Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2010 19:52:02 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: "Samuella B. Sigmann" <sigmannsb**At_Symbol_Here**APPSTATE.EDU>
Subject: Re: Safety Training
In-Reply-To: <D6A894F6502BDF43AF0C4A59BB97404F079652AE**At_Symbol_Here**>

Thanks, Robin -

Having never worked in industry, I only know the problems that are 
encountered in academics. My only compliance enforcement is that if I 
ask a researcher to do something and they don't - I can ask them again. 
It is my opinion that the American Chemical Society should add a 
required safety course in their certified programs. Additionally, 
researchers and administrators will not respond to enforcement until it 
is part of the tenure and promotion process for keeping a research lab. 
There also needs to be stronger enforcement from the granting agencies - 
They should be doing on site inspections before releasing money to PIs. 
That will get their attention.

Just my thoughts,

Robin M. Izzo wrote:
> If only it were that simple… an outright ban on laboratory work until 
> the worker has completed safety training. In a way, we have that, but 
> it is so much more complicated and I honestly believe that only those 
> who work in academia can appreciate that.
> First, let’s talk about WHO these laboratory workers are. There are 
> several types, here are a few:
> - Faculty, who rarely actually work in the lab, but are ultimately 
> responsible.
> - Staff – it is a true luxury for a lab to have a professional staff 
> member. This is a rarity.
> - Post-doctoral associates – in the lab for months or years. For the 
> most part, they have spent nearly all of their time in academic 
> teaching labs or university research labs where the “safety culture” 
> varies from institution to institution and from department to 
> department. They are making very little money and don’t see themselves 
> as employees. They are the prodigal stepchildren of the university.
> - Graduate students – technically, they are not employees, but in most 
> cases, the veteran grad students will have at least some leadership 
> responsibilities in the lab. Depending on their degree, they could be 
> there for 6 months to 6 years.
> - Visiting researchers – may be in the lab for weeks or months or 
> years, depending on the project. May officially be an employee or 
> student of another institution
> - Undergraduate students – may be in the research lab for an academic 
> project, as a volunteer, as a part-time employee
> - High school students – may be in the research lab for an academic 
> project, may volunteer for “experience”, may be a part-time employee.
> Now, how do they get here?
> - Faculty – spend weeks or months preparing for start-up. Depending on 
> how the university is set up, their hiring may be separate from staff 
> hiring. At Princeton, the Dean of Faculty hires faculty and lab staff, 
> while Human Resources hires admin staff. They have different rules, 
> procedures, etc depending on which group hires them.
> - Staff – may be hired through the Dean of Faculty (apart from the 
> Human Resources side of things) or through the same route as a 
> standard employee. May arrive any time of the year.
> - Post-docs – may arrive any time of the year, usually by arrangement 
> with the department
> - Graduate students – usually arrive at the beginning of a semester or 
> during the summer
> - Visiting researchers – may arrive any time of the year, usually by 
> arrangement with the department
> - Undergraduate student – may start working in the lab any time and if 
> not paid, nobody outside the lab might even know they are associated 
> with the lab
> - High school students – may arrive any time of the year, but usually 
> during the summer. If paid, perhaps HR knows. Many will volunteer and 
> it could be that only the principal investigator knows that they are 
> associated with the lab.
> So, already things are complicated. There is not a single system for 
> entering the laboratory environment. Thus, for most universities, it 
> is the responsibility of the principal investigator/faculty to ensure 
> that all have been through training, among many, many other 
> responsibilities, including teaching, writing, mentoring, etc.
> At Princeton, it is mandatory for anyone working in research 
> laboratories to attend the 3 hour laboratory safety training provided 
> by EHS. That is a University Policy and there are consequences for 
> non-compliance. It applies to faculty, staff, post-docs, students, 
> visitors, paid or unpaid. Our degree of compliance varies:
> - Faculty – 100% compliance. EHS receives reports from the Dean of 
> Faculty of all new faculty hires. EHS contacts the department to see 
> if they will have a research lab. If they will, we contact them and 
> tell them of the requirement for Laboratory Supervisor briefing – a 
> one-on-one training session that focuses on their role as a supervisor 
> and introduces them to the safety culture. If they give us a hard time 
> about making arrangements, we will escalate from the Chair to the Dean 
> of Research. So far, in 10 years we have never had to do that.
> - Staff – there are not many and we have very good compliance
> - Graduate students – excellent compliance – our training is part of 
> their orientation
> - Undergraduates – very good compliance – our training is part of the 
> curriculum for most science and engineering majors, but non-majors may 
> be an issue
> - Post-docs and visiting researchers – variable. Truly depends on how 
> much the department knows of what is happening in the labs and the how 
> well the PI is paying attention.
> - High school students – recently banned, but we had excellent 
> compliance because there was a formal program for review and approval 
> of minors in the lab and they could not begin work until they attended 
> training.
> Lab Safety Training is instructor-led classroom training. We offer it 
> at least once a month. We simply don’t have the staffing to do much 
> more than that, but in February, June and September, when most are 
> beginning their stint at Princeton, we conduct numerous sessions. If 
> someone is not able to attend before they are scheduled to begin in 
> the lab, then they can work in the lab only if someone in the lab who 
> has been trained is willing to take responsibility for them and they 
> are supervised at all times by a trained individual. They must attend 
> the next session.
> As for undergraduate teaching labs, Teaching Assistants and 
> instructors are given safety curriculum to provide to all students, 
> and safety is written directly into the procedures.
