Date: Tue, 31 Aug 2010 09:10:20 -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: Ralph Stuart <rstuart**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU>
Subject: Re: Safety Training
In-Reply-To: <5542_1283214013_o7V0KDGj010439_F5D83326DC77FD4EA138E9194D6B28883374DD31F8**At_Symbol_Here**>
> >I think a key concept here is the de facto business model in 

I agree that this is a key element in the discussion, but I also think 
that this business model is changing pretty quickly, for both internal 
and external reasons. I remember that the big issue in lab safety in the 
1990's was how to be a good neighbor - how to manage chemical wastes in 
ways that corresponded to the intent of RCRA and how to do emergency 
planning for lab emergencies. Those of us who participated in that work 
have seen significant progress in those aspects of laboratory work. 
There's still work to do, but these activities that can generally be 
managed at the institutional level with laboratory level participation, 
without major changes to the business model.

However, the amount and types of chemical research being conducted have 
grown, intensified and diversified, not only in Chemistry Departments, 
but throughout academia, as research becomes more interdisciplinary. My 
feeling is that this change has created hazards that strain the academic 
oversight traditions. Adapting to this change requires not only more 
infrastructure and administrative support at the institutional level, 
but as George Walton pointed out, also more "line staff" engagement in 
the process. 

Unfortunately, my interpretation of the Division's survey on safety 
culture in academic chemistry departments last spring is that the 
cultural traditions of academia don't promote such engagement. On the 
other hand, I have noticed that many of the larger Chemistry research 
programs are hiring PhD chemists to support the departmental safety 
program, while still relying on institutional health and safety 
services. It will be interesting to see how the transition to a new 
tradition of academic oversight develops. But, I do think a transition 
is underway. And the "training" question and what it means is going to 
be a key element of that transition.

Anyway, I'd like to thank everyone who has contributed to this thread, 
as it's helped me to think through some specific issues that we're 
facing on my campus today.

- Ralph

Ralph Stuart, CIH 
Environmental Safety Manager 
University of Vermont 
Environmental Safety Facility 
667 Spear St. Burlington, VT  05405 


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