Date: Mon, 3 Oct 2011 20:28:01 +0000
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**>
From: "Robin M. Izzo" <rmizzo**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Subject: Re: new set of rules kick in
X-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List
In-Reply-To: <576D9260-4817-40B0-8F3A-AF31187A3061**At_Symbol_Here**DCHAS.ORG>

As an active member of CSHEMA, I would not discount their involvement in laboratory safety.  Yes, the group does cover more than lab safety, but DCHAS focuses on more than just laboratory safety in academia.  CSHEMA does have a Laboratory Safety committee and a Research Security committee.

When I want technical information regarding laboratory chemical safety, I'll look to DCHAS, but if I am looking for managing safety in academic labs and research labs, I look to CSHEMA.  If I'm looking for the big picture - biosafety, nanotech, radiation safety, etc., I look to CSHEMA and the individual specialty groups (ABSA, HPS, etc.).

If you're going to put something together for lab safety in academia, look to people who actually work there, with input from those who do not.  The way to reach people in academia is different than for other areas.

There are students with a great safety culture and those who don't care so much about the risk.  Keep in mind that in non-academic laboratories, the workers tend to be older, more experienced and more responsible than your average undergraduate.  You generally don't have recent high school graduates working in those labs.  Even grad students - most have not worked in labs outside of the teaching lab environment, where they follow rules that are written directly into the procedures, rather than having the responsibility of assessing risk and choosing the right safety measures.  It's a transition.

And if you look at the reportable injury rates for some major pharmaceutical companies and compare it to academia, there is not much of a difference.  A graduate student dying or suffering a serious injury as a result of a lab-related injury gets national press.  The same thing happening at a company usually doesn't.

Make no mistake - I know that academia has a way to go, but most of us  are up for the task.  We have talented, knowledgeable people dedicated to laboratory safety and we take it very seriously.

Thanks for allowing me to vent here...those of us in academia have been quietly taking the hits for months now.

Robin M. Izzo, M.S.
Associate Director, EHS
Princeton University
609-258-6259 (office)
How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg?  Four.  Calling it a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg.
~ Abraham Lincoln

-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Secretary, ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety
Sent: Monday, October 03, 2011 11:39 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] new set of rules kick in

From: "Margaret Rakas" 
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] new set of rules kick in
Date: October 3, 2011 11:23:43 AM EDT

CSHEMA is a fine group BUT is concerned with a whole lot more than lab safety, i.e., dormitory safety, cross-walk safety, natural (and other) disaster preparations, smash-an-auto-for-frat-recruitment safety, etc.

When I want laboratory safety info, specifically chemical-related, I turn to DCHAS.  (For biosafety, there is another group I belong to; same with radsafety).  Disclaimer:  I used to belong to CSHEMA but with limited funds and my job being focussed on academic safety issues, I dropped my membership.

If the working group to 'develop general guidelines for universities' is concerned primarily with laboratory safety, then I think DCHAS is the right 'host'.

As I have said before, given the burgeoning fields of molecular biology and neuroscience, and the fact that those scientists generally have less chemical background than chemists, I think DCHAS needs to find a way to understand the bread-and-butter safety issues of those fields as well..
My 2 cents worth of my personal opinion....

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.