> I don’t think Princeton’s approach is unique, yet we still don’t have 
> 100% compliance. We take it very seriously and are constantly looking 
> for ways to improve, but it is an uphill battle, not because people 
> don’t care and not because people complain, but because universities 
> are incredibly decentralized and it is unrealistic to expect that 
> every faculty member is going to be vigilant about it. If they are 
> not, the decentralized nature means that there may not be enough 
> additional checks and balances.
> That’s my 2 cents (given the length, maybe more like $2).
> Robin
> Robin M. Izzo, M.S.
> Associate Director, EHS
> Princeton University
> 609-258-6259 (office)
> /Leap and the net will appear. /- Zen Saying
> /When you stumble, make it part of the dance. /- Unknown
> Save a tree...please don't print this or any document unless truly 
> necessary.
> *From:* DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU] *On 
> Behalf Of *ILPI
> *Sent:* Thursday, August 26, 2010 10:50 AM
> *To:* DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
> *Subject:* Re: [DCHAS-L] Safety Training
> Academia needs to wake up and have a simple outright ban on all 
> laboratory work until the worker has completed their mandatory safety 
> training. We don't allow folks to start driving and then "get around 
> to" getting their driver's licenses, do we?
> I agree that most EHS departments have enough grief being seen as an 
> arcane enforcer rather than safety/productivity partner in academia, 
> however this one simple rule needs to be written in stone so it isn't 
> unwritten in blood.
> In my 4 years at MIT, not one person ever said "I can't wait to start 
> work but have to take my training class first." They just started in 
> the lab. Now, that was back in the days when the web was still a 
> twinkle in Tim Berners-Lee's eye and things have likely improved to a 
> fair degree. However, the attitude of "work now and safety when I get 
> around to it" is still rampant at most academic institutions and is a 
> direct result of failure to promote safety culture.
> I conjecture that this failure of academic institutions to teach and 
> promote safety culture in their curriculum and department is the root 
> cause of the vast majority of accidents at such institutions. Training 
> should start on day 1 with the formal presentations, and on day 1 the 
> message should be that safety is an integral part of planning every 
> single laboratory operation (not just experiments, either). Safety 
> planning/procedure should be written into the laboratory notebook of 
> every undergraduate student (and for that matter, graduate student and 
> postdoc). Only then can our system start graduating students competent 
> in safety culture - students who can then go on to industry without 
> culture shock or into academia with the seeds of long-overdue change.
> Rob Toreki
> PS: One other issue at the major institutions is that it is simply 
> impossible for the PI of a 20-person group to be on top of all safety 
> matters in their operation. Authority is delegated or diffused to the 
> point that folks are basically winging it in many cases. I know people 
> who saw their research advisor perhaps once every two or three weeks 
> and they were lucky to talk to him or her for 20 minutes. Those 
> previous moments will focus on one's thesis work results from the past 
> 2 weeks and plans for the coming 2 weeks are the reason for the 
> meeting; safety will never, *ever* come up. But this digresses into 
> another conversational thread.
> =====================================================
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> On Aug 26, 2010, at 9:53 AM, Dan Herrick wrote:
> As others have noted, the approach that works well in industry won't 
> work as well in academia. If the people not attending training are 
> employees of the academic institution (facilities staff, maybe?), you 
> may be able to implement some of the performance-based consequences 
> whcih have been suggested. For faculty, undergrads, grad students, and 
> post-docs, this is not realistic.
> We have web-based training for a number of modules (Haz Waste, General 
> Chem, etc) and we require documentation of Lab Specific training every 
> year. All training is also recorded in a system where we can track 
> metrics by PI and follow up on incomplete training. For continually 
> non-compliant folks, I try all the usual channels - multiple emails, 
> reminders of when live courses are given, attempts to give live 
> courses to an entire research group at a group meeting all at once, 
> etc. Usually people complete training eventually, if only because they 
> are sick of my repeated emails. Sometimes it comes down to individual 
> visits with individual PIs - they may not be actively "avoiding" 
> training , they may just legitimately be extremely busy. If one 
> "sells" it right, this can come across not as "You didn't do your 
> training!" but "How can I help you ensure the safety of your 
> laboratory in the most effective way?" In the long run, the latter is 
> more helpful than the former.
> A lot of it does come down to the safety culture that is created 
> within the academic institution. If EHS is viewed as a helpful partner 
> in ensuring that research proceeds in an effective manner, and if 
> there is buy-in from University leadership and Departmental leadership 
> regarding established safety programs, then "escalating" the 
> continually non-compliant to the next level of "management" is 
> straight-forward and should produce results. If EHS is viewed as 
> merely an ancillary part of the campus that enforces regulatory codes 
> or as a group which tends to impede research being done, or if top 
> level folks at the University are not interested in or engaged in 
> safety, the task is much harder.
> Good luck.
> Dan Herrick
> EHS Coordinator
> Massachusetts Institute of Technology
> Mechanical Engineering Department, Research Laboratory of Electronics,
> Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department
> herrickd**At_Symbol_Here** 
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2010 16:01:19 -0600
> From: ldamon**At_Symbol_Here**FVCC.EDU 
> Subject: [DCHAS-L] Safety Training
> To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU 
> I am wondering how others address employees “blowing-off” safety 
> training. There always seem to be the few employees that invariably 
> are no shows for the trainings.
> Thanks in advance for your replies…
> Laura Damon
> Coordinator of Instructional Safety and Chemical Hygiene
> Flathead Valley Community College
> ldamon**At_Symbol_Here** 

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