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.