Case Study

The University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Nurturing A Safe And Synergistic environment For Research

Software Driven Efficiency In Research Safety

Details

 Industries: Higher Ed, Research
Workflows: Inspections, Corrective Actions, EH&S Processes
Size: 55,000
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Discovered SafetyStratus: 2014

The University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee is a public urban research university located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States.

The Requirements

A Web Based Software Application That Features The Capability To Schedule Inspections, To Work Offline In Areas With Weak Or No WiFi, To Automate Reminders/Follow Ups, And To Accommodate Flexible Space Inventory With New Construction Of Rooms and Labs

UWM is the largest university in the Milwaukee metropolitan area, with a wide scope of research extending across dozens of doctoral programs and several hundred labs, institutes and centers. UWM has earned the highest rating for a research institution from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, the gold standard for assessment. It is also one of the two doctoral degree-granting public universities and the second largest university in Wisconsin.

At UWM, Jennifer Herriges is the program Administrator for SafetyStratus. Before Jennifer joined UW Milwaukee, she worked for Sigma Aldrich as a Supervisor of the Quality Control Laboratory. In this role, she supervised calibration and several other qualitative and quantitative aspects of chemicals, equipment, and materials. “I had several goals when I joined UW Milwaukee. I wanted to transition away from the paper-based system we were on and streamline our processes. I knew that a good software program would eliminate redundancies and manual follow-ups. I reviewed the current program and interviewed stakeholders to get a better understanding of our needs and requirements” states Herriges. Jennifer spoke to other software vendors and had a clear idea of the features and requirements that she wanted from the system she would help implement at UWM.

She had several important questions for the SafetyStratus team during the diligence phase — “Does the system have offline capabilities? For example, if I inspect a room where there is no WiFi can I enter information and then upload it once I am in a WiFi area? Or can I perform an inspection and take it back to my office where I can preview it and make sure my written notes make sense before sending the inspection out?” Jennifer was also particularly interested in understanding the scheduling and calendar options available with SafetyStratus. “Is there a scheduling/calendar option? If yes, is there a scheduling or calendar reminder for yearly inspections, or can we determine the intervals for inspection scheduling (yearly/ six month/quarterly)? Is there a reminder for corrective action completion that is sent to the responsible parties when the Corrective Actions are past due?” An interactive calendar was an understood priority.

“We are able to manage more than 400 labs and there is hardly ever a need to follow up with a Principal Investigator on any open actions.”

Jennifer Herriges

Laboratory Safety Coordinator, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

The Solution

An Offline Capable Application With Scheduling And Automated Reminders

The SafetyStratus mobile application works in both online and offline modes. There are some areas with a weak Internet connection (i.e.-a basement physics lab) or sometimes one may experience a WiFi dead zone, in either case, the app can work offline and sync back to the network when the user is once again within range of WiFi.

The “Pending Inspections” feature allows the user to work off an inspections calendar and audit specific locations multiple times a year if necessary. The “Continue Inspections” feature enables the user to start an inspection in the field, return to the office, add additional notes, review all data and pictures, and complete the inspection at any time. Throughout the inspection process, a high level of data
integrity is maintained.

Once the inspection is complete, all notifications are sent out automatically. There is a configurable, tiered notification system that ensures all the stakeholders are on the same page. The commenting and
messaging feature enables smooth communication within the application.

The Results

High Engagement, Efficiency Improvements, And Service

The SafetyStratus LabCliQ application has been a great fit for UWM. “We are able to manage more than 400 labs and there is hardly ever a need to manually follow up on any open actions with a Principal Investigator” Jennifer says. “The automation with tiered notifications allows us to carefully monitor any ongoing issues and the built-in escalation features are useful to prioritize any communication.” Jennifer adds “I am able to assign templates down to the specific lab or work area, which is extremely useful. The templates, categories, and questions are entirely malleable; I can easily update them, make our own, and in some cases add area-specific questions. For example, we have built our own checklists for Art Areas, Science Areas, Engineering, and Biology.”

Greg Kwolek, Director of Product Management for SafetyStratus, adds, “The inspections module is our most mature product offering. It is a result of a lot of collaborative work with our clients over the years. We are happy to work with UW Milwaukee, taking feedback and featuring requests from the core user base to further improve the platform.”

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