The Campus Safety, Health, and Environmental Association (CSHEMA) has named its 2018 class of winners for the Campus Leaders Who Care Award in recognition of their work to enhance laboratory and research safety at universities across the country. The Campus Leaders Award, which recognizes senior university leaders advancing health and safety issues on campus, aims to spotlight innovative research safety practices and drive broader awareness of lab safety as an oft-overlooked but critically important issue. APLU and CSHEMA partnered to recognize these outstanding programs. Kacy Redd, APLU’s Assistant Vice President of STEM Education Policy, served as an applicant reviewer for the awards.
Donald Sundgren, Associate Vice President and Chief Facilities Officer at the University of Virginia, is the winner of the Campus Leaders Who Care Award.
The APLU Task Force on Lab Safety in 2016 unveiled A Guide to Implementing a Safety Culture in Our Universities to spur university action on research safety and provide a how-to guide for presidents and chancellors to create a campus-wide effort to strengthen research safety culture. The guide has action steps, resources, and recommendations to help navigate the challenge of changing the culture of the institution. The guide is continually updated with new news reports and resources.
In addition to the Campus Leaders Who Care Award, CSHEMA awards the Innovation Award to honor institutions that have implemented innovative process improvements, resource enhancements, or initiatives that improve the safety culture on campus. The 2018 Innovation Award winners are Arizona State University; the University of California, Irvine; the University of California, Riverside; and Washington University.
In applying for the Innovation Award, institutions profiled the innovative safety practices that garnered the national recognition. All the winning institutions’ profiles are available on the CSHEMA Research Safety Awards page of the APLU website. The profiles include rich detail on methods, implementation, cost, and applicability of research safety initiatives. APLU institutions are encouraged to review both the Innovation Award winners’ profiles and the guide to implementing a culture of campus safety as they design efforts aimed at improving research safety on campus.
Designed for university presidents and chancellors who have pledged to commit their university to a renewed culture of research safety, the guide and accompanying website include 20 recommendations, each with an analysis of the alignment of the recommendation with other foundational reports, reading lists, tools, strategies, illustrative examples, and/or best practices drawn from a community of stakeholders. These resources were selected to help an appointed campus team navigate the process of strengthening their culture of safety.
In breaking the guidelines and website into 20 recommendations, the task force sought to provide a foundational resource that can be used by institutions regardless of the current practices they have in place to ensure research safety. Specifically, the guidelines seek to help research universities: 1) understand practical steps in implementing a ‘culture of safety’ in their laboratories; 2) document their commitment to laboratory safety excellence in order to benchmark against leading practice; 3) document their compliance with national, state, and institutional laboratory policies; 4) showcase their dedication to preventing and managing injury of individuals performing laboratory activities; and 5) limit the liability of college and university leadership by meeting established standards of excellence, including implementing mechanisms to document an institution’s commitment to developing and preserving a culture of safety and compliance.
The Task Force on Laboratory Safety, which APLU created in coordination with the Association of American Universities (AAU), the American Chemical Society (ACS), and the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR), is comprised of senior research officers, environmental health and safety officers, faculty, and industry and national laboratory representatives.