The role of the Washington State Public Health Laboratory had grown in recent years, and the laboratory was in need of a critical expansion. To obtain funding for this expansion from the state legislature, the Washington State Department of Health was required to perform a risk and safety assessment.
This risk and safety assessment was among the first in the U.S. performed on a public health laboratory. Without a model or template to follow, Kleinfelder succesfully worked with the project’s stakeholders—a group of well-educated, activist community members selected to oversee the process of developing the assessment and presenting the report to legislature. Diligent and collaborative performance was critical for professionally navigating community politics and presenting sound findings regarding a range of laboratory risks.
Kleinfelder assembled an exceptional team of internal and external experts covering a broad spectrum of services, including public health and environmental scientists, risk analysts, and geotechnical engineers. The team performed thorough evaluation of the potential for chemical releases to the environment, security system, laboratory location, and geotechnical and structural engineering for seismic risk. In a series of public meetings, Kleinfelder presented detailed and extensive findings and recommendations, enabling the team to discuss, revise, and collaboratively plan for the laboratory’s future alongside the stakeholder group.
By confidently maintaining a professional relationship between the community stakeholders and the State Department of Health—and by demonstrating a high caliber of scientific expertise—Kleinfelder succeeded not only in developing a new risk assessment category from scratch, but also in obtaining $10 million in legislative funding for the proposed expansion.
Washington State Department of Health