Lab safety is not the first thing to come to mind when you read about new scientific findings in the news, but it is an integral part of the scientific process. Lab safety not only informs how data is collected, processed, and analyzed, safety protocols allow us to feel comfortable and secure in our work environment. As a scientist, the first thing a lot of us think of when we hear about lab safety is a few online courses and some cheesy instructional videos. But lab safety is much more than that.
CNPRC’s safety officer, Gregory Hodge, was recently awarded University of California Davis’s Safety Star Award for his outstanding work. Greg was nominated by his friend and colleague, Jim Baugh, the associate biosafety officer for UC Davis’ Environmental Health and Safety department. At the California National Primate Research Center, safety is integral to the production of scientific discoveries. Keeping 4,000+ animals and the many people working on site safe is no small feat.
One of the most pertinent examples of Greg’s work came to light last year when a brush fire caught just yards away from the center. In 15 minutes, Greg had successfully evacuated over 300 people. Thanks to Greg’s consistent efforts faculty, students, and staff all knew exactly what to do in the event of a fire. With the center evacuated and everyone accounted for the firemen and women were able focus all of their attention on keeping the center, and the animals remaining its gates, safe.