The UC Center for Laboratory Safety (UCCLS) was established in March 2011 in the wake of a 2008 accident at UCLA, which led to the death of a researcher experimenting with a pyrophoric substance. While implementing changes to UCLA’s research lab safety, it became clear that no data existed to evaluate safety measures objectively. Currently, research on accident rates and laboratory safety in academic institutions is scarce. As a consequence, the effectiveness of safety policies as a basis for improving safety is unclear. UCCLS aims to fill this gap by conducting and promoting research on laboratory safety.
UCCLS aims to positively impact lab safety practices and lab safety culture in research laboratories through:
- Supporting innovative research in laboratory safety
- Publishing outcomes from lab safety research in peer-reviewed journals that are widely available to stakeholders
- Opening communication between EH&S experts and researchers by hosting lab safety workshops aimed at problem solving
- Supporting training programs in lab safety
UCCLS is funded by the UCLA Chancellor’s office, by a Center of Excellence grant from the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) and by Safety Training Consortium funds. UCLS workshops were co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation, BioRAFT, Fisher Scientific, Mission Linens, Du Pont and WorkRite.
Workshops on Laboratory Safety
UCCLS promotes lab safety discussions between EH&S experts and faculty, students and staff working in research labs through biannual workshops. Workshops were held 2012 and 2014 in Irvine California. Post-meeting surveys indicated that 76% of the attendees changed their perception about lab safety: EH&S experts gained a “better understanding of the PI perspective”; researchers realized "that EH&S people are passionate about safety”. The 2016 Workshop Safety by Design, was held at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus in Bethesda, MD. The 2018 Laboratory Safety Workshop was held in Chicago, IL and was co-organized by UCCLS, UCOP, Northwestern University and the American Chemical Society (ACS). Like previous workshops, the 2018 worshop included academic talks, a breakout session and a poster session.
International Survey on Laboratory Safety Practices
UCCLS conducted an international survey on laboratory safety practices in partnership with BioRAFT and Nature Publishing Group. The initial analysis of the survey was published in Nature News in 2013 followed by a more in-depth analysis, which is published in J. Chemical Health and Safety, 2016 .
Research projects funded by UCCLS seed grants
- Tracking signs and consequences of a changing lab safety culture (PI: S. Silbey, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) (2012)
- Identification of chemical and procedural hazards associated with pharmaceutical compounding tasks at health teaching science laboratories and formulating risk mitigation strategies (PI: O. Ersin, Manchester Univ. College of Pharmacy) (2012)
- Risk assessment of humans working with mice treated with carcinogen tamoxifen and chemical toxin BrdU (PI: N. Wayne, University of California, Los Angeles) (2012)
- Evidence-based strategies for disinfectant selections (PI: G. Lawson, University of California, Los Angeles) (2012)
- Assessing nanoparticle exposure and engineering controls during synthesis and processing of novel composites containing carbon nanotubes (PI: D. Bello, University of Massachusetts, Lowell) (2015)
Promote lab safety through training and Lessons Learned