Date: Fri, 8 May 2009 10:39:50 -0400
Reply-To: "Reinhardt, Peter" <peter.reinhardt**At_Symbol_Here**YALE.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: "Reinhardt, Peter" <peter.reinhardt**At_Symbol_Here**YALE.EDU>
Subject: UCLA Incident - OSHA Lab Standard

We are all saddened by this tragedy. As safety professionals, we all know that there are many contributing factors in such an incident, some of which we probably still don’t completely understand from a distance.

In the coverage, I’m surprised that there have be en few references to the OSHA Lab Standard and the Chemical Hygiene Plan. The OLS/CHP is key to laboratory safety, so it should be ver y relevant to this incident. (The CalOSHA citation only cited the training requirement s of the OLS.)

I wonder—are the OSHA Lab Standard requirements sufficiently rigorous to minimize the possibility of this type of accident? If not, perhaps DivCHAS should suggest improvements to th e OLS/CHP, or create a new model CHP. Is something out there already?

BTW, in December 2003 the New York Times ran a series o f articles about OSHA’s weak enforcement of workplace fatalities. See < a href=" &content_id=1089"> =legalUpdateDisp&content_id=1089 for more information. Only in the U.S. is the maximum fine for a workplace fatality is $7,000, while the maximum fine for leaving a cap off a hazardous waste container is $27,500. Some states have higher fines for littering.


Peter A. Reinhardt

Director, Office of Environmental Health & Safety

Yale University

135 College St., Suite 100

New Haven, CT   06510-2411

(203) 737-2123


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