To whom it may concern: I am not a perfect person either but I never held any supervisory position. Dr. Harran got off lightly. He was irresponsible to some extent. I hope this settlement wakes up the Academic community to their significant responsibilities in teaching safe practices to all of their students. More importantly any new or remodelled facilities should meet the highest safety standards. My personal experiences lead me to the conclusion that senior chemists should always be observant of new students, employees, etc to confirm that all laboratory workers are well prepared for what they are doing. No one in a supervisory capacity should make any assumptions about the safety practices of any collegue.
Going far beyond the above it is the responsibility the chief executive officer of any organization to set a personal example to everyone that directly or indirectly reports to him/ her understands their personal responsibility. If an injury accident occurs that supervisor will be terminated summarily. This simple rule is about the only way I know of to get full organizational compliance with all safety measures. I will never forget the interview I was offered when I arrived the person I was to talk with told me someone who reported directly had died that morning in a very unfortunate accident. He told me that my interview would not occur. My interviewer looked extremely upset, ashen, and I left shortly thereafter. In this particular incident the coworker turned the wrong value in a production facility killing him immediately. This occurred at a major chemical company in New Jersey in the early 1970's, I would have held some unknown chemical engineer personally responsible and that was not my potential interviewer. In some instances, after a thorough investigation someone or someones should have been indicted for manslaughter. It is my understanding that there are some circumstances in law where this can happen.
The C&EN SafetyZone blog has a timeline of the process and a list of media reports on the settlement announced yesterday. http://cenblog.org/the-safety-zone/2014/06/patrick-harran-and-district-attorney-reach-deal-in-sherisangji-case/ In addition, there is a complete story in the C&EN news section at http://cen.acs.org/articles/92/web/2014/06/Patrick-Harran-L-District-Attorney.html The article provides details about the community service and other activities Harran will complete in order avoid going to trial on the charges. There are 5 years of activities required in addition to the $10,000 contribution to the Grossman Burn Center. The family's response is that the deal is inadequate punishment.
-- Walter Brooks 29814 11th Ave.SW Federal Way, WA 98023 skoorb62**At_Symbol_Here**comcast.net 253-941-3854 please leave a message if you call
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