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Wisconsin Occupational Health Laboratory (wohl)

Wisconsin Occupational Health Laboratory (WOHL)



Statement of Qualifications

2009-10

The Wisconsin Occupational Health Laboratory is a part of the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene and the University of Wisconsin- Madison. It has been actively involved in industrial hygiene chemical analysis since the mid - 1930’s. WOHL currently occupies 12,000 square feet in the 54,000 square foot Environmental Health Laboratory that was completed in 1999. This facility was specifically designed as a state of the art Environmental and Industrial Hygiene laboratory.

WOHL is a full service IH chemistry and Environmental microbiology laboratory and has served as the central laboratory for OSHA’s voluntary consultation program since 1977. We currently serve 43 States and Territories in this program. In addition, WOHL provides laboratory services to a wide spectrum of public agencies and private sector clients.

WOHL is focused almost completely on Industrial Hygiene, IAQ and Environmental microbiology analysis. The laboratory can analyze for VOC’s, Pesticides, particulates, metals, asbestos, isocyanates, crystalline silica, PAH’s, PCB’s, amines, aldehydes, diesel exhaust particulates, environmental lead, molds, bacteria, particulate characterization and sizing and many other organic and inorganic compounds. Most of our testing is done for airborne contamination, but we also provide analysis for surface wipes and bulk samples.

The laboratory maintains a complete array of state of the art analytical instrumentation including:

3 - Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) Spectrometers

3 - Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometers (Zeeman Furnace, Flame,FIMS)

5 - GC/Mass Spectrometers

22 -Gas chromatographs with multiple detectors including: Flame Ionization, Nitrogen-

Phosphorous, Flame Photometric, Electron Capture and Thermal conductivity.

5 - High Performance Liquid Chromatographs with Florescence and Diode-array Ultra-

violet detectors.

6 - ION Chromatographs equipped with conductivity, amperometric and post-column

ultraviolet detectors.

2 - X-Ray Diffraction Spectrometers

2 - Thermal desorption units

1 - Scanning/Transmission Electron Microscope

1 - Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrophotometer

1 - Canister air sampling and analysis system

  1. 2- Elemental and Organic Carbon analysis systems for Diesel particulate.

1 - FTIR Microscope

1 – Biolog Microbial Identification system

WOHL also has additional minor equipment including PCM and PLM microscopes, UV/Visible Spectrophotometer, ION Selective Electrode Systems, microbalances, plasma ashers, autoclaves, incubators, etc, and access to high tech instrumentation such as High Resolution GC/MS, HPLC/MS/MS and ICP/MS/MS. The Laboratory is fully computerized via a Windows XP network of 50 microcomputers and an Oracle based Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS).

The laboratory staff includes a Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIH), 24 degreed chemists, 2 geologists, 4 microbiologists, 3 laboratory technicians and 5 support and management information professionals. Laboratory staff are members of National committees such as the AIHA Laboratory Quality Assurance committee and ASTM methods workgroup.

The laboratory is accredited through the American Industrial Hygiene Association (Lab #101070) for all aspects of industrial hygiene analysis including the Beryllium scope; for Environmental Lead Analyses on all matrices and for Environmental Microbiology. It is also accredited through the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation

Conference (NELAC) for asbestos in drinking water through the State of Florida (Lab # E37658). WOHL has participated in and been proficient in the AIHA PAT Program since the mid 1970’s. Through AIHA, WOHL also participates in the British WASP program for formaldehyde. WOHL also analyzes bulk asbestos proficiency samples through AIHA. WOHL participates in round robin testing programs coordinated by the OSHA Salt Lake City Technical Center for various analytes, and co-ordinates round robins for PCM asbestos and spore trap counting.

WOHL has a very rigorous internal Quality Assurance Program led by a full time IH Quality Assurance Coordinator, an Environmental microbiology QA officer and a half time Documents Control Officer. More than 10% of all samples analyzed are quality control samples. This is in addition to calibration verification samples, desorption samples, external proficiency samples, and method validation samples.

QUALITY ASSURANCE (QA) PLAN



  1. Introduction: Wisconsin Occupational Health Laboratory (WOHL) has had a vigorous QA/QC program in place for over 25 years. Currently, there are two QA Officers on our QA Team. Each technical person in the lab has an element of QA/QC activity written into his or her position description. In the past, this QA program has been directed primarily at the analytical testing aspects of the lab, but with our accreditations becoming based on the ISO 17025 standard we have increased QA activities related to our records and all other areas of the laboratory. The WOHL QA staff coordinate their activities with the Division QA Officer and The Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene’s Office of Quality.

