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Important Laboratory Safety Updates

The offices of the Vice President for Research (VPR) and the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) would like to bring attention to several major recommendations and changes to lab safety programs around campus. The following items were reviewed by three different groups regarding lab safety culture, procedures, and compliance at the University of Utah: 

  • A review of Environmental Health & Safety functions was conducted by our peer institutions in Fall 2017.
  • A State Legislative Lab Safety Performance Audit was released in May 2019.
  • A Presidential Lab Safety Culture Task Force, led by Associate Vice President for Research Cynthia Furse, convened in 2018-2019 and just released its final report

The results and recommendations of these reviews call for additional processes to monitor safety compliance and address labs with repeat safety deficiencies. The university is in the process of implementing an enhanced laboratory management and mandatory training system, as well as a committee structure to support communication and review of safety policies and procedures. You can read the full Lab Safety Culture Task Force report here and a summary of the State Audit recommendations here.  

University students and employees do not need to wait until these changes are implemented or rely solely on inspections to improve safety on campus. If you ever have a concern with the safety of a task or operation, you have the right to stop work until your concerns are addressed.   The first course of action is to discuss it with your supervisor and address the issue together. If the response does not satisfy you, or you do not feel comfortable going to your supervisor, you may contact EHS or the VPR office. Concerns about lab safety can also be reported anonymously to EHS through the Hazard Near Miss Report online form.

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Last Updated: 4/13/21