The University of Iowa

SAFETYmatters - Laboratory Safety Review

Article published 08/31/2017

Recent incidents across the country are putting increased focus on laboratory operations and the responsibility of the Principal Investigator (PI) for their staff members’ safety. In an effort to improve overall laboratory safety, enhance communication, clarify expectations, and support PIs in promoting a culture of safety and compliance, the University of Iowa Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHS) is implementing a new follow-up procedure for its annual lab safety reviews, effective October 1, 2017:

  • Review findings will be classified as requiring immediate or 30-day resolution.
  • The safety advisor will review each deficiency and required corrective action in person with the laboratory representative and PI, if desired, and schedule a 30-day follow-up meeting.  If all corrective actions can be resolved through paperwork and email, a second meeting is not required.
  • The safety advisor will send a written report to the PI and appropriate lab staff clearly indicating each deficiency and the required corrective action.
  • At the 30-day follow-up meeting or through email communication, if applicable, the completed corrective actions will be reviewed and documented. Any remaining deficiencies will be identified on a second report that will be sent to the PI and appropriate lab staff and copied to the DEO, Health & Safety Coordinator (HSC), and EHS Director.
  • PI/lab managers must inform their safety advisors of any subsequent action to resolve outstanding deficiencies. EHS will not schedule additional follow-up meetings unless specifically requested by the PI.
  • At the end of each fiscal year, EHS will generate a report of all deficiencies not resolved by the 30-day follow-up visit; this report will be shared with the EHS Director, DEOs, and Sr. Asst. VP for Research.

Thank you for all you already do to help create a safe work environment for UI faculty, staff, and students.