Zack Herbst wins Partner in Safety Award from UW EH&S

Submitted by Diana Knight on

As the laboratory safety officer in the Gelb group, Zackary M. Herbst works closely with Environmental Health & Safety at the UW. In December, EH&S recognized Zack’s continued engagement and responsiveness to safety matters and their work to improve safety practices in their workspace with the Partners in Safety award. 

Zack Herbst is a research scientist in the Department of Chemistry and Department of Medicine’s Division of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, and is the senior scientific advisor and chief marketing officer at GelbChem, LLC. They received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and studio art from Knox College, where they also completed a post-baccalaureate program in organic chemistry. They have pharmaceutical industry experience as an analytical chemist and in formulation development. At the UW, Zack has focused on method development for newborn screening and drug development for neglected tropical diseases and their research is published in several articles in peer-reviewed journals. Zack is also a graduate of the UW’s Scientific Illustration Program and is a published scientific and medical illustrator.

The Laboratory Safety Awards & Innovations event is hosted biannually to celebrate the work being done to enhance the culture of safety at the UW. Tracy Harvey, the laboratory safety program manager for research and occupational safety, awarded Zack with the Partners in Safety award at the webinar celebration on December 15, 2021. Zack was also featured as a guest speaker and spoke on common safety issues in organic chemistry labs and presented some of the work they have done to improve the safety of the flammables refrigerators in the Gelb lab. The refrigerator clean up and organization was part of a year and a half project to inventory the chemicals used and stored by the group, minimize the amount of chemicals in the lab, dispose of old or obsolete chemicals, and improve the safety of their workspace.

Zack Herbst presents on Zoom

EH&S also celebrated awards to the Top Dawgs in Safety and Pack Leaders in Safety, and recognized innovators in safety at the UW including the groups of Professors Julie Kovacs, Forrest Michael, and Bo Zhang in the Department of Chemistry, and Professor David Ginger and the Washington Clean Energy Testbeds for their practices:

  • Julie Kovacs’s group implemented a fume hood user status notification system
  • Forrest Michael’s group created chemical reaction cards to provide information about experiments in progress and distributed them to research groups across the department
  • Bo Zhang’s group conducts a monthly clean-up day which includes participation from all lab personnel
  • David Ginger’s group provides baskets to glove box users at the Washington Research Training Test Beds to contain and manage their materials.

Congratulations to Zack and Chemistry’s safety innovators, and thanks to all our lab personnel for their contributions to our safety culture!