Date: Thu, 20 Oct 2011 10:50:44 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**>
From: "Ringen, Sonja G." <sonja.ringen**At_Symbol_Here**NIST.GOV>
Subject: Re: CSB Texas Tech Case Study
In-Reply-To: <DC9B6B340B77DE43BFFBBFD7F28C2FD92201C8E3**At_Symbol_Here**>

I suspected the purpose of the CSB TTU presentation was an expanded press release, because that's how it came across.  They provided pointers to more details and created an interest with possible solutions for the future.

The major root cause that CSB found at the incident at TTU was lack of a safety management system.  A management system must be chosen purposefully and a commitment made to follow it.  The ANSI Z10 and OSHA's VPP requirements both are good systems.   The road to a good safety culture and safety management system, if one is not already in place, is long and difficult and takes literally many years to accomplish.

One of the DCHAS symposiums at the Denver meeting in August was related to safety cultures.  Two of the presentations are on the DCHAS web page,, and might be helpful to review.  Ralph Stuart presented data from his survey, Safety Culture of Academic Labs, which can serve as a baseline.  Ken Fivizzani delivered a presentation, It All Starts at the Top, that I believe calls into focus the necessary foundation for a safety management system to be successful, i.e. leadership from top management.  Without line management accepting its responsibility for safety,  the work of safety professionals will be minimally successful.  That will be the major challenge for academia.  It has been a major challenge in government labs and industrial labs, too, but what will be viewed as an "extra responsibility" in academic settings will be constantly challenged until safety is adopted as a value.  I'm!
 interested in reading your ideas as to how safety can be adopted as a value.

Sonja G. Ringen
Safety Specialist
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Boulder, CO
(303) 497-7389
-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Robin M. Izzo
Sent: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 12:58 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] CSB Texas Tech Case Study

Honestly, I found the entire presentation disappointing.  The joint presentation by the CSB and Texas Tech at the CSHEMA conference in July was excellent and provided some excellent points to ponder that were absent from this webinar.

The issues regarding policies, structure, training, etc all needing to work together to create a positive safety culture were very well stated.  As far as reporting structures, I hope that the CSB (or rather, the ACS, as it seems) doesn't go out and suggest that every college and university change their structure.  The issue is not necessarily who EHS reports to, it's about the relationship that EHS has with the research side of the house.

For example, at Princeton, the reporting structure is nearly exactly the same as Texas Tech's structure at the time of their incident.  However, the Dean for Research, the Dean of the Faculty, the Provost and even the president of the University are partners in lab safety.  We have an escalation process in place that goes from the laboratory worker to the PI to the department chair to the Dean for Research.  The Dean for Research is also the chair of the University Research Board, which grants PI status, among other things.  As needed, we will bring in the Dean of Faculty (for faculty performance issues), the Dean of the Graduate School (for graduate student issues), etc.

If we changed our structure to what was proposed, then what about our non-laboratory issues?  What about general safety, ergonomics, fire safety, etc?  How does that fit in?

I also felt that they were too focused on regulation.  What does it matter that the OSHA lab standard defines "particularly hazardous substances" based only on toxicity?  It still says we have to have a strong safety program and it refers to Prudent Practices.  Last I checked, Prudent Practices had plenty of emphasis on physical hazards.

As for training, the general laboratory safety training that our EHS provides touches on explosives, reactive materials, and other unusual hazards, but does not get into specifics.   Specifics come from other resources and procedures, as well as in-lab training.

Has CSB already had discussions with ACS about the charge they have given?  If so, who or what group has been asked to do this?

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 Ernest Lippert
Sent: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 2:04 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] CSB Texas Tech Case Study

To All,
What is obviously lacking, in addition to effective communication, is common sense. A point I make in safety training is: "Careful consideration must be given to every operation where the risk of injury may occur. Always, education, information, and common sense should dictate the consequentially proper procedures", (paraphrased from Jay A. Young).
Ernest Lippert

On Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 1:35 PM, Erik A. Talley  wrote:
Your Friend, Erik Talley, has recommended the following page on CSB
Startup NET

Title: CSB Texas Tech Case Study

NOTE: If your e-mail account doesn't automatically turn the URL above into a link, you can copy and paste it into your browser.

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