Laboratory Safety Surveys


Laboratory safety surveys are routinely performed by EH&S safety professionals for all research and teaching laboratories. The purpose of these surveys is to assist researchers, employees and departments in identifying ways to:

  • Reduce the risk of injury and exposure

  • Decrease the risk of property loss

  • Lessen the likelihood of lost research

  • Minimize environmental damage


The lab survey provides guidance on training, personal protective equipment, chemical management, standard operating procedures, waste handling, safety equipment maintenance, signage, housekeeping and other general topics. Findings and suggestions are provided to the responsible parties and the responses are documented via an electronic dashboard.


The Laboratory Survey Process

Lab surveys are scheduled by EH&S for each room meeting the definition of a lab in a building or complex (in the case of Health Sciences and UW Bothell). The survey team routinely visits over 4,000 lab rooms (about 1,000 research and teaching groups) on the Seattle, South Lake Union, Friday Harbor and Bothell campuses, as well as labs located in off-site or leased buildings (e.g., Roosevelt, Harborview, Queen Anne, SODO).

The Chair, Director, or Head of a Department (Institute or Division) is notified by advance letter of the pending surveys in a building. The surveys are then scheduled with principal investigators (PIs), lab managers or other responsible party. Prior to the survey an email is sent to confirm the visit and to ask a number of general questions to learnsome of the specifics of the lab. The surveys take about an hour to complete, but may take longer if the space is large or complicated. The survey scheduling is organized to complete all of the labs for a department with a building or complex, and recur about every 15 months.

The surveys follow a standardized checklist (provided in advance) which includes explanations and regulatory references for the requirement around the yes/no/NA questions. The survey team may ask for corrections based on findings during the survey that suggest a need for a change in lab practice. The team will also provide consultations and suggestions during the survey, intended to help the lab find practical and sustainable ways to make changes that support a strong safety program.

Survey reports are typically provided within two days to the PI or other responsible party and the chemical hygiene officer. The electronic dashboard lists the questions that have a finding by the surveyor, provides a date field and comment field for lab responses, a field for EH&S acknowledgement of the lab information, and a safety rating based on 30 of the survey questions. If the lab has a rating above 85, the electronic dashboard can be used to generate an award certificate and an updated caution sign that includes the safety award emblem.

Note:  If a serious or imminent hazard is identified while performing a safety survey, EH&S would immediately escalate the matter to assure prompt resolution.


More Information

Services available

EH&S provides the following services:

  • Routine safety surveys

  • Consultations about lab safety practices

Refer to the Laboratory Safety Manual for detailed information on lab safety practices



Team Member




Tracy Harvey

Lab Safety Manager, CHO


Alex Hagen

Compliance Analyst


John Kushleika

Safety Professional 2


Jose Villegas

Safety Professional 1



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Generally not, as EH&S performs lab surveys on a schedule and annually evaluates all research and teaching labs. 

However, PIs are encouraged to notify EH&S when setting up a new lab or moving to a new location so they can be added to the survey scheduled for their building. Consultation can be provided at that time if requested.

Keep in mind that a lab can conduct a self-inspection at any time.