Ken, you have a point. The universities are a place where the awareness of health and safety begins in a scientist careerbe it that they stay in academic or go on to industry. Maybe this is a wake up call to the universities to really
teach safety to their students and not just to fulfill a requirement.
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Jean & Ken Smith
Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2011 4:48 PM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] UCLA Death
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 unfathomabletragedy. It was not a crime."
In my 20 years of Cal/OSHAas 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. The 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 trainingto protect their selves and to protect the schools from disasters such as these. But mostly, the professors need the training the most, and perhaps alesson or two in being humble.
Former CIH, now retired
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