From: "Weeks Jr., Robert" <rweeks**At_Symbol_Here**LANL.GOV>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] [New post] UCLA professor Patrick Harran elected as a AAAS fellow
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 2015 14:43:51 +0000
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 8fe3c63599504e6093539dd19e00a14e**At_Symbol_Here**EXG13-P-MBX07.win.lanl.gov
In-Reply-To <45633755.234837.1449943152808.JavaMail.yahoo**At_Symbol_Here**mail.yahoo.com>


All I can say is "ditto" to McClellan's comments. A real lack of professional priority  (safety first) in the loss of life.

 

R. Weeks, Ph.D.

 

From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**med.cornell.edu]On Behalf Of Roger McClellan
Sent: Saturday, December 12, 2015 10:59 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] [New post] UCLA professor Patrick Harran elected as a AAAS fellow

 

To all:

       It is my understanding that the AAAS Chemistry Section Steering Group has the key "gate keeper" role in the AAAS Fellow election process. Those individuals, taken from the AAAS web site  are -

Bruce E. Bursten, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Carol J Burns, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Thomas E Mallouk, Pennsylvania University

Jeanne M Robinson, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Melanie Sanford, University of Michigan

Susannah Scott, UC - Santa Barbara

Mark Thompson, University of  Southern California

Michael P Doyle, University of Maryland

       In my opinion, it is this group of individuals who must ultimately take responsibility for the election of Harran as a AAAS Fellow. I would assume many, if not all, of these individuals are members of the ACS (and,  perhaps ACS Fellows) and regularly receive C  and E News which has covered the tragic death of Harran's student. I note that one of the Steering Group members is a UCSB faculty member who must certainly have been aware of the Harran case. One individual is on the USC faculty and must have known of the Harran case through extensive media coverage in LA. To date, apparently none of these individuals have spoken out on this matter. Two other University of California faculty , Sheila S David, UC-Davis and Galen D Stucky, UC-Santa Barbara,  are members of the AAAS Chemistry Section Electorate Nominating Committee and likely have links to the ACS and certainly have been aware of the Harran case from within the UC system.  It has also been noted that Donna J Nelson , in the ACS Presidential chain is a AAAS Chemistry Section Council Delegate.

      I do not personally know Harran. I will assume he is an honorary individual  caught up in tragic events and must have known and condoned the submission of his nomination. If so, he should, in my opinion, have requested that the sponsors of his nomination not go forward with the  nomination. At this late juncture, he would be well-advised to not accept the AAAS Fellow Award which, as I understand it, will be formally presented at the AAAS Annual meeting in January , 2016. 

      As I noted earlier, it is apparent that a major gulf exists in the chemistry and scientific community at large over the role of safety in scientific teaching and scientific work. Now is the time for the real leaders in chemistry to step forward as champions for a major change in attitudes and practices with regard to safety.

  Regards,

      Roger O. McClellan

 

On Saturday, December 12, 2015 6:11 AM, NEAL LANGERMAN <neal**At_Symbol_Here**CHEMICAL-SAFETY.COM> wrote:

 

The section head recently ran for ACS President

A member of the BoD is ACS Pres-elect

 

On Fri, Dec 11, 2015 at 1:32 PM, Chance, Brandon <bchance**At_Symbol_Here**mail.smu.edu> wrote:

I just noticed Donna Nelson, the 2016 ACS President, is one of the AAAS Chemistry Section Council Delegates. 

 

 

Regards,

 

Brandon S. Chance, M.S., CCHO

Associate Director of Environmental Health and Safety

Office of Risk Management

Southern Methodist University 

PO Box 750231 | Dallas, TX  75275-0231

T)214.768.2430 | M) 469-978-8664

 

"… our job in safety is to make the task happen, SAFELY; not to interfere with the work…" Neal Langerman

 

From:DCHAS-L Discussion List <dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**med.cornell.edu> on behalf of Roger McClellan <roger.o.mcclellan**At_Symbol_Here**ATT.NET>
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Date: Friday, December 11, 2015 at 3:46 PM
To: "DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU" <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] [New post] UCLA professor Patrick Harran elected as a AAAS fellow

 

AAAS Fellow Election Process.

 

To all:

      I am a member of the AAAS, a AAAS Fellow and a member of the National Academy of Medicine. I have over 5 decades of experience in working with radiation, radionuclides , chemicals and other hazardous agents as a laboratory scientist , manager and advisor and am very experienced in risk analysis.

