From: NEAL LANGERMAN <neal**At_Symbol_Here**>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Question Concerning Insurance and Liability for Undergraduate Lab Accidents
Date: Thu, 7 Apr 2016 09:12:16 -0700
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
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Given the insurance discussion, please see the item in my News and Views in the next issue of JCHAS Vol 23 #3 on the ACS Educator's Liability Insurance. If a student gets hurt in in your lab, you may get a very unpleasant surprise as to how your institution protects itself, but not you. Got to for more.






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From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of Don Abramowitz
Sent: Thursday, April 7, 2016 7:20 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Question Concerning Insurance and Liability for Undergraduate Lab Accidents


Our approach is similar to Meg's, with students having insurance, but with the added element that we will happily reimburse out of pocket expenses related to injuries on campus that occur in the course of lab, theater, or shop work.  This dovetails nicely with a policy of asking that all such injuries get reported to EH&S, and also with an approach that says when there is doubt about the severity of an injury, we want the student to be checked out by a health care provider (without hesitation due to possible co-pays).   A case of putting our money where our mouth is.    I do not see this as an admission of liability, but I will add that by getting off to a positive start with engaging the injured (and their parents), my sense is that this helps put us on the same side and reduces the likelihood of liability claims developing.


Donald Abramowitz, CIH
Environmental Health & Safety Officer
Bryn Mawr College
Bryn Mawr, PA



Our college has purchased small insurance policies for every student to cover costs like these for every student with any injury that occurs on campus or any college sponsored events.  I believe the policies are for $50K for each student, but since they are basically young and healthy, they aren't very expensive (group rates apply).   It usually only get used for treating the injuries, and things like the ambulance costs.  Since we are a technical college, small injuries (in the food labs, science labs, shops, automotive, etc.) mostly minor cuts and burns, are common.  Also since we are in Wisconsin, in the  winter months, falls on ice or snow are common.  We used to run into the same kinds of issues described, and this has solved the problem, and since it is insurance, we are not admitting liability and opening ourselves up to law suits.


Meg Osterby
Lead Chemistry Instructor
Western Technical College
400 7th St. N.
LaCrosse, WI 54601

"It's  better to be careful 100 times, than to be killed once."  
                                                    Mark Twain

-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of Casadonte, Dominick
Sent: Thursday, April 07, 2016 7:29 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Question Concerning Insurance and Liability for Undergraduate Lab Accidents

Hi All,

A question for the collective wisdom of the list serve=C5

We had a minor accident a few weeks ago which I mentioned at the ACS symposium on how the accidents at UCLA and Texas Tech are changing the culture of safety at universities. The student was wearing his PPE, everything was done with safety in mind. He suffered only superficial lacerations on his hands. The biggest expense for him was the ambulance ride to the emergency room and being treated (no stitches were needed; I think he was given neosporin and sent home after a 2 hour wait).

When he contacted his insurance company, they wanted to know if they were the ones who should have to pay for the ambulance ride, etc. He asked the professor overseeing him (the student was doing undergraduate research for course credit, and according to legal, does not fall under workman =B9s compensation). Texas Tech is a =B3self-insured =B2 institution. The department has been instructed not to pay, as it would be an admission of liability, and could open the doors for payouts for any minor freshman chemistry lab accident, for example. The university legal would perhaps need to deal with the person =B9s insurance company or a lawyer, should the student sue.

My question to all of you: We are researching how other universities deal with the issue of who pays for medical care for minor accidents. What do your universities do? How do you deal with the financial aspects of accidents? Are your institutions insured? If so, for liability only?
Liability and damages to infrastructure?

Many thanks for your responses,

Dom Casadonte
Texas Tech University

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