QUALITY ASSURANCE/TRAINING & SAFETY
The Quality Assurance (QA), Safety and Training Group at the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS) is responsible for three critical laboratory functions which support the entire Division and all personnel working within the DCLS facility.
Quality Assurance Section
The purpose of the Quality Assurance Section is to define and implement the systematic and continuous process for monitoring, assessing, and improving the quality of services provided within DCLS.
The objectives for this group are to:
- Ensure that the quality of DCLS laboratory services provided to our customers meets or exceeds the highest standards possible
- Ensure DCLS compliance with regulatory agencies and applicable standards
- Communicate the goals and expectations of DCLS Quality System to all staff
- Encourage and stimulate the pursuit of quality by all DCLS employees
- Enforce DCLS policies that are aimed at improving quality in the laboratory
- Monitor tasks and eliminate potential problems that can lead to error within the laboratory
- Continually strive to improve the services DCLS provides
- Investigate every complaint and problem
- Document efforts to improve services
Representatives from each laboratory testing and support services group within DCLS participate on a Division QA Committee that meets monthly to communicate important information and updates relating to DCLS’ Quality Management System. This group discusses ways to monitor and identify problems that have the potential to impact the quality of the work performed by DCLS. Information is openly shared among the members of this committee so that all groups can work toward improving overall laboratory processes.
The Safety Section is tasked with monitoring all aspects of laboratory and personnel safety (general, chemical, biological and radiological) within DCLS. Representatives from each laboratory testing and support services group participate on a Division Safety Committee, which meets monthly to discuss activities of the safety teams and safety concerns for DCLS. These members are tasked with assuring the groups they represent receive the most current and up-to-date safety information.
Biological, Chemical and Radiological Safety Officers are responsible for assuring:
- Appropriate response to incidents occurring within the laboratory
- Risk assessments are conducted to provide a safe working environment for all employees
- The Division remains compliant with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations
- The management, tracking and proper disposal of chemical, biological and radiological waste generated by DCLS
DCLS has 3 main safety teams:
- First Aid Team
- Spill Response Team
- Building Warden and Evacuation Team
These teams work in partnership with the DCLS Safety Officers, Safety Team Leaders and Management to provide assistance when issues arise and ensure the appropriate response and notifications occur.
The Training Section is responsible for providing and/or supporting the training needs of all DCLS employees. This team provides training support to laboratorians across the state, to federal partners and colleagues, and to a variety of other key stakeholders within the Commonwealth and across the nation. The DCLS training office also is tasked with the coordination and scheduling of laboratory facility tours for a wide variety of groups including high school and college students, and DCLS customers.
Other duties include:
- The development and delivery of training programs for topics including packaging and shipping of samples to ensure safe transport and delivery to DCLS for testing
- Providing safety and security training programs and information for laboratories performing testing within Virginia
- Overseeing the coordination of DCLS’ summer internship program
- Working closely with trainers from other public health labs in the U.S. in order to provide DCLS with updated safety information
DCLS employs two full-time trainers
- DCLS Trainer serves as Virginia’s State Training Coordinator and is a representative of the National Laboratory Training Network (NLTN), which serves to strengthen the public health laboratory workforce by providing training resources to build the skills of laboratorians who perform testing for public health significance
- Sentinel Lab Trainer serves as the liaison between DCLS and all Virginia laboratories operating within the Commonwealth