Burke Researchers

Environmental Health and Safety provides a variety of services for researchers at the Burke-Cornell Medical Research Institute. Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) is responsible for developing, maintaining and promoting policies, procedures and programs necessary to maintain a safe and healthy environment for students, faculty, staff and the visiting public, and to ensure that the research institute’s operations are in compliance with federal, New York State and Westchester County environmental health and safety codes and regulations.

For accidents or any emergency that requires medical attention - immediately call 911 and request an ambulance.

For spills or to report an accident that does not require medical attention - call the WCMC EHS 24-hour service line: (646) 962-7233

For help with all other EHS-related issues, please contact a respective EHS staff member: Gian Joseph or Paul Kane (see below).

In addition, EHS takes appropriate steps to ensure that problems are identified and resolved in a timely manner. EHS coordinates reviews by and responses to external agencies, many of which have the authority to cite, impose civil penalties, restrict or rescind operations, or remove or disapprove accreditation.

Staff Schedule and Expertise

Our EHS office is located in Billings (Building 4) Basement, Room B11 and is staffed from Tuesday to Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Our staff information, schedules on BMRI campus, are as follows:

Safety Advisor: Gian Joseph
On Campus: Tuesday and Thursday
Phone: (914) 368-3144
Email: gij4003@med.cornell.edu

Safety Advisor: Paul Kane
On Campus:
Wednesday and Friday
Phone: (914) 368-3144

Biological Safety

  • bloodborne pathogens
  • IBC laboratory registration assistance/guidance
  • annual laboratory audit
  • biosafety equipment
  • biological material/dry ice shipping (HazMat shipping): assistance, guidance and training
  • vector biosafety training
  • sharps waste collections
  • biological waste guidance

Chemical/General Safety

  • laboratory outreach and inspections (research safety checklist)
  • chemical hood inspections
  • chemical and general safety equipment
  • accident investigation
  • hazardous waste collection and disposal
  • health and safety door signs
  • industrial hygiene and exposure monitoring
  • respiratory protection
  • ChemTracker

Safety at Burke

Environmental Health and Safety develops and maintains a comprehensive safety program that encompasses all areas of the research institute’s activities. These safety programs are vital to our mission of maintaining a safe environment for the faculty, staff, students and visitors. EHS provides guidance documents and has safety specialist/technicians available to provide personalized assistance in many areas of safety including:

Biological Safety

The fundamental objective of the Weill Cornell Medicine biological safety program is the containment of potentially harmful biological agents. This primary objective is also implemented at Burke Medical Research Institute. Containment can be achieved by following good microbiological practices, having appropriately designed facilities and available safety equipment for managing infectious materials. Abiding by biological safety principles and containment practices will provide a safe working environment for all personnel, by reducing or eliminating potential exposures, and ensuring that the work being done does not impact the environment.

EHS provides a full range of biological safety services, including:

Quick Links
Frequently Asked Questions
Biological Safety Cabinet Certifiers

Chemical Safety

The goal of the chemical safety program is to provide a safe environment and to protect employees from potential exposure to the chemicals used in the research institute. This program provides information and guidelines to addresses proper use, handling and storage of chemicals mandated by federal, state and local regulations. This program encompasses the PDF icon chemical hygiene program for laboratories, and the PDF icon hazard communication program.

For additional information, training and standard operating procedures for the safe handling and storage of chemicals, see below:

Quick Links
Frequently Asked Questions

General Safety

Environmental Health and Safety is committed to the wellbeing of the research institute’s faculty, staff and visitors - this means actively identifying and preventing many different types of workplace hazards, from the equipment we work with to the air we breathe. Whether you work at a desk, a laboratory benchtop, or with operational machinery, an unsafe working condition could cause injury or illness from acute or chronic exposures. In order to protect our community, EHS maintains ongoing programs that monitor numerous hazards such as:

  • physical hazards including: noise, equipment and machinery hazards, electrical hazards, fall hazards, and confined spaces.
  • chemical hazards: the chemical hazard communication program has been established to promote a safe work atmosphere for all employees that handle, or come in contact with, hazardous materials in the course of their daily work activity.
  • electrical safety
  • noise
  • musculoskeletal hazards:
    • ergonomics is the science of fitting workplace conditions and job demands to the capabilities of the working population. Proper ergonomic conditions can both increase work productivity and satisfaction, as well as prevent musculoskeletal injuries to workers. Poor ergonomic conditions can be a problem in many types of work, including clerical, clinical and laboratory jobs. EHS is available to provide guidance on proper ergonomic design and work conditions.

