Laboratory Safety Specialist
Jeffrey Melton earned his Master of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2005, specializing in the biochemistry of novel protein kinase C C2 domains. While pursuing this degree, he developed an abiding interest in occupational and laboratory safety also earned his MPH in environmental and occupational health science from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2007, specializing in industrial hygiene and laboratory safety. His capstone experience focused on laser safety: identifying the research lasers on campus and developing a framework for laboratories to write regulation-compliant laser standard operating procedures.
After working as a college chemistry instructor and a fire/life safety officer, he began work in 2009 as at STATAnalysis, an environmental testing laboratory. Among many job responsibilities ranging from asbestos analysis to laboratory information management system (LIMS) database management, he revamped the laboratory safety program. He rewrote the chemical hygiene plan and hazardous waste disposal procedures, and developed a bloodborne pathogens program. He trained the staff on laboratory safety and worked to identify high-hazard samples. He took charge of the hazardous waste program in 2011, and in 2012 he also began writing safety data sheets and providing regulatory advice for a chemical company.
In 2013, he returned to academia as an environmental health and safety specialist at Chicago State University. Again, he found himself with a wide range of duties ranging from pest control to mold remediation to securing a grant to create a recycling program. He took charge of laboratory safety, writing the chemical hygiene, laboratory waste management, and laser safety plans, as well as inspecting all laboratory facilities regularly and managing all hazardous waste collection and removal. He was an integral part of the institutional biosafety committee, developing multiple forms and providing safety expertise. He provided a range of online and in-person training to employees and student researchers.
In the fall of 2016, he was hired by the University of Chicago to serve as a laboratory safety specialist. Now he is able to focus directly on laboratory safety within the diverse array of laboratories in the Biological Sciences Division. He holds a 40-hour and eight-hour HAZWOPER certification.