From: Russell Vernon <russell.vernon**At_Symbol_Here**UCR.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] laboratory safety--looking for solutions
Date: September 25, 2012 11:01:42 AM EDT
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: <CAN0bzO4MvkYuJ1rCw=RaT5BBwK=S2vaH3Xn=oH72Sptf7VG7Sw**At_Symbol_Here**>

Hi Allen,

To your specific question “I'd like to know if anyone has ever declined to sign off on a funding agency's required EHS program certification on a major research proposal” I can say yes. We subsequently worked with the lab to get them into compliance with the DoD cert of Environmental Compliance at which time I did sign it…


Having the Granting Agencies in your corner helps





Russell Vernon, Ph.D.


Environmental Health & Safety

University of California, Riverside

900 University Ave

Riverside, CA 92521



Direct (951) 827-5119

Admin (951) 827-5528

Fax (951) 827-5122


From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Allen Niemi
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 7:55 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] laboratory safety--looking for solutions


In think your point is well taken about disincentives to reporting but I don't think anyone is suggesting that accidents and close calls would be reported to funding agencies. The methods used by funding agencies to require effective safety programs as a funding prerequisite must be designed to go beyond a simple certifications by an EHS official for the university. I'd like to know if anyone has ever declined to sign off on a funding agency's required EHS program certification on a major research proposal (only some agencies even require them). I think what is being proposed is to establish metrics that an agency would request rather than a simple sign-off. Sure, a school could falsify their metrics but there are ways of deterring even that in the design. We get periodic campus visits from representatives of many major funding agencies, there's no reason they couldn't include some safety performance evaluations while they're here. In many cases, all they have to do is walk through a couple labs. I like where this idea is going and I think the first thing that needs to be done is to get the major scientific research funding agencies on board with the idea that they can, and should, play an important role in improving university research safety. ACS, CSB, OSHA/NIOSH and several other institutions should have enough influence if they can coordinate their story and lay it out in public.

On Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 8:05 PM, Ben Ruekberg <bruekberg**At_Symbol_Here**> wrote:

Pardon my mentioning it, but don’t you think that you are setting up a conflict of interests here?

If funding is linked to safety performance, wouldn’t that inhibit self-reporting of minor accidents and close calls?

I seem to recall talk about an ever-correcting safety program based on self-reporting of minor incidents and close calls.

It seems to me that you cannot really have both thorough self-reporting and withholding of funding.  Perhaps I am being overly pessimistic or failing to see an obvious solution, but I think there might be a problem.


Thank you,



Allen Niemi, PhD
Occupational Safety and Health Services
Room 322 Lakeshore Center
Michigan Technological University
Phone: 906-487-2118
Fax:     906-487-3048

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