Incident Reporting

Reporting lab incidents in a timely manner is a crucial part of the research process, and it's required by both the National Institutes of Health Guidelines and the University of Minnesota.

Incident reports help to protect the health and safety of researchers, lab staff, university employees, the general public, and the environment. Incident reports are also key to assessing the University's essential training and resource needs. Principal investigators (PIs), students, and lab supervisors/staff can submit reports.

Contact us at or (612) 626-2161 if you need help determining whether the incident is reportable or if you do not have access to eProtocol.

What to Report

According to the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules (r/sNAs), incidents that must be reported include "any significant problems, violations of the NIH Guidelines, or any significant research-related accidents and illnesses." The UMN IBC reviews research and teaching activities involving r/sNAs, infectious agents, and biologically-derived toxins.

Thus, incidents, as described above, from research or teaching activities that involve potentially hazardous biological agents subject to IBC purview must be reported.

If your incident involves a research or teaching activity that is not subject to IBC oversight, please report your incident to Health, Safety, and Risk Management (HSRM); the biological safety officer; the greenhouse or animal facility director (where applicable); or other appropriate authorities. Contact us if you need assistance in figuring out who to notify.

Examples of incidents involving r/sNAs or other potentially hazardous biological agent:

  • Spill of a culture outside a biosafety cabinet
  • Injury with a needle
  • Aerosol exposure
  • Illness from an infectious agent used in your lab
  • Breach of containment
  • Escape or improper disposition of a transgenic animal
  • a research activity not approved by the IBC prior to initiation

How to Report

Incident reports should be filled out and submitted as soon as possible after accident response procedures have been followed.

If an incident occurred while performing work described in an approved IBC application, please submit an incident report within eProtocol. See the Incident Reporting Job Aid for help with this process.

If you do not have access to eProtocol, or don’t know if the work is described in an approved IBC application, please fill out an Incident Report form and email it to