Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2011 08:49:23 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
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From: "Wawzyniecki Jr, Stefan" <stefan.w**At_Symbol_Here**UCONN.EDU>
Subject: Re: 6 re: SAFETY
In-Reply-To: <938911.21126.qm**At_Symbol_Here**>

In respon se to Roger McClellan’s comments:   Understan d that in order for a “culture” of safety to take hold,  o ne must begin with an educated (in safety) faculty and staff.   & nbsp; I’ll admit that my most safety conscious researchers are t hose that come from industry.

Speaking from a n academic viewpoint, it is understandable that those in industry ask the q uestion,

Why should the acceptable standar d for safety at Yale, UCLA Texas Tech or any academic institution be any di fferent than that found at corporations that have been leaders in emphasizi ng a safety culture for decades?”


… but what cor porations have are multiple advantages not found in academia.  These i nclude:

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1.       Ability to fire employees a t will.

2. & nbsp;     Experie nced work staff, mentoring younger employees.

3.       < /span>Long term employees, as opposed to those  focused short term research and academics

4.       < /span>Larger safety budgets;  raise the price of the little blue pill by $1.00, and see your safety budget grow.  In stitutions, especially State, are seeing budgets cut, and staffing stagnate .

5.       Better/larger laboratories;  in academia, researchers compete for their 2.5 linear f eet of bench space, and fume hoods are a premium.  Working off-hours e nables more bench space at the cost of breaking policy.

6.       ; Security/ restrictions on after-hou rs access to labs.   Industry hires guards.

I’m sure others in academia can add to th e list.

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Regarding your example of a corprate exec pointing out emergency exits-

How many flights have you been on where you observed many in the cabin ignoring the flight attendent’s instructions on emergency egres s?  Are you suggesting that they are all from academia?

I refer you to Robert Hill’s (ed) book entitled Handb ook of Chemical Health & Safety;  it is not limited to CHEMICAL sa fety;   there are chapters on ergonomics, evacuation/shelter-in-p lace, process safety review, and control of hazardous energy. 

My son works for a private reseach institution wher e on any given day, the execs will shut down operations on a Friday afterno on, bring in snacks, and have everyone gather to watch a playoff game in th e conference room.  That builds a team with buy-in towards the company goals including a safety culture.  That scenario is unlikely to play out in academia.

As the song lyric goes, < i>“The Difficult I’ll do now; the Impossible will take awhile.& #8221;


Stefan Wawzy niecki, CIH, CHMM


University of Connecticut

Past Chair DCHAS  ACS

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