  1. QA Objectives:




    1. Monitor and evaluate quality

    2. Identify and correct problems

    3. Assure the accurate, reliable and prompt reporting of test results

    4. Assure the adequacy and competency of the staff

    5. Continuously improve the quality of the laboratory’s services to its customers

    6. Assure that proper documentation is in place

    7. Assure conformity with all requirements of ISO 17025 and all of the AIHA Laboratory Accreditation policies.



  1. Responsibility:

    The WOHL Laboratory Director, Terry Burk, and the Quality Assurance Officer, Derek Popp, have responsibility for the overall quality of laboratory services on a section wide basis. Miel Barman has QA responsibilities for the environmental microbiology section. Both individuals report directly to the director and can stop an analysis if it is deemed to be out of control. The quality assurance officers meet weekly with the Lab Director, the individual supervisors, and analysts representing specific laboratory sections to discuss quality issues. Meetings occur more frequently if issues arise. Individual supervisors, Steve Strebel for organic, LeRoy Dobson for inorganic, Chris Powell for Environmental Microbiology and DeWayne Kennedy-Parker for metals have responsibility for the quality of service in their respective departments. Roger Schultz is the Technical Manager for Environmental Lead. The individual supervisors also have final review responsibility on sample reports, and can hold these reports if they feel that there is a problem with calculations or the analysis. Each analyst and support person has responsibility for the quality of his/her own work. Many of the analysts are also responsible for peer reviewing other analysts’ work. The reviewers are responsible for ensuring that the results are calculated correctly, that the report adheres to the SOPs governing the analysis, and that every item in the client request was met.



  1. Scope of Laboratory Services:

    WOHL is a full service Industrial Hygiene Laboratory featuring analysis of airborne, wipe and bulk samples for metals, solvents, pesticides, carcinogens, acid mist, isocyanates, PAHs, silica, asbestos, Environmental molds and bacteria and most other analytes of interest to industrial hygiene clients.




  1. QA Activities:



    1. Quality Control:

      The lab has in place a rigorous computerized Quality Control Program. This program is described in detail in WOHL’s QC manual. Some of the program highlights include the preparation and analysis of blind spiked samples, archiving records, assisting in method development and improvement activities. The quality control personnel also perform periodic audits of sample data, maintenance records, record keeping, and procedures used within the lab pertaining to sample handling from receipt through analysis.

    2. Proficiency testing, accreditation and external quality control.

      The lab participates successfully in the following programs:

    :

      1. Accredited continuously since 1982 through the American Industrial Hygiene Association Laboratory Accreditation Program. Accreditation number 196 Laboratory #101070. The laboratory analyzes AIHA PAT samples to support this accreditation. WOHL has continuously been rated proficient by this program for all analytes (metals, solvents, asbestos, and silica) for over 30 years. Beryllium accreditation was added in 2004.

      2. OSHA Salt Lake City Analytical Laboratory QC Program: Several times per year we receive QC check samples from the QA officer of OSHA’s Compliance Lab for a wide variety of analytes.

      3. ELLAP and ELPAT Programs: ELLAP is the accreditation program and ELPAT is the proficiency program. The proficiency program for environmental lead samples is coordinated through AIHA. We began participation in this program in 1993.

      1. AIHA beryllium proficiency program for the analysis of beryllium. This program is coordinated by AIHA with samples coming from the Y12 group. Beryllium has also been added to our AIHA scope of accreditation.

      2. Asbestos Round Robins: We coordinate round robin proficiency programs for air asbestos samples. The participants in these round robins include our own lab and several other labs in Wisconsin and the surrounding states.

      3. British WASP (Workplace analysis scheme for proficiency) proficiency samples for formaldehyde through AIHA.

      4. EMLAP and EMPAT program: EMLAP is the accreditation program for environmental microbiology. EMPAT is the proficiency program. The proficiency program is being coordinated by AIHA and includes Fungi, Bacteria and direct exam proficiency samples. WOHL has participated in these programs from their inception.


5.2.9

A Round Robin spore counting program with several other accredited labs.

5.2.10. Environmental Lab Approval Program (ELAP): This is a proficiency program

which includes asbestos in drinking water testing. WOHL analyzes these

samples in support of NELAC accreditation.

5.2.11 NELAC: This is an accreditation which includes asbestos in drinking water

testing.

      1. Various other exchanges of proficiency samples with other labs on a non-regular basis.

      2. Any outlier results from any of these programs trigger an immediate investigation

into the cause of the problem.


    1. Manuals:

      The lab maintains the following types of manuals:

      1. Procedure manuals:

        All Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are written up, approved by the Supervisor and Lab Director and are kept on the computer system. Copies are kept in convenient locations so analysts can easily use them. Anyone can make changes to the procedures on temporary files on the computer and submit them to their supervisor and Lab Director for approval. Only the Laboratory Director or Assistant Laboratory Director can make changes to the methods in the permanent directory. The lab has 16 separate procedure manuals, each relating to a particular area of analysis. There are SOP manuals for the non-technical areas of the laboratory as well.

