Colleagues, 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'. David -----Original Message----- From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**list.uvm.edu] 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 Ralph, 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"
To: 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**uvm.edu > fax: (802)656-5407 >
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