I have a couple of points that I would like to add to David's note:
> This, in part, is what the UCLA incident is all about: the necessary training of someone working in a research lab (regardless of status as a student or employee - although the legal aspects of the UCLA incident are rooted in OSHA violations.)
The legal aspects are even more subtle than that - they are rooted in California specific labor law rather than federal regulation as suggested above. Therefore, the outcome of the ongoing court case in follow up to the UCLA event may not tell us much about the legal status of lab safety issues outside California.
>Traditionally, students often did not start on a research project until they were juniors or seniors and we could have expected that that had encountered "some" safety instruction in introductory and intermediate courses
While this is a good start, I am concerned that this safety instruction is likely to be specific to the work being conducted in the lab course and may not transfer well to other settings. I have seen examples of safe practices in a specific class lab being adopted in other, less appropriate locations because those practices worked in the class lab due to 1) milder chemistry, 2) smaller quantities or 3) tighter supervision in the class lab setting than in the situation the work was moved to. Many times those differences in the degree of hazard in the new environment aren't recognized and safety practices revised.
I do want to thank David and Bob publically for their leadership in this work; it has been quite useful for me in formulating lab safety training outside the classroom setting as well.
Ralph Stuart CIH
Chemical Hygiene Officer
Department of Environmental Health and Safety
Previous post | Top of Page | Next post