UCLA’s Office of Environment, Health & Safety
(EH&S) has received an award from the College Safety Health and Emergency Management Association (CSHEMA), recognizing its far-reaching accomplishments in the area of laboratory safety. In the past several years, the campus has dramatically enhanced these programs, increasing the number of inspections, strengthening policies on the required use of personal protective equipment and developing a hazard assessment tool that labs must update annually or whenever conditions change. Dozens of universities, regulatory agencies, private research operations and trade organizations have sought detailed information
about UCLA's lab safety programs and requested presentations by campus personnel.
In addition, the UC Center for Laboratory Safety
was established last year with the mission of improving the practice of laboratory safety through the performance of scientific research and implementation of best safety practices. James Gibson, EH&S director, serves as the center’s executive director. The center — believed to be the first of its kind in the country — aims to serve as a resource for other institutions, as UCLA emerges as a leader in developing programs intended to ensure safety in research labs.
The center held its first workshop
in March, attracting representatives of federal funding agencies and regulators, private companies and universities across the world. In June, the center partnered with other entities to distribute a survey
on lab safety and practices and attitudes.
Attention on academic lab safety has increased in recent years following well-publicized accidents at Yale, Texas Tech and UCLA.
"All of us at EH&S are very proud of the significant improvements we have made to our health and safety programs and are happy that our colleagues from other universities have recognized these efforts," Gibson said.
The College Safety Health and Emergency Management Association also honored UCLA EH&S with its Newsletter Award of Excellence for "News and Notes
." Published six times a year, the EH&S newsletter updates staff, faculty and students on new developments and issues of concern. Recent editions have included stories on proper storage of chemicals, a new ergonomic program to assist staff in the campus bakery and hot weather health tips.
In addition, CSHEMA awarded EH&S a "Solutions at Work" award for its new Hazard Assessment Tool for Shops (HATS) program, which enables staff to efficiently assess hazards and prepare a written report, as well as guiding next steps to ensuring greater safety in the future.
CSHEMA is an organization of nearly 1,000 professionals at campuses in the United States and around the world. The annual awards promote creative problem-solving by recognizing new approaches to difficult challenges in environment, health and safety.
The awards were presented at a recent conference in Portland, Ore.