Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2011 16:48:08 -0800
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From: Jean & Ken Smith <smith.j.k**At_Symbol_Here**SBCGLOBAL.NET>
Subject: UCLA Death
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Ugly headline about the death of a student, but warranted in my opinion

UCLA could be fined up to $1.5 million on each of the three counts. In
separate statements Tuesday, UCLA and the regents called the charges
unwarranted. UCLA's statement blasted them as "outrageous" and "appalling."

"This isn't justice," Kevin Reed, UCLA vice chancellor for legal affairs,
said in an interview. "What happened in December 2008 was a tragedy, an
unfathomable tragedy. It was not a crime."

In my 20 years of Cal/OSHA as an IH inspector, I found that universities
laboratories were places that lacked many health and safety needs.
Primarily, the reasons were that the professors only gave lip service to
safety as long as it did not impinge on their time and authority.  They were
loath to even see us when we came to inspect and had to be dragged out to
even be interviewed, much less be confronted with evidence.

Many did not even seem to know much about health and safety and what was
needed in their labs to protect their students, and even themselves.  =
EHS departments had little to no authority to cause changes if the
department head demurred.  Not a good situation overall.

Perhaps this will wake up the University of California and others around the
country to the need for a decent H&S environment in the labs and where
chemicals are used.  It also harks back to the machine shop death a while
back in an eastern university.  The students need the training to protect
their selves and to protect the schools from disasters such as these. But
mostly, the professors need the training the most, and perhaps a lesson or
two in being humble.

Ken Smith
Former CIH, now retired

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