Arnold Lab wins top Berkeley safety award

Michael Boreen and Trevor Lohrey, Arnold Lab safety award

(l to r) Michael Boreen and Trevor Lohrey, Arnold lab safety coordinators, show off the award

March 11, 2019

For immediate release
Berkeley, CA

The winners of the 2018 Excellence in Laboratory Safety have been announced! Principal investigators and lab safety coordinators for each lab were recognized for their demonstrated commitment to safe practices and promotion of a positive lab safety culture on the Berkeley campus. The grand prize was awarded to the Arnold lab group in Chemistry, headed by Professor of Chemistry and Undergraduate Dean John Arnold. Lab safety coordinators and chemistry graduate students Michael Boreen and Trevor Lohrey were also aknowledged and accepted the award for the group in February. A total of 464 Berkeley labs were evaluated for safety practices.

According to a statement from Berkeley's department of Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S), "This lab sets a high bar for campus safety culture. Professor Arnold is always available to discuss problems that are affecting his own lab, as well as other labs in their department and college. His group generates creative solutions to challenging safety problems and shares those solutions with others, including safety resources they collect from colleagues overseas. Their lab safety coordinators are top-notch; they are helpful, engaged, and they take their jobs seriously."

Arnold lab

(l to r) Michael Boreen and Trevor Lohrey

Professor Arnold said of the award, "My group is thrilled to be recognized for our approach and commitment to safety in the lab. My coworkers take the safety and well-being of everyone in the lab very seriously and we gratefully acknowledge the role played by both the College and Campus' EH&S departments in working with us to help in this challenging environment."

Michael Boreen and Trevor Lohrey were on hand in the lab recently to discuss the award. Lohrey stated, "The way our group has dealt with lab safety has steadily evolved and improved over my five years as a graduate student. Thanks in large part to the efforts of both the College and university EH&S departments, implementing standard lab operating procedures along with a central chemical inventory system has made the process of training incoming students much more straightforward. The efficiency of our day-to-day work has also benefited from having these tools at our disposal." 

Boreen, a 4th year grad student, agreed, "As our lab's radiation safety officer, it's been great to work with EH&S to help improve the safety protocols for how we handle radioactive materials in our research. It is important to be safe while doing our work, but still be productive. We have worked hard to achieve that balance."

Mike Kumpf, Director of the College's Health and Safety program stated, "Professor Arnold has long been an advocate for increasing the academic laboratory safety culture here. I personally appreciate his efforts connecting with other universities bringing in their safety training programs and knowledge to improve the safety at the College of Chemistry."

Michael Boreen and Trevor Lohrey, Arnold Lab safety awardEach year, the award distinguishes small and large labs in four categories including chemical sciences, life sciences, field sciences, and physical sciences for their demonstrated commitment to safety. The labs are evaluated based on the variety of hazards they are confronted with, the findings from EH&S lab inspections, the strength of safety leadership by the principal investigator, and the follow-up and communications of the lab safety coordinator. From among the labs that win within these categories, a grand prize winner is selected and awarded the Excellence in Laboratory Safety trophy.

Vice Chancellor for Research Randy H. Katz delivered the award to Boreen and Lohrey at a ceremony held at The Faculty Club on February 27, 2019.