From: "Wright, Mike" <mwright**At_Symbol_Here**USW.ORG>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Help with advice for an academic colleague
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 2016 13:07:16 +0000
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 673A00C44C25834BA3198AADFC1EB7AE297FFC9E**At_Symbol_Here**PIT-MAIL01.uswa-us.local

I can think of two experts who could resolve this quickly. Just ask the University's general counsel to call his or her counterparts at UCLA regarding the Sheri Sangji case, and at Yale regarding Michele Dufault.  And the colleague should document the warning. In the event that a tragedy occurs, the warning could lead to huge punitive damages. That should make the University=E2=80™s lawyer think twice.


The response from the department chair and the senior faculty member provides additional proof that the correlation between education and intelligence is weak, and the correlation between education and wisdom weaker still.


Michael J. Wright

Director of Health, Safety and Environment

United Steelworkers


412-562-2580 office

412-370-0105 cell


See us on the web at


From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of George MCCALLION
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2016 1:02 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Help with advice for an academic colleague


Dear David,

If a hazardous experiment is imminent, appropriate hazardous assessments should be taken. This is regardless if it is Academic or Industrial. And using Na is cause for UTMOST safety attention. If even one Na-based fire has taken place, then a re-evaluation of the procedure should be examined, and a safer alterative be explored.

To hear a students'' concerns addressed by stating the faculty member is "senior", etc. is an excuse.

Anyone recall what happened at UCLA and t-BuLi? If not, the DCHAS-L archives have this information.

And if the proper answer is not ascertained either through the Department EHS or Faculty, the you have the right to escalate it to the next level.

Never sacrifice safety for service!

Proper pre-lab discussions should be done. This was done when I had Organic Chemistry Laboratory in Undergraduate Organic Chemistry. And in those days, it was medium (>250mL) scale reactions (Grignard=E2=80™s, for example). We had a recitation class before every experiment, and we discussed the entire experiment IN DETAIL, and we were encouraged to ask questions and raise concerns. This paid off in many ways!

That's my $0.02 worth. 




George D. McCallion
Sr. Process Development Scientist, Chemistry
Novasep, Inc.
23 Creek Circle
Boothwyn, PA 19061
Main: 610.494.0447
Direct: 484.361.6023
Fax: 610.494.1988

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-----DCHAS-L Discussion List <dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**> wrote: -----

From: "David C. Finster"
Sent by: DCHAS-L Discussion List
Date: 02/25/2016 10:10PM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Help with advice for an academic colleague

CHAS folks,


I recently received the inquiry below.   I would appreciate your advice and perspectives, which I can pass along.


"I have a friend who is concerned about one of their advanced laboratories. The instructor who teaches it has several hazardous experiments in the curriculum, and there have been sodium fires and other small accidents in the lab. The students don=E2=80™t have much preparation or thorough safety training for each experiment (they often don't know exactly what they'll be doing that day until after they arrive at lab). When it was reported as a concern to the safety officer and department chair, the response was that the instructor was a senior faculty member who had been teaching this a long time and knew what he was doing. The senior faculty member assured them that he didn't think there was any reason for concern, so my friend's requests for the problem to be addressed were essentially ignored. My friend is still quite concerned about laboratory safety (particularly since some staff and students have also expressed concern). I wasn't sure if ACS had any resources beyond the published booklets (which don't help if people won't acknowledge there is a problem). Do you know of any "experts" or other resources who could provide a review or lend some credibility to her concerns?"






David C. Finster
Professor, Department of Chemistry
University Chemical Hygiene Officer
Wittenberg University


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