Quick Links
Frequently Asked Questions

Radiation Safety

The Radiation Safety Office enforces and maintains safety standards within the institution. Services provided to Burke Medical Research Institute include radionuclide ordering, annual radiation safety training, laboratory safety audits, contamination checks, sealed source leak testing, inventory control, waste management, personnel monitoring and licensing. A comprehensive PDF icon Radiation Safety Manual is available to all personnel online, and provides guidance and technical references for the proper handling, storage and disposal of radioactive materials, as well as emergency contact information and procedures.

Quick Links
Chemical and Radiological Emergency Response
Decay-in-Storage Policy and Procedure
Guide to Becoming a Radioactive Material Authorized User
User Guide for Isotope Management in Laboratories
Survey Instruments for Laboratories
Frequently Asked Questions

PPE Requirements

Laboratory coats are a critical component to worker protection in laboratory, clinical and patient care areas. All researchers and visitors who conduct the following work activities must be provided a laboratory coat:

  • work in laboratories
  • handle biological, chemical or radiological materials and waste
  • handle human blood, tissue, cell lines or other potentially infectious materials
  • direct contact with patients
  • handle clinical specimens
Respiratory Protection

There are some workplaces with chemical, particulate or biological air contaminants, or areas that may have oxygen deficient atmospheres, where the need for respiratory protection may be required. While a respirator can be an effective method of protection if selected properly and fitted to the user, it can also cause undue physical stress on a person’s body or create a false sense that one is working safely if utilized incorrectly. For these reasons, the Occupational Safety and Health Department (OSHA) requires employers to develop and maintain a respiratory protection program, to manage how respirators are selected and how employees are evaluated for and trained to use a respirator. For additional information, see the PDF icon EHS Respiratory Protection Program Manual.

If you believe that you need a respirator, or you have been told to get fit-tested for a respirator, you will need to be medically cleared and given a respirator fit-test. Researchers can arrange for a fit-test by contacting Environmental Health and Safety.


Training is an important component of an overall effective environmental health and safety program. Environmental Health and Safety has streamlined the safety training programs to provide both core safety training programs and specialized safety training programs to specifically meet the needs of Burke researchers.

The core safety training programs are designed to provide the research institute community safety with training tailored to the environment. These customized training sessions will allow employees to meet all safety training requirements, excluding work activities outlined in the specialized safety training programs. Core safety training programs include:

  • Laboratorians: Laboratory Safety Training

    This training is conducted once per year. All researchers of the institution participates and fulfill their annual laboratory safety training requirements. Training information will be emailed in advance to all researchers, who are urged to attend in order to stay in compliance with the requirements of the research institute. 

    New researchers must contact a Burke general safety specialist to set up additional laboratory safety training sessions and fulfill the requirements of the research institute. 

    Online Laboratory Safety Refresher Training: In order to complete online laboratory safety refresher training, a researcher must have attended an initial laboratory safety training session and have a valid CWID (WCM username).

Instructions for Burke Employees

The following instructions are provided to help register for EHS instructor-led and web-based training sessions in the Weill Learning Management System:

  1. Log in to the Weill Business Gateway.
  2.  On the new tile-based menu, click on the Learning-My Courses tile.  
  3. A new window will pop up. Select Weill Cornell Medicine as your institution.
  4. The Success Factors learning platform main menu will now open. On the Find Learning section on the right side of the screen, enter the name of the desired training, then click on Browse All Courses.
  5. A list of results will appear. You may also find the desired training by using the Category search filter, or by selecting "Environmental Health and Safety" under the Subject Area filter on the left side of the screen.
  6. Click on View Course Dates to review the time and location of each training.
  7. Click Assign to Me to register for the training. A "Weill Cornell Course Enrollment Confirmation" email will be sent with training details.
  8. Attend the instructor-led or online training session. Depending on the course, a quiz may be required to obtain full certification.