      2. Instrument maintenance manuals:

        Each piece of equipment has its own manual. The manual records routine and non-routine maintenance. Each manual documents what was done, who performed the maintenance, and when it was done. Some of the instruments use a checklist for routine maintenance, with these items being described in detail in other procedure manuals.

      3. Quality Control manual:

        Documents the labs’ QC procedure.

      4. A chemist has been assigned responsibility for reviewing, auditing and maintaining laboratory manuals and other documentation.

    2. Staff credentials and training:

      The lab is staffed by 24 chemists, 2 geologists, 4 microbiologists, 3 lab technicians and 3 program assistants. Some of the chemists have advanced degrees. The laboratory Director is a Certified Industrial Hygienist. On going training takes the following forms:

      1. Two to five chemists and/or microbiologists go to the AIHCE Conference each year.

      2. Funding for outside chromatography and spectroscopy training is budgeted each year.

      3. In-house seminars on Industrial Hygiene Chemistry are conducted.

      4. Safety training is conducted for new employees and annually for all employees.

      5. Internal training for new staff or staff learning new techniques is done by assignment of a qualified analyst to serve as tutor for a period of time appropriate to the task being learned. Training plans and documentation are maintained for each technical area of analysis.

      6. Over the last 15 years, 20 staff members have received training at OSHA Training Institute courses.

      7. The lab has purchased and made available to staff ACS audiotape courses on a variety of analytical subjects, including mass spec and infrared analysis.

      8. All major equipment purchases are specified to include adequate training courses to assure that our staff becomes competent in the use of the new instrument.

      9. WOHL encourages continuing education for their staff at the UW-Madison, Madison Area Technical College, Madison Academic Computer Center, and various specialized seminars offered locally.

      10. Most WOHL staff members have completed Total Quality Management training.

      11. As part of each employee’s annual performance review, supervisors and employees must mutually determine training needs for the employee for that year.

      12. A training officer coordinates and documents training.

      13. Lab staff, responsible for shipping hazardous materials, receive training at least every three years to maintain their certification to ship these materials.

      14. AIHA and ACGIG Teleweb courses are routinely ordered and presented to staff.

5.5

In maintaining open lines of communication with our clients, WOHL has undertaken the following:

      1. Established a toll free telephone number.

      2. Conducted extensive surveys of our customers in 1992, 1997, and 1998 & 2003 to determine how to better serve their needs.

      3. Committed to publish a newsletter to all clients on at least a semi annual basis.

      4. Committed to make all staff available to answer questions on sampling or analysis.

      5. Added extra telephone lines in 1999 to make it easier for clients to get in touch with us. This included establishing a dedicated FAX line.

      6. Developed an Occurrence Management process to better track customer complaints and non-conforming work.

      7. Commitment to support lab staff in active participation in local and national professional society activities.

      8. In 2003 we began automated faxing and/or emailing of reports to clients.

      9. In 2007 initiated a customer survey specifically for Environmental microbiology.

5.6

Monitoring Quality indicators: The Lab routinely monitors the following indicators.

      1. Overall lab turn around time

      2. Sample backlog by analytical area

      3. Quality control data including: trends for each analyte, instrument and analyst, overall failure rates and number of QC samples analyzed

      4. Budget variances

      5. Relative value (work unit) indicators

5.7

All studies are peer reviewed by a supervisor (or designee) and in most cases by a second qualified analyst.

      1. Signatures are electronically placed on the report. The supervisor’s signature goes on at final review. The analyst’s signature is added after their initial review. There are procedures in place to assure security.

    1. Old reports are periodically reviewed by the QA/QC staff for adherence to the SOP for the analysis requested.

    2. The laboratory is audited yearly by one of the Quality Assurance Officers for compliance with AIHA and NELAC.

    3. Records retention: All records including hard copies of instrument outputs will be kept for 3 years in hard copy form, then microfilmed and retained in accord with our University approved “Records Disposition Authorization”. Electronic records are archived according to laboratory established procedures and stored in accord to the “Records Disposition Authorization”.

6. Semi-Annual Review of QA Plan:

This quality assurance plan shall be reviewed and up-dated semi-annually by the WOHL Laboratory Director. At that time he will; assure that all aspects of the plan are understood and implemented by all members of the Laboratory’s Staff, solicit input for improvements to the plan; make any necessary changes to the plan and distribute copies of the revised plan to all staff at WOHL and to SLH administration.

For a list of references and/or projects completed, please call WOHL at 800-446-0403.

Date of most recent review: 04/20/2010 Terry Burk, WOHL Division Director


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