2023 Laboratory Safety Awards and Innovations Event


The 2023 Laboratory Safety Awards & Innovations Event honored 22 labs, departments, and individuals to recognize their significant contributions to fostering a strong culture of safety in University laboratories.  

Katia Harb, senior director of Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S), gave the opening remarks for the event. Provost Tricia Serio was one of the guest speakers, and Dr. Forrest Michael, the current chair of the Institutional Chemical and Physical Safety Committee (ICAPS), gave the closing remarks.

Several guest speakers from the UW’s research community talked about the role safety plays in their work.

  • Virginia Engel, the lab manager of the environmental engineering labs in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering talked about the QR code system she developed to improve chemical inventory

    lab safety awards recipients
    Katia Harb, Dian Gay, Virginia Engel, David Perkel, Forrest Michael, Tricia Serio, Tracy Harvey, Alex Hagen, Zara Llewellyn (left to right)

    management practices in her department.

  • David Perkel, professor in and chair of the Biology department, described the work his department has done this past year in partnership with EH&S to improve safety in teaching labs.
  • Dian Gay, the director of resources and facilities management for Applied Physics Laboratory, spoke about effective strategies she has utilized to improve safety in APL’s spaces, which can be complex given they are used for research, fabrication, and field work equipment.

View the slides from the guest speaker presentations.

The Laboratory Safety Awards & Innovations Event is an opportunity to recognize groups and individuals who have initiated practices or tools to improve safety in their workspaces. EH&S hosts the Laboratory Safety Awards & Innovations Event every two years. UW researchers and personnel who work in a lab can submit their own innovations directly to EH&S for recognition; in addition to the safe work practices that are noted during EH&S visits to labs. The innovation posters are displayed during the event and can be accessed through our website. We provide them to inspire others to enhance their own practices.

Award recipients, announced in November 2023, were from all three UW campuses and are listed on the EH&S website.

Top Dawgs in Safety Awards were given to departments from various schools and colleges who are meeting safety expectations. Pack Leaders in Safety Awards were given to principal investigators or responsible parties and their research groups who not only meet safety expectations but also engage in enhancing the culture of safety within their lab by being proactive about addressing safety concerns, responding to inspection reports, reporting incidents, and using the safety resources available on our campus as needed.lab safety award glass trophies

The Partners in Safety Awards were given to individuals who are not principal investigators; they are UW personnel who work in a lab or who conduct work to support labs. Their efforts contribute to the improvement of safety in research spaces and they engage with EH&S in a collaborative spirit.

There were about 120 attendees, including research students, faculty, and staff, chairs, chancellors, department administrators, deans, and the provost.

EH&S has received many notes of thanks and positive feedback about this year’s event; it was great to see the enthusiastic response from our research community. Congratulations to all of the award recipients and innovators!

Please visit the Laboratory Safety page for more information about laboratory safety or to access posters from previous events.