From: "Secretary, ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety" <secretary**At_Symbol_Here**DCHAS.ORG>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] UC - LADA Agreement
Date: August 3, 2012 12:20:23 PM EDT
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: <49C53D02-F36F-48C7-A167-53CBBBBAAA3C**At_Symbol_Here**>

From: "Ashbrook, Peter C"
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] UC - LADA Agreement
Date: August 3, 2012 10:20:39 AM EDT

This whole discussion has been quite disturbing on a variety of levels. I have been working with EHS programs in academia for 30 years. That doesn't make me better or worse than others on this list, but it does mean I have had a lot of experience.

There have been numerous suggestions that safety in academia is worse than safety in industry. While I have yet to see any metrics to support that allegation, to me the comparisons are the least of the issue. For me, the issue is how can we do better and I would hope that would be the issue for all of us in the safety profession.

Every university I know of has polices stating a commitment to the safety of faculty, staff, students and the public, as well as a commitment to regulatory compliance. Are those policies always implemented to the satisfaction of the safety profession? Of course not. My problem with the "make them do it or else" approach is that when EHS becomes known as the enforcer, we become responsible for safety. When EHS is responsible for safety, then the faculty, supervisors, and staff become less engaged with safety and blame EHS when things go wrong. Enforcement has its place, but we have much more success with a collaborative approach. I also believe that safety professionals receive much more respect when we approach faculty and laboratory staff as peers than if we approach them with an arrogant attitude that they do not care about safety.

Faculty can be argumentative, but if we are confident in our safety recommendations, we have the ammunition to convince them of giving proper attention to safety. In education, premises are frequently questioned and analyzed; safety issues are no different. Too often, safety people give the impression that it is their way or the highway. I find that a collaborative approach almost always engenders mutual respect and a quest for the best way of proceeding. It may be harder work to deal with faculty on safety issues, but at the end of the day I have some confidence that they understand the issues and will take appropriate steps. I am always suspicious when people blindly accede to my recommendations because I am not sure if they really understand.

When I was in graduate school, one of my professors remarked words to the effect that there is nothing like a bad accident or tragedy to focus people's attention on public health. Unfortunately, that still seems to be the case. In almost every case, these tragedies could have been easily prevented with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. These days, the focus is on UCLA because of the tragedy that happened there. People are understandably upset that the tragedy happened and I don't mean to belittle anyone's opinions about what is appropriate punishment. We have to do better. On the other hand, academia is not the only industry to experience tragedies.

The CSB report and the UCLA tragedy have given us a great opportunity to advance safety in academia. Rather than putting our energies into casting blame and painting people or institutions negatively, I would much prefer to focus on how we do better. I have experienced excellent cooperation on our safety initiatives in the past year, even before the CSB report came out or the LADA filed charges against the U of California and the UCLA professor. Most faculty want good guidance and assistance from us safety folks. I think the number of "bad apples" has been decreasing due to a variety of factors, including the good work of EHS staff in universities. I don't believe the answer is simply pointing at top administration and waiting for them to magically make their institutions will be safe.

Peter Ashbrook, Director
Division of Research Safety
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


From: 8524828hau**At_Symbol_Here**
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] UC - LADA Agreement
Date: August 3, 2012 10:15:27 AM EDT

Monona's concept of "line management responsibility" and "clear roles and responsibilities" (two of the guiding principles in my previous response describing Integrated Safety Management) is on target. It has worked in basic science Department of Energy research laboratories where there are principal investigators who have individually-funded research projects/programs. Even if not funded directly by the Department of Energy, the PI is an employee of the Laboratory as a whole -- and thus in the line management chain of command extending up to the director of the Laboratory which may have 1000-2000 researchers. Monona's concept of "stop work authority" is on target, except that in the DOE labs the ES&H professionals hope to convince the direct supervisor to take the corrective action, thus transferring the enforcement role to the line management (as well as providing a teaching/learning moment for the supervisor).

David Haugen, recently retired
From a DOE basic and applied science research Laboratory having 3000+ employees, including about 1200 researchers.


From: Rita Kay Calhoun
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] UC - LADA Agreement
Date: August 3, 2012 11:09:10 AM EDT

Thank you Kim for your input. As a PhD chemist/educator who now also has an official safety component to my job, I see the frustrations on both sides. Yes, there are professors who don't enforce ppe use when hazardous chemicals are being used, but there are also EHS folk who would have me make my introductory lab students wear gloves when the only "chemical" they are using is D.I. water. "Just do it" is a great sound bite, but is usually difficult to accomplish no matter what the IT is. Without working together to understand all facets of science research, education, industry, and safety, there can be no true culture of safety.


From: Ken Simolo
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] UC - LADA Agreement
Date: August 3, 2012 10:20:40 AM EDT

Rather than kicking people out of labs, I have found it much better to educate and inform first, being a partner in safety versus someone doling out punishment. I resort to strong arm measures only when everything else fails. It is extremely rare that someone refuses to cooperate when approached in a professional helpful manner. However, there are some who require multiple reminders. From my experience, compliance is significantly improved by acting in this manner and researchers use you as a resource rather than running away when they see you coming. And I have to agree with Kim, the day I can no longer act in this way is the day I step down.


From: "Wardecke, Jon"
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] UC - LADA Agreement
Date: August 3, 2012 10:20:26 AM EDT
To: dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**

In the healthcare field - The Joint Commission (TJC) requires a Safety Officer for the facility, who has the power/ability to stop work immediately, to have a delegation letter signed by the Director indicating/endorsing such items as indicated. As indicated below, Safety is a resource for facility personnel on safety and health issues, but the delegation letters allows one to immediately stop work if needed. JW

Jon Wardecke, CIH, HEM
Occupational Safety & Health Manager/Industrial Hygienist
VA Medical Center (00S)
5000 West National Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53295
(414) 384-2000 X42934

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