Institutional Chemical and Physical Safety Committee

The Institutional Chemical and Physical Safety Committee (ICAPS) is one of several University-wide committees charged with promoting a safe working environment at the University of Washington (UW). The committee has specific oversight responsibilities for chemical and physical safety in all research and teaching activities conducted in University owned and operated laboratories, and in field research.

ICAPS was established in 2020 as part of the University’s commitment to safe laboratory practices. EH&S works in partnership with ICAPS to develop and implement best practices that support a culture of safety within laboratory environments.

Roles and responsibilities

A shared partnership exists among University leadership, faculty, researchers, laboratory staff, students, and EH&S to support a strong culture of safety--a culture in which all individuals responsibly embrace safety as a core value for long-term health and safety.

The UW Laboratories Safety Responsibility Matrix describes the specific responsibilities for laboratory safety held by University executive leadership, college/school, department, principal investigators, lab staff, EH&S, and others.

Administrative policy statement 12.7 (APS 12.7) establishes University requirements for oversight of chemical and physical safety in research and academic environments, including the establishment of ICAPS, and outlines the roles and responsibilities of all participants.

The ICAPS charter document outlines the purpose, scope, roles, responsibilities, and practices of the Committee, which include:

  • Review and approve major changes to the UW Laboratory Safety Manual and Field Operations Safety Manual
  • Help develop, recommend and update UW research safety-related policies pertaining to chemical and physical hazards, and training and educational materials.
  • Support EH&S in the escalation of outstanding laboratory deficiencies and in addressing unsafe conditions to department deans and University leadership.
  • Review findings of inspection and surveillance programs carried out by authorized EH&S personnel and local, state and federal regulatory authorities.
  • Establish and review strategies to ensure ongoing and adequate surveillance, hazard identification and risk evaluation of laboratory activities.
  • Advise EH&S and University leadership regarding compliance with safety-related policies through general observations, review of incident reports and similar activities.
  • Review requests for variances from established safety policies and advise EH&S on accepting or denying these requests.
  • Annually review EH&S statistics on laboratory safety, including reportable accidents, compliance with safety policies and other available data to monitor trends and identify priorities for policy development, education or enforcement

ICAPS membership

ICAPS is a faculty-led committee with faculty and staff representatives from across the University system with a broad range of expertise in managing physical and chemical hazards in laboratory and field settings. Members are appointed by the UW Executive Office for a 2-year term.


ICAPS Chair:

EH&S Lab Safety Team: (206) 685-3993,


ICAPS Chair Contact

(206) 543-7262