      I have nominated many well-qualified individuals for election as AAAS Fellows. Thus, I am very familiar with the election process. Like most election processes in scientific and professional organizations, the AAAS process on the surface appears quite simple. What one does not know, unless you have participated in the process, is how the system really works. I encourage AAAS members who have potentially the greatest voice in this specific matter to go to the AAAS web site and find the details of the election process. The AAAS Fellow election process is anchored in each of the 24 sections with  which AAAS members are aligned. The nomination process starts with material assembled by 3 sponsors of each nominee. These  nomination packages are then reviewed by the leaders of each section who serve as gate keepers for the nominations from their section.

       Dr Harran was elected in the Section of Chemistry. The Officers of the Chemistry Section can be found on the AAAS web site.  I encourage individuals who are interested in the current situation to review the list of Officers of the Chemistry section of the AAAS to see if you recognize any of them as leaders in chemical safety. These are the individuals who acted on the Harran nomination based on the material submitted by Harran's 3 sponsors. I assume the names of the sponsors are anonymous except to themselves, the Officers of the Chemistry Section and the AAAS Council and Executive Officer.

      As an aside, I am not surprised that 3 Chemists who were professional colleagues of Harran's might nominate him for election as a AAAS Fellow. I say this because when I speak to other scientists, and ,especially those  from academic organizations, many do not have the same  level of appreciation for safety that I do and I expect of others.  Indeed, I have heard some individuals express the view that Harran got a bad rap. I do not agree.

      The bottom line is I think many scientific professions, including chemistry, have a long way to go in creating across science concern for the safe operations beginning with instruction in elementary and secondary schools and continuing in Colleges and Universities and with all employers. As a small example, I was astonished when not a single chemist on this web site expressed concern with the lack of safety attire worn in the various video examples recently distributed related to the "rainbow experiments" including   the jewelry worn by the ACS employee demonstrator in one highly publicized video.    The demonstrator clearly did not understand safety.

      I relate the above to make certain that everyone  recognizes that chemists played,  or did not adequately play, a key gate keeper role in the election of Harran as a AAAS Fellow. Harran was judged by his fellow chemists including leaders in  the field, I suspect most who judged him worthy of election  as a AAAS Fellow  were ACS members and maybe some were ACS Fellows.

      Regards,

          Roger

 

Roger O. McClellan, DVM, MMS, DSc (Honorary)

Diplomate- ABVT and ABT: Fellow - AAAS, SRA, AAAR, HPS and ATS

Member- National academy of Medicine

Advisor,Toxicology and Human Health Risk Analysis

Albuquerque, NM

 

 

On Friday, December 11, 2015 10:37 AM, NEAL LANGERMAN <neal**At_Symbol_Here**CHEMICAL-SAFETY.COM> wrote:

 

Peter, CHAS is working on the letter right now

Sent from Neal Langerman's NEXUS 6.
Standard client confidentiality terms apply.

On Dec 11, 2015 07:40, "Reinhardt, Peter" <peter.reinhardt**At_Symbol_Here**yale.edu> wrote:

I wonder if a group of us should write a letter to the president of AAAS. Otherwise they are likely to be just as tone deaf as they are now. Maybe someone circulate a sample letter and we can all send in our own version.

 

The is no doubt in my mind that AAAS would never elected someone as a fellow if they had been prosecuted for scientific misconduct. They need to have the same standards for safety.

 

Pete Reinhardt, Yale EHS

 

From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU]On Behalf Of Margaret Rakas
Sent: Thursday, December 10, 2015 5:46 PM
To: mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] [New post] UCLA professor Patrick Harran elected as a AAAS fellow

 

It is the employer's prerogative to set the conditions of employment and work practices, and their legal responsibility to hold each employee to meet those conditions.  That is why there are "HR" departments, so that uniform policies are set and non-faculty supervisors are routinely trained/browbeaten/whatever to maintain those policies and ensure their subordinates are adhering to them.  Supervisors are expected by the organization to monitor the output/performance of their employees--whether that's widgets made per hour or research results--and it is not unreasonable to expect they monitor how they do the work as well.   For workplaces with hazardous working conditions, HR generally works with the safety manager or EHS to set policies regarding safe practices, whether that is including them in performance reviews or conditions of employment.  That does mean supervisors are responsible for  'management by walking around' or by directly asking a worker 'so walk me through how you (insert task) do this'.  It takes time.  

 

Understanding that something is pyrophoric and dangerous is much different than understanding the 'workplace conditions' necessary to work with something safely.  For example, most people would recognize that drug-resistant TB is dangerous and that if you are working with it in a lab you should 'be careful'.  "Being careful" means using special equipment and processes, none of which the fairly-green researcher can or should figure out on their own.  However, CDC (who writes the BMBL, essentially the biosafety 'bible') requires that the supervisor provide appropriate training and confirmation of a researcher's skills.  

