Date: Thu, 14 Apr 2011 10:06:25 -0700
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: Roger McClellan <roger.o.mcclellan**At_Symbol_Here**ATT.NET>
Subject: Re: Yale student killed in chemistry laboratory accident/ A Call
for a broad perspective on safety
In-Reply-To: <1bab.6b44a6dc.3ad86494**At_Symbol_Here**>

To all:
   With all due respect to Monona and Leonard, I am writing to offer a different perspecti ve on the tragic accident that claimed the life of a brilliant young studen t. I view the accident as a "wake up call" to all health and safety profess ionals to look beyond their own  , frequently self-defined, sphere  of interest and ask if they are fulfilling the real needs of their institution and its students and employees. I am concerned that  focus on "chemical safety" and a failure to look broadly at the health and safet y of employees , and in this case- students, misses the big picture. < /DIV>
    I find it tragic that some participants in this blog could so quickly jump to an argument that this was not really a " chemical accident". I would like them to try to offer that lame and na rrow viewpoint to the parents of the deceased young lady. Her parents& nbsp;sent her her to Yale, a distinguished institution, in the hope that sh e would receive  an excellent education and be kept safe. I hope that the safety professionals at Yale are not wasting much time arguing ove r who did or did not have responsibility for oversight of the Machine Shop in the Basement of the Chemistry Building. Rather, I hope they are asking h ow  could this have happened at Yale, was it because they work in "silos" and no one has accepted real responsibility for safety. I hope the President of Yale is asking how did he and the University  fail this young lady. Does Yale really give adequate attention to the health and safety of its employees and students? Or do they merely meet the  ;narrow requirements of the law. I urge each of you to ask the same qu estions of your selves and your institution.
    ;   The comments I offer are based on having provided leadership for two major research laboratories, one focused on studying the toxicity o f  radioactive materials and the other on studying chemicals. In both cases , I found it important to go beyond the requirements of the law and h ave a Health and Safety Unit that reported directly to me as the CEO and to assure that the Unit was staffed by well-trained and credentialed professi onals (certified Industrial Hygienists and Health Physicists, Safety Specia lists, and Fire Protection Specialists)  who worked as a team and inst illed a true commitment to health and safety in all our employees and stude nts. We did not waste much time over arguing about boundaries. One of the b iggest challenges I and my staff faced was dealing with the narrow perspect ive of the "government agency" auditors whose focus was usually on rad iation or chemical safety.
     I hope tha t everyone can learn from yet another tragic accident at a major academic i nstitution, I am recalling the events at UCLA that are still ingrained in m y memory. Those memories were recently refreshed with UCLA announcing a new Center for Chemical Safety. I hope the Chancellor at UCLA and the Presiden t of the University of California will reflect on the Yale tragedy and ask if they have given the appropriate scope to their new venture and staffed i t with well-trained and credentialed personnel. I suggest that each of you do the same irrespective of the nature of your organization be it private o r public , academic or research or production.
    Most of all, please do not set artificial boundaries on pieces of turf& nbsp;within your organizations  that have  impact on the  he alth and safety of employees and students. Unfortunately, some agencies lik e OSHA do that under the guise of following the law, recall they noted the Yale accident was not of concern to them because the victim was a student n ot an employee. Sounds like the refrain from California. I hope that OSHA h as come out of hiding at Yale and is at least cooperating in the investigat ion. Recalling the UCLA accident I hope the President of Yale does not init iate renovation of the Machine Shop and destroy evidence before the ac cident investigation is concluded.
    Thanks f or letting me express my views.
& nbsp;
Roger O. McClellan
.Advisor, Toxicology and Human Healt h Risk Analysis
13701 Quaking Aspen Place NE
Albu querque, NM 87111
Tel: 505-296-7083
Fax: 505-296- 9573
E-mail: roger.o.mcclellan**At_Symbol_Here**

From: "ACTSNYC**At_Symbol_Here**CS.COM" <ACTSNYC**At_Symbol_Here**CS.CO M>
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.U VM.EDU
Sent: Thu, April 14, 2011 8:54:12 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Yale student killed in chemistry laboratory accident

I completely agree. There was no reason to assume the chemis try department was involved.  Most universities I've worked at have a shop that is used by many departments.  It may actually be primarily i n the engineering or in the art departments.  But it can be used by an yone who qualifies on the shop machines (if they have a good program).  ; And the problem with most is there is 24 hour access and no monitors at n ight.

24 hour access is actually a major selling point to attract students in art and theater.  It is really difficult to get t he school to either reduce the hours or pay for trained monitors all night.

The faculty at one school I was at recently told me the shop was lo cked at night which I believed until I found out from a conversation with s tudents that they all knew how to break in and they did it whenever they ha d a deadline they hadn't met.  And they were sure the faculty actually knew they did this.  That would make intereting tesimony in an accide nt lawsuit.


In a message dated 4/14/2011 9:11:12 AM Eastern Daylight Time, Keifer.Leonard**At_Symbol_Here**EPAMAIL.EPA.GOV writes:

While it is tragic that th e young lady died in such a way I find it
disturbing that the accident w as immediately assumed to be a chemistry
laboratory accident. She may ha ve been working on a project for a
chemistry course but the accident was clearly a machine shop accident.

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