ITS has created Help Files to help navigate this process. Contact ITS for additional assistance logging into and using WTMS. Contact EHS with any questions related to the course content.

Instructions for External Affiliate Users/Non-Burke Employees (e.g. Visitors, Volunteers, and Interns)

Please note: WCM has implemented new Identity Management and Learning Management systems organization-wide. These new platforms require the creation of a Center Wide Identifier (CWID) prior to registering for training.

Please follow the instructions below in order to request a CWID.

Burke Medical Research Institute Employees: please contact Marlee Dickinson or Katrina Wonorswki in order to have a CWID created. Once the CWID is generated and activated, it can be used to register for EHS training programs onsite and online.

Once you have received an email confirmation of CWID creation, proceed to:

  1. Log in to the Learning Management System.
  2. On the Find Learning section on the right side of the screen, enter the name of the desired training, then click on Browse All Courses.
  3. A list of results will appear. You may also find the desired training by using the Category search filter, or by selecting "Environmental Health and Safety" under the Subject Area filter on the left side of the screen.
  4. Click on View Course Dates to review the time and location of each training.
  5. Click Assign to Me to register for the training. A "Weill Cornell Course Enrollment Confirmation" email will be sent with training details.
  6. Attend the instructor-led or online training session. Depending on the course, a quiz may be required to obtain full certification.

Note: Contact EHS if you have a valid CWID and believe you have completed an initial laboratory safety training session, but the online refresher training is not available to you in myCertificates. EHS may not have your CWID listed in our training records, and as such myCertificates is restricting access to the online refresher training.

The specialized safety training programs must also be completed for those who conduct the following specialized work activities:

  • Radiation Safety
    This training is conducted once per year. All researchers of the institution participate and fulfill their annual radiation safety training requirement. Training information will be emailed in advance to all researchers, who are urged to attend in order to stay in compliance with the requirements of the research institute.

    New researchers must contact a Burke radiation safety specialist to set up additional radiation safety training sessions and fulfill the requirements of the research institute.
  • Vector Biosafety
    Vector biosafety involves a specialized biosafety presentation for laboratorians working with viral vectors, such as lentiviruses and adenoviruses. (Contact a Burke EHS biosafety specialist for more information)
  • Biological Material and Dry Ice Shipments
    Specialized training for safe packaging and shipping of biological materials and dry ice in compliance with regulatory agencies, including the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Department of Transport (DOT), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The training includes general awareness and familiarization (videos), function-specific training, and security awareness. The prerequisite for this training is "bloodborne pathogen" training (for all shippers who handle human blood, body fluids, tissues or human cell lines). Participation is required once every two years for all employees, graduate students, principal investigators, technicians and post-doctoral fellows packaging, preparing shipping documents, shipping or transporting biological materials, patient specimens and/or dry ice. 

    Training records are available to confirm who has completed the EHS biological material and dry ice shipment training within the past 24 months. To schedule biological material and dry ice shipment training, contact a Burke EHS biosafety specialist.

In general, training records and training certificates (PDF icon click here for exampleare available for training sessions provided by EHS. Contact Environmental Health and Safety to request information about other EHS-related courses, or request a training certificate.

Exposure and Accident Reporting

Immediately call 911 and request an ambulance or report to 41 East Post Road, for life threatening or incapacitating injuries. As soon as possible, notify EHS: (646) 962-7233 and the victim’s supervisor of the incident. All significant accidents or injuries, even those not requiring medical attention, must be reported using the Microsoft Office document icon Burke Rehabilitation Hospital Employee Accident/Incident Form. It must be completed by the victim and supervisor, and submitted to Human Resources.

EHS has developed an PDF icon exposure and spill response guide tailored for researchers at Burke. Please review and become familiar with our protocols in the event of an exposure or spill. Consider placing a copy of this guide in the laboratory to serve as a quick reference in cases of emergencies.

Salute Chemical Inventory and Storage

All laboratories at Burke Research Institute are required to maintain a complete inventory of all chemicals, and report annually on the types, quantities and locations where these chemicals are being stored and used at the institute. On an annual basis, a chemical inventory must be submitted to EHS.

