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Strengthening a Culture of Laboratory Safety

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 at 1pm ET.

Photo: Lab technician at work.

Laboratory safety may sound straightforward, but in reality it is supported by complex and ever-changing science. Safety standards and practices evolve as scientists learn more about the materials they handle regularly. Today, more than 2000 laboratory scientists in more than 150 labs at CDC work with specimens to identify new health threats, stop outbreaks, and gain new knowledge. Laboratory work saves lives and protects people. Though this work is critical, it is not without risk. Labs are often working with the deadliest germs, toxins, and environmental hazards in the world.

A strong culture of laboratory safety helps the world-class scientists at CDC work in the safest possible environment, but no one is perfect. As new information becomes available, safety practices must change to remain up to date and relevant. Every lab is different. Effective safety practices in one lab may not be successful in another. Labs must stay organized, developing their own internal quality controls to provide safety and security for their scientists and for the public.

In this session of Public Health Grand Rounds, our panel discussed how standards of laboratory safety have improved over the years, what we’ve learned from past incidents, and how establishing safety protocols and training systems can lead to an overall culture of workplace safety, resulting in continued public trust in our science and recommendations.


Presented By:

Stephan Monroe, PhD
Associate Director, Laboratory Science and Safety
Office of the Associate Director for Laboratory Science and Safety, CDC
“Evolution of Laboratory Safety Standards”

Conrad P. Quinn, PhD
Chief, Meningitis and Vaccine Preventable Diseases Branch
National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, CDC
“Quality, Safety and Public Health Impact of Lab Science: A Case Study”

Joseph Kanabrocki, PhD, CBSP
Associate Vice President, Research Safety
Professor of Microbiology 
University of Chicago
“Establishing a Culture of Safety in an Academic Research Institution: Teaching Safety to Scientists”

Facilitated By:

John Iskander, MD, MPH, Scientific Director, Public Health Grand Rounds
Phoebe Thorpe, MD, MPH, Deputy Scientific Director, Public Health Grand Rounds
Susan Laird, MSN, RN, Communications Director, Public Health Grand Rounds

Additional Resources:

Continuing Education

This session is available for Continuing Education. Click here for more information.

  • Page last reviewed: November 27, 2015
  • Page last updated: November 27, 2015
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