Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2011 11:02:54 -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: "Olinger, Patricia L" <patty.olinger**At_Symbol_Here**EMORY.EDU>
Subject: Re: Fw: [DCHAS-L] 6 re: SAFETY
In-Reply-To: <1677852553957F45BA7188EE44766EB34C8AD74A43**At_Symbol_Here**>

I 100% completely agree.  Also, having worked in both.  It is not an industry vs academy issue.  There are lessons to be learned on both sides.

Process (in industry) and lack of consistency in processes (in academia) is one issue that is a frustration.  You can see its negative effect on behaviors and safety culture.  It is both a frustration not only for EHS staff but also for the research community.  While I would say that this is something that industry is currently "better" at.  It has not always been that way.

As Mary Beth indicates below, this incident is a horrible tragedy.  It should be a wake-up call for ALL.  Working together in a collaborative effort is so important.

Patty Olinger

From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of Koza, Mary Beth (Environment Health & Safety)
Sent: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 10:02 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Fw: [DCHAS-L] 6 re: SAFETY


Having worked for both industry and academy,  I disagree with both view points.  Neither place has a better culture of safety!  Each has its positives and negatives.

Think about the number of car accidents daily!  Every fatal car accident is a tragedy but they do not receive the attention and do not receive the importance of prevention.   As individuals we make choices everyday which can affect our safety.  As safety professionals, we must continue to provide education on accident prevention, we must review our the types of accidents occurring at our institutions, identify corrective accidents and implement corrective accidents.  We must model the culture of safety!

This incident is a tragedy, but we should be working together to find solutions instead of casting blame.

I highly respect the individuals of this list serve but this is not an industry vs academy issue.

Mary Beth Koza

From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of Beth Shepard
Sent: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 9:26 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Fw: [DCHAS-L] 6 re: SAFETY

Beth Shepard/cmpl/mke/sial

04/19/2011 08:19 AM


DCHAS-L Discussion List 



Re: [DCHAS-L] 6 re: SAFETYLink

Good morning--

While these are very good points regarding the differences, there are a couple of things that need to be mentioned.

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.

Apparently, you have an overly optimistic view of industry. If the price of the products is raised, most of that increase does NOT go to increasing departmental budgets. While Safety has gotten a much higher profile in the past 10 years or so, the departmental staff has to justify any expenditure, which is very hard to do when you're talking about prevention (it's very hard to prove a negative). Safety has never been considered a profit-center, in most cases it is considered administrative.

To maximize workspace, we (& many in industry) run 2 or 3 shifts, but they are also required to follow the rules. No one working with chemical works alone. No exceptions. Our Production, R&D, Packaging and Material handling groups all take their breaks and lunches at the same time for this reason. While that not practical in academia, a buddy system could be instituted. If a "buddy" can't be found, access to the lab is not allowed. If the consequences of non-compliance were more stringent, compliance would improve. Grades were always a good motivator when I was in school.

Anecdotally, one of our new PhDs was working in his lab area years ago, when the evacuation alarm went off. Everyone else immediately shut down what had to be shut down & evacuated. He kept working. In this case, it had been a drill. But that drill almost got this employee fired. Not only hadn't he evacuated, but he was then working in a lab area alone. He was still following the culture he had been taught (or allowed to learn) at the university.


Beth Shepard / Technical Compliance Specialist
Regulatory Compliance
6000 N. Teutonia Ave. / Milwaukee, WI 53209 / USA
P: (414) 438-3850, x5471

"Wawzyniecki Jr, Stefan" 
Sent by: DCHAS-L Discussion List 

04/19/2011 07:49 AM
Please respond to
DCHAS-L Discussion List 





Re: [DCHAS-L] 6 re: SAFETY

In response to Roger McClellanÕs comments:   Understand that in order for a "culture" of safety to take hold,  one must begin with an educated (in safety) faculty and staff.     IÕll 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?"

É 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.       Security/ restrictions on after-hours access to labs.   Industry hires guards.
IÕm 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 attendentÕs instructions on emergency egress?  Are you suggesting that they are all from academia?

I refer you to Robert HillÕs (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 in academia.

As the song lyric goes, "The Difficult IÕll do now; the Impossible will take awhile."

Stefan Wawzyniecki, CIH, CHMM
University of Connecticut
Past Chair DCHAS  ACS

This message and any files transmitted with it are the property of Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, are confidential, and are intended solely for the use of the person or entity to whom this e-mail is addressed. If you are not one of the named recipient(s) or otherwise have reason to believe that you have received this message in error, please contact the sender and delete this message immediately from your computer. Any other use, retention, dissemination, forwarding, printing, or copying of this e-mail is strictly prohibited.

This e-mail message (including any attachments) is for the sole use of
the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged
information. If the reader of this message is not the intended
recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution
or copying of this message (including any attachments) is strictly

If you have received this message in error, please contact
the sender by reply e-mail message and destroy all copies of the
original message (including attachments).

Previous post   |  Top of Page   |   Next post

The content of this page reflects the personal opinion(s) of the author(s) only, not the American Chemical Society, ILPI, Safety Emporium, or any other party. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. Unauthorized reproduction of these materials is prohibited. Send questions/comments about the archive to
The maintenance and hosting of the DCHAS-L archive is provided through the generous support of Safety Emporium.