To assist in this process, EHS provides members of the Burke Research Institute with access to Salute, a web-based EHS management system that allows authorized users to access and edit their chemical inventory. Chemical owners and their delegates may update chemical inventory information, prepare inventory reports, and obtain chemical safety information through the system. View step-by-step instructions on how to view and manage your inventory in Salute.

Salute Chemical Inventory and Storage allows users to:

  • Track all chemicals by location, owner, container and other criteria.
  • Link directly to Material Safety Data Sheets and additional safety information.
  • Look up hazard, toxicological and physical references.
  • Save money and space by reducing or eliminating unnecessary purchases.
  • List chemicals in surplus, and search for other surplus chemicals.
  • Increase efficiency by making chemicals easy to locate.
  • Identify chemicals with specific shelf life and storage requirements.
  • Assists chemical users in properly segregating and storing chemicals.
New Chemical Owners and Users

Please contact your EHS Safety Advisor.

Chemical Inventory (Salute) Manual

Hazard Communication: Health and Safety Door Signs

EHS creates health and safety door signs for posting outside all entrances to Burke laboratories from common areas (i.e. general hallways). These provide staff, visitors and emergency responders with pertinent information including hazard warnings, laboratory access restrictions and emergency contact information specific to Burke. Signs are updated every three years, as necessary, or per request. If the laboratory does not have the door sign or it needs to be updated, please contact your Safety Advisor.

Waste Disposal

Several types of wastes, including chemical, biological, recyclable and radioactive, are generated in the clinical and research operations throughout Burke Medical Research Institute. As such, these waste materials must be properly managed by personnel ("generators") within their work areas prior to collection and/or disposal.

Quick Reference

Sharps waste collection primarily occurs on Tuesdays and Thursdays. To request sharps waste collection, please complete the Sharps Collection Request Form.

Chemical waste collection primarily occurs on Wednesdays and Fridays. To request chemical/hazardous waste collection, please complete the Chemical Collection Request Form.

Radiological waste collection primarily occurs on Wednesdays and Fridays. To request radiological waste collection, please contact Jonathan Ruiz: jwr2001@med.cornell.edu or (914) 368-3145.

Waste Disposal Procedures have been established to provide generators with guidance for the proper management of chemical, biological, recyclable and radioactive wastes. Special consideration must be taken when wastes consist of a mixture of chemical, biological and/or radiological materials (e.g., mixed wastes). Generators must ensure that these mixed wastes are properly assessed, managed and disposed in accordance with the chemical, biological and radiological waste management procedures.

For additional information and guidance regarding waste disposal requirements for Burke researchers, refer to the links below:

Waste Disposal Manuals and Guides

EHS has developed a variety of manuals and guides that help guide laboratorians, clinicians and other personnel safely handle and dispose of materials that they may encounter while at work.

Quick Links
Frequently Asked Questions


The import, export and shipment of chemicals, biological materials and radioactive materials are highly regulated by federal and international agencies including:

  • International Air Transport Association (IATA)
  • U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
  • United States Postal Service (USPS)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA)
  • U.S. Department of Human and Health Services (HHS)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • U.S. Department of Commerce
  • U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife

Only trained shipping personnel are authorized to prepare packages and related shipping documents. EHS provides specialized shipper training for biological materials and dry ice, which enables laboratory and clinical personnel to initiate shipments of these materials. All other shipments of chemical and radiological materials must be completed by Environmental Health and Safety unless otherwise directed by EHS.

Quick Links
Standards and Guidance Documents
Frequently Asked Questions

For assistance with shipment of biological, chemical or radioactive materials, contact a Burke EHS biosafety specialist.

Information Resources

EHS Burke

Contact Us

Go to the staff directory for individual contacts within EHS. You may also use the Weill Cornell Medicine online directory to search for faculty and staff.

Create an EHS Incident


Weill Cornell Medicine Environmental Health and Safety 402 East 67th Street
Room LA-0020
New York, NY 10065 Phone: (646) 962-7233 Fax: (646) 962-0288