Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2011 11:30:55 -0500
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Ralph Stuart <rstuart**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU>
Subject: Institutional Lab Roster Management

An ongoing concern here at UVM is how to maintain an accurate list of 
the laboratories on campus. 

This issue arises in terms of regulatory interactions and emergency 
planning efforts, but also is important in assigning responsibility for 
housekeeping and other management issues which arise. There are many 
challenges associated with this, including:
- The definition of "lab" (as opposed to shop, studio, cell culture 
room, etc.).
- Are the extent of labs defined geographically (by room) or by people 
(by lab supervisor and workers)?
- Should the use of the lab (class vs. research, instrument vs. wet 
chemical, etc.) define what information is collected about it?
- How are records kept up to date in a academic environment, where the 
relevant information about some operations change weekly and others 
change only over the decades?
- The level of personnel turnover in academia makes education and 
training of key personnel in the importance and methods of maintaining 
this list an ongoing challenge.

I suspect that this is not a major issue in specific departments, but 
presents a bigger challenge across institutions as a whole, where there 
are different scientific styles in, for example, chemistry departments 
distinct from biomedical departments distinct from engineering 
departments. My understanding is that these considerations often mean 
Environmental Health and Safety programs have trouble using 
institutional data collected for other purposes to determine where labs 
are and who's working in them and so end up generating their own lab 

I wonder what approaches to this challenge academic DCHAS members have 
developed. Thanks for any insight into this issue.

- Ralph 

Ralph Stuart, CIH 
Environmental Safety Manager 
University of Vermont 
Environmental Safety Facility 
667 Spear St. Burlington, VT  05405 


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