Set up a shared space

A shared space is one used by multiple research groups for a common purpose (e.g., a warm room, cold room, autoclave room, etc.). 

Shared spaces provide many benefits including cost savings, efficiencies, and knowledge-sharing. They also pose a unique set of risks that need to be managed to ensure that the workplace is safe for everyone. Some spaces may have multiple groups working on separate projects. Others may have many disciplines collaborating on a single project. Here are three ways to increase safety in your shared space:

1. Assign Responsibility

Assign a safety designate for the shared space. This person should be a member of one of the research groups in the space and may be a Chair, Director, Supervisor, Foreman, or Senior Principal Investigator. A safety designate is responsible to:

  • Coordinate communication efforts
  • Organize shared tasks such as eye washing, lab inspections, and equipment preventative maintenance
  • Oversee the development of a lab orientation and lab emergency procedures.

2. Communicate between groups

Communicate to ensure that all members in a shared space are made aware of rules, responsibilities, hazards and controls, and other important items. Effective methods of communication include group meetings, notice boards, signage, and orientations.

3. Be Accountable

Health and safety is everyone’s responsibility. The safety designate and other supervisors must assign shared space responsibilities to occupants and monitor completion. Set deadlines and hold personnel accountable to those deadlines. With everyone working together towards the same goal, everyone involved will benefit.

How to register a shared space in ARISE

Register a shared space


  1. Register the space as one of your locations in the HSE database; include the shared space as one of the locations that you register, but do not print a hazard sign for that space.
Prepare a hazard sign (one per shared space)


  1. Assign a primary and secondary contact for the space. The contacts must already be registered as a primary or secondary contact in ARISE (formerly REMO) but can come from any of the research groups registered in the space.
  2. Create a "dummy" registration for the shared space. Default to the highest level of hazard and controls in the space (e.g. containment level, radiation hazard classification, PPE).
  3. As a group, agree that the hazard sign accurately reflects hazards and controls in the space.
  4. Print a hazard sign for the shared space and post it on the door.

NOTE: The primary or secondary contact must register the space, but registration must involve input from each of the research groups using the shared space.