Work Policies

Job Hazard Analysis (JHA)

  • A JHA is a 3-column form used to list the steps involved in a hazardous activity, identify the risks and layout the controls to be used to prevent accidents and injury.
  • Discuss your research plan with your STRI sponsor and your facility's Scientific Coordinator to determine the risk level of your projected activities.
  • Visitors must review and follow existing JHAs for common research activities that are considered middle to high risk. Contact your Facility Scientific Coordinator.
  • To conduct a new middle to high risk activity, you must submit a new JHA to the Safety Office or your facility's Scientific Coordinator, prior to commencing the activity.
  • Working at heights above 6 ft (cranes, trees, towers, elevated platform, or roof-top), is considered hazardous work. If you plan to work at such heights, complete a JHA form stating the hazards and control strategies and submit it to the Facility's Scientific Coordinator (
  • You can find a blank JHA form at:

Smithsonian Work Policies

Use of STRI Vehicles

  • All drivers must be authorized to drive by the STRI Installation Administrator prior to using a STRI vehicle.
  • In order to drive a STRI vehicle, the driver will need to comply with the STRI Vehicle Use Policy.

Use of STRI Boats

  • All small boat operators must hold a Panamanian goverment (ACP or AMP) license to operate small boats. You will need a license from ACP to operate boats in the Panama Canal Waters. You will need an AMP license to operate boats outside Panama Canal waters. You must be authorized by the STRI facility's Coordinators prior to using a STRI boat and comply with the STRI Small Boat Use Guide (pdf).
  • In addition, Bocas has specific regulations and policies for boat operations - Bocas Regulations and Policies (pdf).
  • Check with the BCI Facility Coordinator to get familiar with boat regulations and policies there.
  • Only researchers with a valid boat license are authorized to drive a boat.

Scientific Diving

  • STRI has a scientific diving program coordinated by the STRI Scientific Diving Officer.
  • All diving activities conducted under STRI auspices, including the use of STRI diving equipment, must be pre-approved and included in a dive plan authorized by the STRI Diving Officer.
  • The SI diving policy known as SI Directive 120 is available at:
  • Recreational diving at STRI facilities is not permited.

Use of STRI Laboratory Facilities or Laboratory Equipment

  • Speak with your PI, lab manager, supervisor or facility Coordinator about the Laboratory Safety Plan (LSP) and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the lab where you will be working.
  • Review and sign your laboratory's LSP that includes SOPs for common tasks.
  • If your activity involves using a new piece of equipment or new chemical with high or medium hazard level, write a SOP for it and include it in the LSP.

Use of Hazardous Chemicals

  • If you will be using any hazardous chemicals, review the STRI Hazard Communication Plan (pdf).
  • Some general operating procedures include:
    • Review the information in the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) prior to working with the hazardous chemical.
    • Ensure fume hoods and other engineering controls are operating properly before using them.
    • Minimize exposure using adequate personal protective equipment (PPE).

Related links

Facility Related links