SafetyStratus College and University Health and Safety Award

Download the Nomination Application Form for this Award Here: [Click to Download SafetyStratus College and University Nomination Form in Word format]

Statement of Award Purpose

This award is given to recognize the most comprehensive chemical safety programs in higher education (undergraduate study only).

Award Amount and Recognition

  • $1,000 Honorarium
  • Engraved plaque including name of recipient and sponsor logo to be presented to winner at award symposium

This award is made possible by the generosity of SafetyStratus.

The recipient of this award is expected to deliver a 15 – 20-minute presentation at the CHAS Awards Symposium at the ACS Fall national meeting in the year that they receive the award. The presentation may be on any topic related to chemical safety.

Description of Eligible Nominees

The nominee may be a college/university chemistry academic department, an entire campus, or an EH&S office. Joint-nominations including chemistry departments and other offices will also be accepted. Preference will be given to those submissions which include participation from the chemistry department.

Previous recipients of this award will only be considered eligible again 10 years after they receive the award. Their current undergraduate lab safety program must differ significantly from the program as it was when the award was previously received. In this case, supporting documentation must highlight the program improvements since the year that the award was last received.

Detailed award criteria are given below.

One award is given per year.

Award Criteria

1. Chemistry Department’s safety policy statement

2. Chemical Hygiene Plan(s) for instructional laboratories

3. Evidence that safety concepts, such as risk assessment and utilization of chemical-safety information, are included in the teaching curriculum.

Evidence may include the following:

  • Safety rules for students
  • Course syllabus showing covered safety topics
  • Laboratory manuals with safety guidance
  • Examinations or exercises used to teach or reinforce safety concepts
  • Safety course offerings
  • Description(s) of offered seminar(s) on safety topics
  • Results of safety research
  • Other examples as appropriate

4. Description of, or documentation for, chemical waste collection policies and procedures for instructional courses and prep lab

5. Chemical Storage policies

This may include descriptions of:

  • Access control
  • Segregation
  • Protected storage
  • Inventory tracking methods
  • Storage quantity limitations, approvals for ordering new chemicals, etc.

6. Policies relating to the prep-lab space (if applicable), as well as written safety requirements for instructors and teaching assistants working during non-class times.

This may include:

  • Separate Chemical Hygiene Plan for prep lab (or clear inclusion in the department CHP)
  • General policy and procedures, for use of and access to the space (e.g. restricted access, policy for not working alone in the lab, etc.)

7. Evidence of waste-minimization and green-chemistry strategies.

This may include:

  • Policies for waste minimization or a list of prohibited materials
  • Description of green practices used in the instructional labs
  • Incorporation of sustainability concepts into the curriculum

8. Evidence of faculty and teaching-assistant safety training and development.

This may include:

  • Description of safety training requirements and policies for individuals overseeing, or directly supervising, laboratory classes
  • Learning objectives for the safety training that describe the skills or knowledge that the faculty and teaching assistants will acquire
  • Copy of safety training materials for training instructors and T.A.s, if applicable
  • Seminars, workshops, production of videotapes, slides, etc.

9. Lab Safety Event (incidents and near miss) reporting.

Documentation may include:

  • Policy for reporting incidents
  • Summary reports and analysis of incidents, injuries, and near misses from the previous 3 years
  • Summary of lessons learned from events and corrective actions taken
  • Example reports with root cause analysis and corrective actions

10. Policy, procedure, and frequency for routine assessments of laboratory’s physical condition (i.e. audits/inspections). Assessments may be internal (self-inspection) or external (e.g. EH&S department inspections)

Supporting documentation may include:

  • Description of inspection process, frequency, and responsible parties
  • Copy of inspection checklist
  • Metrics or data demonstrating program effectiveness. This could include data regarding frequency of inspections, average number of findings, median time for corrective action, etc.

Required support for nomination

The nomination must include a cover letter from the nominator describing why the nominee is deserving of this award. The letter shall describe the nominee’s work and how it is aligned with the purpose, eligibility, and/or criteria of the award.

Other supporting materials are suggested in the details of the award criteria. The supporting information may be provided as links to applicable webpages on the organization’s website or as attached files. The documents and/or links must be labeled/named using the numbering and descriptions provided in the details of the award criteria. The name of the institution must be included in all file names.

The nomination may also include a letter of support from the institution’s Environmental Health and Safety office, as well as, a letter of support from a senior administrator such as the head of the academic department, the vice provost for research, or the dean of the school; although this is not a requirement for this award.

Site visit criteria (if applicable)

If a nominee is eligible based on supporting documentation, a committee member or other ACS delegate will perform a site visit to verify.

As part of the site visit, the following laboratory and chemical-use area conditions of the undergraduate laboratory facility may be assessed:

  1. General ventilation
  2. Engineering controls in working order
  3. Housekeeping and general facility condition including chemical storage areas
  4. Adequate student supervision
  5. Security of chemical storage areas and general lab spaces
  6. Emergency irrigation tested and working
  7. Emergency response equipment and supplies stocked and inspected (spill kits, fire extinguishers, etc.)
  8. Personal protective equipment available and in good condition
  9. Posted emergency procedures and contact numbers

Eligible Sources of Nominations

  • Self-nomination
  • Subordinate (Student)
  • Department chair
  • EH&S Department
  • Vice Provost for Research or another Senior Administrator
  • Peer or another ACS member who is familiar with the nominee’s undergraduate program

Previous Winners

2021: C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry, West Virginia University

2020: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Chemistry Undergraduate Teaching Laboratory and Environment, Health & Safety Office

2019: University of Pittsburgh, Department of Chemistry and Department of EH&S

2018:  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Chemistry and Department of Environment, Health and Safety

2017: Department of Chemistry and the Department of Environmental Health and Safety, Stanford University

2016: Duke University

2015: University of Pennsylvania

2014: University of California Davis

2013: North Carolina State University

2012: Wittenburg University, Springfield, Ohio

2011: University of California, San Diego

2010: Princeton University

2009: Wellesley College

2008: Franklin and Marshall

2007: University of Connecticut

2006: none awarded

2005: Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Nevada-Reno

2004: University of Massachusetts-Boston

2003: none awarded

2002: none awarded

2001: West Virginia University

2000: none awarded

1999: Francis Marion University

1996: Williams College

1995: University of Wisconsin-Madison

1993: College of St. Benedict, jointly with St. John’s University of St. Joseph, MN

1991:Massachusetts Institute of Technology