Date: Sat, 8 Aug 2009 08:30:48 -0700
Reply-To: David Bunzow <davidbunzow**At_Symbol_Here**COMCAST.NET>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: David Bunzow <davidbunzow**At_Symbol_Here**COMCAST.NET>
Subject: Re: 3 Re: [DCHAS-L] OSHA Lab Standard Effectiveness
In-Reply-To: <FE26AD61BD644F82B4EE1D9E336F73DF**At_Symbol_Here**chemical6df00a>
I read Jay's reply and find it fundamentally flawed from the integration of
safety perspective. 80 years ago folks knew virtually nothing about the
health effects (toxicology, routes and mechanisms of exposures) of materials
on people other than a few bits and pieces about their short term impacts.
And yes Jay, it didn't stop the juggernaut of basic scientific progress. We
certainly can't claim that today when working with the same materials, nor
should we claim innate scientific ignorance just because there are
additional political, financial and regulatory issues that strongly
influence/cloud our perspectives. So it appears the way of thinking hasn't
really changed all that much despite the presence of much more information
and data suggesting much higher risks and prioritized needs for safety
integration. I say this is not only not moving forward, but some fairly
insensitive steps in reverse.

It is indeed an age and culture where examples abound of personal
accountability and institutional integrity having largely evaporated. And
this status will only change when each person takes responsibility for doing
what is right and not abdicating to 'I don't have to do X because it isn't
required by the system'.


-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of Dr.
Jay A. Young
Sent: Friday, August 07, 2009 5:38 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] 3 Re: [DCHAS-L] OSHA Lab Standard Effectiveness


Back in the 1930's when I was a young chemist, there was little if any 
emphasis on safety in the academic world.  I had one chemistry teacher, in 
High School, who indeed was safety-minded--but he was a rare breed.

So, in my experience, safety in the chemical academic world has been a 
problem for something around 80 years, at least.  If anything, in my 
experience the problem is not nearly as bad now as it was then.

Jay Young

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Ralph Stuart" 
Sent: Thursday, August 06, 2009 11:15 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] 3 Re: [DCHAS-L] OSHA Lab Standard Effectiveness

>> >I suspect that fundamental change in safety culture is sorely
>> needed in the majority of academic labs and their inhabitants - and  this

>> is just not supported by many academic administrations who see  safety as

>> just an add-on rather than an integrated part of learning  and research 
>> involving human beings.
>> >I would be interested to hear what others think about this aspect
>> of safety culture and accountability.
> I agree that there is a cultural disconnect between the academic 
> laboratory culture and external expectations of safety culture and 
> accountability. I think that one reason for this is the major increase  in

> the amount and diversity of research labs over the last 20 years  without 
> a concomitant increase in administrative support (although  there has been

> a significant increase in, for example, EHS support for  labs, I don't 
> believe that it has kept up with extent of lab work and  the increase in 
> regulation of hazardous materials and other oversight  issues that affect 
> labs).
> As the UCLA report pointed out, information about the kind of work  that's

> going on in these labs is not well organized centrally, so the  support 
> needs of the laboratory workers, whether in terms of facility 
> capabilities, or regulatory compliance assistance, or management of 
> common equipment, is often lacking. And when these needs are not met,  I 
> suspect that it's easier to accept the accountability gaps that  others 
> have pointed to.
> Add to this the scientific tradition of independent research within 
> academia and the history of scientific heros who have suffered health- 
> wise for their work and there are many cultural messages that confuse  the

> safety attitude of laboratory workers. In this respect, I'm  heartened to 
> hear that the UK seems to have made progress through its  mandated risk 
> assessment process at the lab level.
> - Ralph
> Ralph Stuart, CIH
> Environmental Safety Manager
> University of Vermont
> Environmental Safety Facility
> 667 Spear St. Burlington, VT  05405
> rstuart**At_Symbol_Here**
> fax: (802)656-5407

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