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Lab Manager

Elevating Lab Safety Beyond PPE

How to instill a sense of shared ownership of laboratory safety

Lauren Everett

Lauren Everett is the managing editor for Lab Manager. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from SUNY New Paltz and has more than a decade of experience in news...

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Laboratory safety requires a dynamic, comprehensive approach for mitigating hazards and enabling quality science. Divya Krishnamurthy, senior director of workplace operations and safety at Lyndra Therapeutics and member of Lab Manager’s lab safety editorial advisory board, shares key insights on the importance of documenting near misses and fostering a shared sense of ownership and accountability. Her experience underscores the value of leadership support and open communication in building robust safety cultures in laboratories.

Q: What do you wish more people knew or understood about laboratory safety?

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A: That lab safety is so much more than PPE or inspection findings by the “lab police”. It is a continually improving comprehensive approach to mitigating lab hazards to enable good science.

Q: What’s the biggest lab safety-related lesson you’ve learned in your career so far?

A: Learning from and documenting “near misses”. These are events that had the potential to escalate to incidents. Near misses provide a wealth of information regarding hazard identification and proactive mitigation.

Q: What does a day in the life look like for you as senior director of workplace ops + safety?

A: In my current role, I oversee daily operations including health and safety, GMP and n-GMP facilities operations across all sites, so I wear multiple hats. My day ranges from supporting audits, managing vendors/contractors, integrating EHS best practices, and ensuring efficient operation of our facilities.

Headshot of Divya Krishnamurthy
Divya Krishnamurthy

Q: What advice can you give someone looking to establish a better culture of safety within their laboratory? 

A: Involve lab personnel/end users to instill a shared sense of ownership regarding safety and ensure commitment and support from leadership. The best safety cultures are built by fostering open dialog and communication with stakeholders across every level and instilling shared accountability.

Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of work? 

A: Walking, traveling, spending time with my kids!

Divya Krishnamurthy, PhD, is the senior director of workplace operations and safety at Lyndra Therapeutics. Leveraging over 20 years of diverse experience spanning both R&D and environmental health and safety (EHS) robust culture of safety, while ensuring efficient operations. Prior to Lyndra, Divya was director of global EHS at Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical.