longer stalk than the two side ones. The leaflet edges can be smooth or toothed, sometimes lobed. The leaves vary greatly in size, from 8 to 55 mm (0.31" to 2.16") in length.They are reddish when they emerge in the spring, turn green during the summer, and become various shades of yellow, orange, or red in autumn. Poison ivy vines, stems, and roots are still poisonous in autumn after loss of the leaves, as well as throughout the winter.