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Debbie et al,
I think a key concept here is the de facto business model in academia. Far from being a highly centralized, command-and-control organization, acad emia is heavily de-centralized in many ways. Easy to say, but what does th at mean?
I have taken to saying that each PI is the CEO of their own
shop. The buck stops with them. Their business is research, mea
the widgets they produce are publications of research results, they recruit
their “employees” to explore research questions, their research
rise and fall on how well they keep their research machine moving along.
Each CEO has to line up enough “venture capital” in the form of
grant money, so the Grant Application machine has got to be humming.
departments are not tightly managed business units with production goals, b
federations of CEOs. Colleges and Universities are loose federations
these loose federations. (This may all sound like a monstrosity, but
can a department head dictate research goals to a faculty member, especiall
when many of these leadership positions are subject to term limits?)
the small business CEO with the research shop, membership in the “res
consortium” means certain risks are centralized away (such as medical
coverage for research personnel involved in an accident) while opportunitie
remain to advance one’s career reputation as a prolific researcher.
So it seems to me. Your results may vary. span>
Not intended as an excuse for the state of affairs, but a description of the lay of the land. And not at all intended as repres entative of my employer, etc.
Robin and Rob make some excellent points, from both
directions. Here at Davis, I provide general chemical and laboratory
safety training. Yes, it’s stand-up training and I reach about
folks per year. I’m working on an on-line refresher but it just
doesn’t have that special “Debbie touch” <grin>.
Many departments won’t issue keys until students compl ete my training. Many PIs have a similar policy. More departments/P Is all the time are implementing that requirement. It’s not up to me (or EH&S) to make sure folks have training before they head into the lab. That’s the responsibility of the PI/supervisor and the dep artment to put those requirements in place.
When I started here, lab safety training was offered about e very 6 weeks or so with maybe 20 people attending. At the beginning of the fall quarter, I’ll have at least one training per week – someti mes more. It’s taken a long time to get to this point but for a big institution like UC Davis, changing the culture (turning the aircraft carri er) takes a while.
Just my $0.02.
Debbie M. Decker, Campus Chemical Safety Officer
Environmental Health and Safety
University of California, Davis
1 Shields Ave.
Davis, CA 95616
Co-Conspirator to Make the World A
Better Place -- Visit www.HeroicS tories.com and join the conspiracy
Safety is the first and foremost concern in *every* laboratory operation. Period. You relax that rule, bend it, or break it and the consequences (as we have seen) can be fatal. Reinfor cing the importance of safety by *requiring* safety training before *any* work begins telegraphs the role of safety and is an important first step (of man y) that academia needs to take to embrace the safety culture mindset.
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On Aug 27, 2010, at 4:54 PM, Robin M. Izzo wrote:
If only it were that simple… an outright ban on labora tory 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 o nly those who work in academia can appreciate that.
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