 

So Miss Sangji may have been cognizant of the hazard; but unaware of the risk of the acrylic sweater, the unnecessary bottle of solvent, and most of all, it is not at all clear who or when she was trained on the correct technique for withdrawal of the butyl lithium.  Additionally, if another group member with more clout had at some point disparaged the Sigma technique even in passing--too much trouble, just invert the bottle--I can understand a younger researcher would feel like they had the go-ahead to use the unsafe technique.  --Which I myself used back in the 1980s as that was how the older grad students handled these materials, and they trained me.  I remember the first time being surprised at how much pressure one hand had to handle with the barrel while the other held a largish glass bottle upside-down.  (I had strong hands from piano and tennis, and we used glass syringes, so I didn't end up on fire.)

 

So yes, the worker/researcher has to understand that there are hazards as part of their work--they aren't working in some sort of 'adult-proof' setting.  But understanding risk, and the nuances of how a set of circumstances can line up to cause a 'worst possible scenario'--no, I don't expect someone in their early 20's to 'get' all that, not without it being laid out for them and being made to understand that is why certain work practices are in place.  And then being held accountable to those standards, including the 'sticks' of suspension and loss of employment.

 

But I would expect AAAS to 'get' that Prof Harran, whatever his scientific accomplishments, was so deficient in supervisory and management accomplishments that one of his researchers died from her ignorance due to his lack of oversight.  I am sorry for him; I am sure he would give anything to turn the clock back and do things differently.  But I am way more sorry for Miss Sangji and her family.   And frankly, disgusted by AAAS' behavior and obfuscation.  

 

The above is my personal opinion only and may not reflect that of my employer or any group to which I belong.

Margaret

 

 

On Thu, Dec 10, 2015 at 12:37 PM, Alnajjar, Mikhail S <ms.alnajjar**At_Symbol_Here**pnnl.gov> wrote:

I have been struggling with this issue for sometimes; trying to analyze the situation as much as I can.  But, with no results.  So, thanks Ralph for this memo.  These paragraphs below puts it in a different perspective for me.

 

"Legal requirements also enter into the question of safety in research, but will not be dealt with in detail in this presentation,since they involve professional judgments outside the competence of our committee. Certainly if humanitarian and ethical requirements are met, there are not likely to be any issues that will require legal action."

 

> >I find it hard to believe that Sangji was unaware of the physical properties of what she was working with, from either Dr. Harran, the classroom, her education level or a simple MSDS

 

> >But, what I can hypothesize is that she was "willing to accept the hazards" thinking that, based upon her understanding/level of training of those hazards, she could work with them safely

 

I think the highlighted statements play an important role in the selection decision; also realizing the selection is based on advancement of science.

 

And yes,it's the employer's responsibility to recognize,inform, and manage hazards

 

But, does not the staff have responsibility to accept the hazards if he/she decides to work in the lab??? This is the $1,000,000 question; legal or not.

 

Mikhail

 

 

-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**med.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Ralph Stuart
Sent: Thursday, December 10, 2015 4:39 AM
To: mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] [New post] UCLA professor Patrick Harran elected as a AAAS fellow

 

>was Dr. Harran following the teaching, enforcing and compliance standards being followed at the time?

 

The legal answer to this question, as agreed to in the settlement in this specific case, was "no". One of the challenges in addressing this issue in the broader context is illustrated in a presentation by the Chair of the ACS Committee on Chemical Safety in 1964. He said:

 

"Legal requirements also enter into the question of safety in research, but will not be dealt with in detail in this presentation, since they involve professional judgments outside the competence of our committee. Certainly if humanitarian and ethical requirements are met, there are not likely to be any issues that will require legal action."

 

The social context that enabled this statement changed in the 1970's with the advent of OSHA and EPA, but it's not clear to me that chemical education has recognized this shift.

 

> >I find it hard to believe that Sangji was unaware of the physical properties of what she was working with, from either Dr. Harran, the classroom, her education level or a simple MSDS. 

> >But, what I can hypothesize is that she was "willing to accept the hazards" thinking that, based upon her understanding/level of training of those hazards, she could work with them safely. 

Legally, employees are not allowed to accept such hazards; it's the employer's responsibility to recognize and manage them. However, based on my personal experience as a lab tech and having trained many other professional lab techs and students at all levels, I'm not clear where this hypothesis comes from. I have had many graduate students tell me that they are unaware that ethanol is flammable, either verbally or through their actions.

 

- Ralph

 

Ralph Stuart, CIH

 



 

--

Margaret A. Rakas, Ph.D.
Manager, Inventory & Regulatory Affairs
Clark Science Center
413-585-3877 (p)

 



 

--

Sent from mygmail account.  I apologize for the small device induced typos! Please respond vianeal**At_Symbol_Here**chemical-safety.com

 

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