This effort is intended to identify and overcome barriers to safety in our laboratories; develop and share best practices; streamline oversight processes to reduce administrative burden; and lead to the development and implementation of services, approaches, and tools that significantly improve laboratory chemical safety throughout the University.
Provost Baldasty has invited a pilot group of 90 labs, encompassing 33 scientific departments, to work with EH&S on the initiative. These 90 labs are representative of many complex laboratories using hazardous chemicals and have opportunities for improving their performance ratings. While all other research labs will continue to be surveyed for lab safety every 12-18 months, the pilot group will be surveyed three times over a 24-month period by EH&S professionals, who will work with them to provide coaching, tools, and expertise aimed at improving lab safety profiles. Support, such as the provision of personal protective equipment, recognition for high-performing labs, and other appropriate provisions, is being considered as incentive for participation in the pilot.
Lab Safety Performance Rating System
EH&S has selected 30 questions from its Lab Safety Checklist which focus on chemical safety, training and personal protective equipment to establish a lab safety performance rating. These questions are common to institutions performing laboratory safety programs and have been vetted by the advisory task as questions that would be well received and accepted by the research community and as areas with opportunity for improvement. The new version of the Lab Survey Dashboard allows PIs to view their individual lab’s safety performance rating, their department and college average, the UW-wide average, and the UW lab safety performance target.
Lab Safety Initiative Team Members
See the LSI Team Members page for more information on the UW community members and EH&S staff involved in the initiative.
Labs participating in the pilot group can anticipate spending a total of up to six hours on having their lab surveyed, responding to their survey report on the online Dashboard, and answering questionnaires over the next two years. The time spent on completing documentation, trainings, and correcting safety issues will vary from lab to lab, depending on what is necessary, and is not included in the time estimate. An additional two to three hours of mentoring and coaching by Tracy and Alex will also be offered per survey round.
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