adding s r laboratory courses. For us, this has been a good alternative to trying to schedule a stand-alone safety course, and it impacts many more students than those who would take such a course. Well-trained students also become extra eyes to spot safety problems in our program.
During a recent summer a former gen chem. student contacted me with concern that a museum where she was interning sent her to dissolve rocks in HF without any protective equipment. I sent her a box of protective and emergency equipment and she found a working hood. I was very glad that she had paid attention to our unit on corrosives and knew to consult the MSDS and to prepare well.
Coordinator of Chemistry Labs
PO Box 720
Springfield, OH 45501
In response to Roger McClellan’s comments: Understand that in order for a “culture” of safety to take hold, one must begin with an educated (in safety) faculty and staff. I’ll admit that my most safety conscious researchers are those that come from industry.
Speaking from an academic viewpoint, it is understandable that those in industry ask the question,
Why should the acceptable standard for safety at Yale, UCLA Texas Tech or any academic institution be any different than that found at corporations that have been leaders in emphasizing a safety culture for decades?”
… but what corporations have are multiple advantages not found in academia. These include:
1. Ability to fire employees at will.
2. Experienced work staff, mentoring younger employees.
3. Long term employees, as opposed to those focused short term research and academics
4. Larger safety budgets; raise the price of the little blue pill by $1.00, and see your safety budget grow. Institutions, especially State, are seeing budgets cut, and staffing stagnate.!
5. Better/larger laboratories; in academia, researchers compete for their 2.5 linear feet of bench space, and fume hoods are a premium. Working off-hours enables more bench space at the cost of breaking policy.
6. I’m sure others in academia can add to the list.
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 egress? Are you suggesting that they are all from academia?
I refer you to Robert Hill’s (ed) book entitled Handbook of Chemical Health & Safety; it is not limited to CHEMICAL safety; there are chapters on ergonomics, evacuation/shelter-in-place, process safety review, and control of hazardous energy.
My son works for a private reseach institution where on any given day, the execs will shut down operations on a Friday afternoon, bring in snacks, and have everyone gather to watch a playoff game in the conference room. That builds a team with buy-in towards the company goals including a safety culture. That scenario is unlikely to ! play out span>
As the song lyric goes, “The Difficult I’ll do now; the Impossible will take awhile.”
Stefan Wawzyniecki, CIH, CHMM
University of Connecticut
Past Chair DCHAS ACS
Previous post | Top of Page | Next post