I think you caught the real problem here. That comment clearly shows that this student has no allies in this fight. I would never ask one of my union members to stand up under these conditions, but instead to call in us union safety pit bulls. The student in this story doesn't have anyone to call. I'm not sure about any of the good advice offered on this forum so far.
The suggestion I might go with is to ask to talk to the General Council. But here's what I'd tell her about doing this.
First, e-mail or hand-deliver a written request to have a meeting with the general counsel. In the e-mail or letter are the following:
* a clear description of the hazards, the potential for serious harm, and the lack of training or understanding of those hazards by the students. (Here's where Jim can help). Not too long, no UCLA mentioned, just this issues and facts.
* next a description of the encounter with the senior faculty member, safety, etc, and exactly what was said to the best of recollection including as much possible about the times and dates.
* just before signing off, say that you and some of your friends are concerned about safety and the good name of the school (don't name anyone), implying that you are not the only one.
This e-mail should establish that there are already background facts for a case if there is an incident later. That puts the lawyers' tushies on the line, too. If you don't get a meeting, the lawyers should be fired.
Next: The meeting.
* Bring a notebook and take notes during the discussion.
* Bring a packet of information about UCLA, the sodium issues, anything Jim or someone on this forum forwards that is useful. Keep copies, of course, of everything you give them.
* Now you can bring up your concerns about retaliation for having tried to do the right thing here. Keep in mind, these people are paid to protect the school, not you. So while you are trying to recruit them to be allies in an effort to protect students, do not think you are obtaining a personal ally. They belong heart and soul to the enemy You are bringing up this issue to firmly establish that you will make an issue of this if necessary.
Monona Rossol, M.S., M.F.A., Industrial Hygienist
President: Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety, Inc.
Safety Officer: Local USA829, IATSE
181 Thompson St., #23
New York, NY 10012 212-777-0062
From: McGrath Edward J <Edward.McGrath**At_Symbol_Here**REDCLAY.K12.DE.US>
To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Sent: Fri, Feb 26, 2016 9:02 am
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Help with advice for an academic colleague
What scares me the most about this response is the phrase "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."
I have seen many headlines (as we all have) of lab accidents where the teacher in question said something like "I've taught this lesson many times before with no
problem, so I don't know why this happened." The only time "teaching experience" prevents (or reduces the likelihood) of lab accidents is when that experience includes teaching safer practice.
Of greater concern, though, is the fact that the safety officer and the department chair ignored reports of unsafe practice. That kind of disregard needs to be
reported to the Board of Education or Board of Directors.
As I often say: we have a
lot of work to do.
Edward J. McGrath
Supervisor of Science
Red Clay Consolidated School District
1502 Spruce Avenue
Wilmington DE 19805
We did not inherit the Earth from our ancestors. We borrowed it from our children.
I would be happy to talk with them. This is the type of assistance at which LSI excels.
Laboratory Safety Institute (LSI)
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?"