Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2008 08:53:27 +1030
Reply-To: "Wilkes, Eric" <Eric.Wilkes**At_Symbol_Here**FOSTERSGROUP.COM>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: "Wilkes, Eric" <Eric.Wilkes**At_Symbol_Here**FOSTERSGROUP.COM>
Subject: Re: FW: Measuring chemical safety program effectiveness
Comments: To: "Jeskie, Kimberly B."
In-Reply-To: A<34704B7D15D2C14BA7F130CB44313E3F01D9D566576A**At_Symbol_Here**>
    I wholeheartedly agree that checklists (we avoid the term of
inspections as it implies an outside audit) can only every be one part
of the process of developing a good safety culture in any kind of
laboratory environment. Education programs, development of workable risk
assessment tools, well structured regular safety discussions, case study
reviews and crisis sessions (what would we do if....)are some of the
others we use. I do contend however that it is in the way that they are
applied that decides if they will be "just another metric" or a tool for
culture change. If implemented well with support from all levels of
administration they become a point of discussion and thought with a high
component of training. We have found that we need to tailor the
implementation quite differently for a research lab which is constantly
looking at novel processes and substances to a small production lab with
a high degree of standardised work. The end aim is not just to provide a
measure of mandatory compliance, which we achieve through yearly audits
around the globe of our 37 laboratories against a comprehensive OH&S
manual, but to promote discussion and awareness. It is important to give
lab supervisors and managers tools to change awareness and challenge the
"I know what I am doing" culture that we see in many laboratories. 

As such the use of any tool needs to be constantly refreshed and
reviewed to achieve these goals with an emphasis towards culture
improvement. They also need to become a common component of the training
and process of all staff, not just a designated group of safety police.
We tend to measure the success of safety programs, including safety
checklists, not just by the numbers from checklist and incidents
(although these are important tools) but rather from the number of
safety suggestions and alerts which are generated from individual sites.

So the summary of the monologue above, checklists should be not be
dismissed as ineffective (not that anyone has) but just viewed as a
useful tool to educate and engage those involved in practical work in
laboratories. A subsidiary benefit is they can act as one of the tools
for measuring change if used effectively and interactively.

As a totally unrelated comment I would like to thank all the
contributors to this forum for the valuable information and opinions
they provide. They have provided a priceless resource to myself and our
facilities around the world and helped make at least all our
laboratories that little bit safer. As such I wish everyone a wonderful
Christmas and new year with my sincere thanks.


Dr Eric Wilkes 
Global Manager Analytical Services 
Best Practice and Performance 
Fosters Group Ltd 

ph:     03 9420 6594 or int: 61 3 9420 6594
mob:  0408 668 718 or int: 61 408 668 718 
Fax:   03 9420 6919 or int: 61 3 9420 6919 

-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of
Jeskie, Kimberly B.
Sent: Thursday, 11 December 2008 11:43 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: [DCHAS-L] FW: Measuring chemical safety program effectiveness


I agree with the gentleman who sent the posting on lagging indicators
versus leading, and would like to add one thought that we've been trying
to reinforce here.  Inspections are really good at picking up conditions
in the work space (labels, deteriorating containers, housekeeping,
etc.).  What they aren't good at unless you push the issue, are
evaluating behaviors and a person's understanding of chemical safety.
We push the topic of having conversations with people (What are you
working with? How are you using it? What kind of protective equipment
are you using?  How did you know that that was the right kind to use?
What are the hazards of the materials you work with?  Hazards of
intermediates?  What's the worst thing that could happen in what you are
doing?  What would you do if it did?  What are you doing to make sure it
doesn't happen?)  These are the types of questions that will tell you
whether or not you've gotten into the minds and actions of the people
you've trained.  It's performance-based.


Kimberly Begley Jeskie, MPH-OSHM
Operations Manager
Physical Sciences Directorate
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
(865) 574-4945

-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of
Debbie M. Decker
Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 4:34 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Measuring chemical safety program effectiveness

Some musings, in advance of my chemical safety committee meeting........

How do I measure if the campus chemical and laboratory safety program is
_really_ effective?  Lack of exposure incidents?  Lack of buildings in
low earth orbit ?

I train a lot of people and we don't appear to have too many exposure
incidents and the chemistry building hasn't been launched into low earth
orbit - is that an "effective program?"

I'm really interested in how ya'll think about this.



Debbie Decker

EH&S UCDavis


FAX (530)752-4527


Co-Conspirator to Make the World A

Better Place -- Visit and join the conspiracy

Birkett's hypothesis: "Any chemical reaction

that proceeds smoothly under normal conditions,

can proceed violently in the presence of an idiot."

This email and any attachments may be confidential and legally privileged.
Please notify the sender immediately if you received this message in error.
Please do not delete or alter this notice.

Previous post   |  Top of Page   |   Next post

The content of this page reflects the personal opinion(s) of the author(s) only, not the American Chemical Society, ILPI, Safety Emporium, or any other party. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. Unauthorized reproduction of these materials is prohibited. Send questions/comments about the archive to
The maintenance and hosting of the DCHAS-L archive is provided through the generous support of Safety Emporium.