Your local response seems likely to be the most effective.
I'm curious if anyone else is doing something similar for their local areas - especially Southern California. Please reply only if you ARE doing something. I suspect negative replies would overwhelm us!
Sheila Kennedy, C.H.O.
Safety Coordinator | Teaching Laboratories
UCSD Chemistry & Biochemistry |MC 0303
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Kim Gates
Sent: Monday, January 06, 2014 4:59 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] CSB statement on High School Laboratory Fire in New York City
I think that all of as at universities have a great opportunity as a CHO & members of DCHAS. I wanted to share what I've been doing locally to help promote lab safety with HS teachers.
1. Several years ago when I put together our Minors in Research Labs program (http://www.stonybrook.edu/ehs/lab/minors.shtml), I reached out to our local Science & Engineering Fair group (http://lisef.org). We have about 300 HS students every year on our campus conducting independent research, and many of them are working towards winning the national science/engineering competitions. The LISEF group is made up of dedicated HS science teachers and they were worried my policy would eliminate the chance of their students working at SBU. We worked together & they understood that would not happen but their students would benefit by learning more about lab safety. They put my name & web site on their page for all the HS teachers/parents to see for lab safety questions.
2. Because of my outreach to the local HS research groups, I created an email list that is close to 50. It also includes the school insurance reps (I knew them from the local ASSE) and every HS science teacher my daughter has had. I use this email group to send out safety messages and let the research teachers know when we've scheduled the HS lab safety training in June. The insurance reps share all these emails with the school district safety committees that they are members of. LISEF is also on this list & my emails get posted on their web site.
3. Whenever a school lab incident is reported in those GREAT DCHAS news emails, I send it to my HS email list as a "Lessons Learned". I give a quick description, what they can do to make it safer in their labs to avoid this incident and a direct link to the subject on my web site for more information. I also include the news article to make it "real". I emailed out the CSB report with the video they sent last month. I may have gotten a bit preachy on the methanol accident that happened JUST before the CSB video release (how many more of these lessons learned will I have to send out?), and I also included the link to the NSTA report on this problem: safety alert from the National Science Teachers Association:
4. Because last week's NYC methanol incident is so close to home, I will be sending out another lessons learned to the HS group. I'm glad it didn't occur in a school district I may have contact with, but it could have. I will also be asking the email recipients on their ideas on how to get this message out to more people - the NYC teacher may be a friend of someone in my group.
I think ACS/DCHAS/CCS should keep working to produce lab safety guidance for teachers/school districts. But I don't think its going to reach all of the teachers. The NSTA report was not known by most teachers. This is their own organization! The CSB message most definitely did not reach the teachers. While I don't have any data to show that my email group & outreach has made a difference, I've gotten lots of positive feedback from them. If it has kept 1 student from being burned, I've done my job. I urge all of the university CHO/DCHAS members to reach out to their local schools and SEF groups. I'm sure you all have HS students on your campus using your labs.
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