Date: Sun, 29 Aug 2010 21:42:54 -0400
Reply-To: roberth_hill**At_Symbol_Here**
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: roberth_hill**At_Symbol_Here**MINDSPRING.COM
Subject: Re: Follow up Re: [DCHAS-L] Safety Training

Some of you probably know that Dave Finster and I have written a new col lege textbook "Laboratory Safety for Chemistry Students".  We wrote th is with the intention that it could be one of the tools to "chang e the safety culture".  We designed this resource so that it could be used through 4 years of chemical laboratory education from the fi rst year through advanced years - its 70 sections spread over that period o f time can provide continuous reinforcement of safety.  We are ho ping that as in "Field of Dreams" that now we have written LSCS, " they will come" to use it - our academic colleagues.  We are glad to h ear that others are also interested in ways to strengthen the safety cultur e.  Thanks.  Bob


Robert H. Hill, Jr. (aka Bob)

-----Original Message-----
From: List Moderator
Sent: Aug 29, 2010 11:01 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Follow up Re: [DCHAS-L] Safety Training

Date: August 28, 2010 8:59:24 PM EDT
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Safety Training


I'm not trying to paint EHS departments as not caring or clu eless or caving.    I' m not "outside" academia - I'm a former insider, a professor who actually h ad such good relations with his EHS department that I went into business wi th one of the them:   Back in the day, I was one of a handful or faculty (campu s-wide) that ever showed any proactive (rather than reactive) initiative wi th respect to safety and I know the battles that have to be fought.   I have the greatest respect for EHS/OHS - it's what my company is about.  And I'm a big cheerleader for what's being done at various d epartments - note the Further Reading Links in our MSDS HyperGlossary; many point to academic EHS Department writeups, Princeton included.  I've seen too many horrid academic l ab accidents, and grow frustrated every time I hear of another obviously pr eventable injury or death.

These occur because safety culture is generally absent from universities as well as their curriculum.   The first step in that direction, a "no course, no work, ( and let's add no paycheck)" rule could, in fact, be implemented quite easil y - the same SAP systems that cover I-9, W-4 and other employee paperwork a re the perfect way to do it.  It is simple, but the bureaucracy and fiefdoms will, of course, resist t hat change.   But that chan ge needs to come - whether it is raised as an agenda item at whatever safet y committees exist and works its way up through there or perhaps the Univer sity Senate.  Or maybe just two motivated people - someone in EHS and the University's risk manager - bam, it's an insurance/liability issue, not a lab issue, so the academic de partments have no ammo to push back against it.    And there is always a state legislature - let' s see what happens in CA after the UCLA incident.

As far as safety culture in the curriculum - the next shove in that direction will have to come from the ACS.   Make it part of the accreditation process.  Safety analysis, risk management, etc. are simply not being taught as essential skills in chemistry.   In the meantime, safety culture can at least be introduced in the EHS training courses.

Robin, I have no doubt you guys are going all you can and mo re, and I never stated otherwise.   ; Our goals are the same - to ensure that everyone gets training and reduces accidents.  But re cent events (TX, UCLA) illustrate that a safety revolution in the academic laboratory is long overdue.   While (the collective) we have improved over the years, it's time to swi tch from plugging leaks and patching holes to building a new safety infrast ructure - we have a lot of good building materials (training courses etc.) but need a much better foundation (safety paradigms, enforceable policies, safety culture) that will make those training materials even more effective .


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