Pilot Lab/Shop/Studio Safety Surveys


8/8/2023 - Due to personnel changes, EHS Laboratory/Shop/Studio Safety Surveys are currently on hold. EHS encourages groups to carry out self or peer-inspections using the checklists below in the interim.

In the spirit of transparency, responses to concerns and edits to the safety surveys and process will be listed at the bottom of this page. These clarifications and modifications are thanks to your constructive feedback. Thank you!

Request for Volunteers

EHS is looking for volunteers to pilot its new Laboratory/Shop/Studio Safety Surveys.

These surveys cover a variety of topics and hazards commonly encountered in lab/shop/studio spaces. These surveys are intended to help groups fix what safety concerns they can on their own as well as gather information that may help support you in your efforts to secure funding. Surveys are not punitive.

Piloting the surveys with volunteers will help EHS identify poorly crafted questions, identify gaps in EHS’s programming, and allow faculty and staff to address additional concerns that you may have before the rollout of the finalized Safety Surveys.

There is a scoring component to the survey. This safety rating calculation is based on methods established at the University of Washington (UW). By utilizing the same scoring system as UW, WWU EHS is able to compare ratings across institutions in order to better support our safety programs. See the Safety Survey Rating Calculation.

See 1/19/2022 Update. Safety Survey Rating Calculation no longer in use.

Even if you are not wanting to complete a survey at this time, you are welcome to provide feedback on the checklists to ehs@wwu.edu

The Survey Process

Safety Surveys are anticipated to take approximately 60-90 minutes depending on the hazards present and size of your space.

EHS's Laboratory Safety Consultant will survey your space with you and ask pertinent safety related questions.

The exact questions on the survey will depend on the type of space you work in. EHS currently has three survey checklists in development:

It is completely up to faculty how they want the pilot surveys done: you can have it done 1:1 or have all personnel present; you can do your entire space or just a portion of your space. This pilot program is meant to be flexible and supportive.

Upon completion of the survey, the surveyor will email their report no later than the following business day to the faculty member. The report will contain recommendations and corrective actions for any safety concerns identified and explanation of the quantitative scoring. At this point in time, all survey results will remain confidential between EHS and the faculty member whose space was surveyed. It is up to the faculty member whether they want to share the report with others.

See 1/19/2022 Update. Safety Survey Rating Calculation no longer in use.

How to Schedule your Survey

8/8/2023 - Due to personnel changes, EHS Laboratory/Shop/Studio Safety Surveys are currently on hold. EHS encourages groups to carry out self or peer-inspections using the checklists. We will update this page when scheduling can resume.

Update Log

Due to personnel changes, scheduling of laboratory/shop/studio safety surveys are currently on hold. 

  • A question will be added to the Supplemental Section asking about use of phenol and whether there is a phenol first aid kit available. The kit should be comprised of proper PPE and either 70% isopropyl alcohol or low molecular weight polyethylene glycol (PEG 300 or PEG 400).
  • EHS is in the process of developing a peroxide-forming chemical handling guide in response to inconsistent handling across campus. Laboratory Safety Survey - #57 will remain. #57a in the Supplemental Section will be removed.
  • The quantitative scoring element "Safety Survey Rating Calculation" will be nixed. Safety surveys are intended to be supportive rather than punitive, and the use of a scoring element detracted from this intent. 
  • Laboratory Safety Survey - #73 - Discussed need/desire for a more formalized lab coat laundering/loan service. This will be discussed within EHS and with other stakeholders. Wording will be revised to read, "Are lab coats and other washable materials laundered according to a schedule and whenever soiled?"
  • Laboratory Safety Survey - #24 - Discussed that in lab buildings without air conditioning, it is a difficult expectation to require long pants in the summertime when temperatures within the building are high. While we recognize and do not mean to minimize the hazard that heat plays, EHS still maintains that long pants must be a part of standard lab attire, year round. We will work with groups to identify alternative cooling solutions, and we will collect ongoing longitudinal data on the temperature of lab spaces during the summer months and revise recommendations as appropriate. This question will remain worded as is. 
  • Laboratory Safety Survey - #28 - Asked what a "Class A" first aid kit is. This is in reference to ANSI Z308.1, which details what should be included in workplace first aid kits. Question will be re-worded to include the standard.
  • Laboratory Safety Survey - #47 - Clarified that hazardous material quantity limits are a shared responsibility across all groups in a specified control area. Question will remain worded as is. 
  • Laboratory Safety Survey - #16 - Clarified that secondary container labelling is for materials lasting more than one work shift. Small sample vials/containers may have shorthand labelling, however, there should be a key to determine container contents. Wording will be updated to clarify these exceptions.
  • Laboratory Safety Survey - #20 - Specific regulated trainings will be moved to the add-on/supplemental question section.
  • Laboratory Safety Survey - #28 - Adding language to include that first aid kits are inspected and re-stocked regularly.
  • Laboratory Safety Survey - #78 - Adding language to specify that extension cords are only to be used for temporary wiring for 90 days or less. 
  • Laboratory Safety Survey - #80 - Rewording question to, "Are wiring and electrical cords in good condition?"
  • Laboratory Safety Survey - Seismic Safety - Including an additional question. "Is shelving storage over 6’ high anchored to the floor or wall?"