Glad you weighed in Robin. But UCLA was not vulnerable because a young person made a bad choice. They were vulnerable because UCLA's program for handling certain types of chemicals and for training those handling them was so deficient they were charged with criminal negligence. That's why the AG's settlement reads like a rudimentary CHP. It identifies program elements which will now be enforced under a legal order.
As long as any school can document due diligence in the form of an effective safety program, they are not subject to criminal charges like those brought in UCLA's case.
So I say yet again, we should only be discussing one thing: How to make safety personnel and their programs more effective. For example, since lack of training was an issue in the UCLA case, how are people planning to get everyone trained and regularly updated? An untrained person is a school's weak link. If nobody wants to enforce attendance, I'd be interested in what alternate strategies people are using and how is that working out.
Look, if everyone just wants to share glowing words about the life and mission of academic safety people and not even discuss making changes in these hallowed programs, fine--I'll back off and wait for the next accident. But I'm not blind. I can see that in most of the schools in which I work the programs are not working. And it is especially dangerous in the art and theater departments--appalling actually.
I hoped to see some direction for improving programs coming from the cooler heads in the science departments that could be applied to my endangered art consitutents as well. I'm waiting in vain. Remember, the Yale School of Drama had two student deaths and the Yale science shop had one before UCLA's recent accident. And that's just Yale. What's it going to take?.
In a message dated 8/7/2012 11:06:21 AM Eastern Daylight Time, secretary**At_Symbol_Here**DCHAS.ORG writes:
Like most of my peers in academia, my group has the authority discussed in these posts. In our case, we have an escalation process that reaches the Dean for Research or the Dean of the Faculty. I can shut down a lab if I feel it necessary. I can impose safety requirements. We have policies and procedures, resources, training and other elements that are part of a good safety program.
But that doesn't mean that we are not just as vulnerable to what UCLA, Texas Tech and others have experienced, because at any given time, a student, faculty, post-doc, visiting researcher, etc can make a poor choice. SNIP.
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