From: ILPI Support <info**At_Symbol_Here**>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Source of the OSHA statement
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2016 10:30:20 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 5E6C8413-67CB-475F-A37D-FE7CE921F061**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <852F486739ECB34484E384E1D009D97DC735D16C**At_Symbol_Here**>

Even if we had firm statistics, they would still be rather meaningless.  On the academic side, I have personally witnessed multiple unreported accidents and near misses (some of which had minor injuries), and on the industrial side, workers might be reluctant to report injuries/incidents for fear of consequences/retaliation and, well, let's just say that not all companies take OSHA 300 reporting as seriously as they should and nobody likes negative publicity.

Further, direct comparison of academic research vs industrial research is not apples to apples.  Academic research, by its very nature, casts a wider net, which means that one is generally using a greater range of materials with an attendantly broader spectrum of hazards as compared to industrial research which is typically more narrowly focused and uses similar chemicals, reactions, and procedures. For example, attempting a dozen different methods to alkylate an organic intermediate one needs for their thesis work versus trying a dozen different concentrations of the same reactants to get another 1% yield in an industrial optimization are really not comparable.

There's no normalization factor one could apply to these two very different scenarios that would accurately generate a statistically meaningful metric like injuries per hour per reactant per hazard per….whatever.

I agree with Jim's generalization based on my own personal observations and simply because academia has an inherently different collection of workers.  Not only does the workforce turn over more frequently, but your peers are likely to be working on completely different projects with completely different risks and hazards (so no help there) and the direct supervision is usually much lower if not absent.  And because the spectrum of hazards and risks is broader, it is more likely that critical training needs, reviews, and SOP development may be unrecognized and unrealized.   The idea that injuries would be more common in such an environment is, well, academic..

Rob Toreki

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On Aug 10, 2016, at 10:00 AM, Benjamin G Owens <bowens**At_Symbol_Here**UNR.EDU> wrote:

As others have indicated I believe that Jim Kaufman may be the source of the statement in one form or another. 
In the Fourth Edition (1995) of the CRC Handbook of Laboratory Safety (page 218), edited by Keith Furr, the statement, "…it has been estimated that the accident rate is 10 to 50 times higher (my note: in reference to academic labs) than that in industrial laboratories."  In 2003 I asked Jim Kaufman if he knew the origin of this statistic and he indicated that Keith Furr was probably referring to a statement that he (Kaufman) had made.  Jim stated that he had looked at various sources of information over the years but that the accident rate in academic labs continued to be about 10 - 100 times greater than that of industrial labs.  He stated that the statement is an estimate and that it is not based on a single data set.
Ben Owens
University of Nevada, Reno
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of Melissa Charlton-Smith
Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2016 5:08 PM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Source of the OSHA statement
Hi everybody, 
ok I have been trying to find the original source for the following statement:
"...Occupational Safety & Health Administration statistics demonstrate that researchers are 11 times more likely to get hurt in an academic lab than in an industrial lab."
I have seen this statement referenced many times in articles.   In fact in one of the articles I read it was said to be quote from an interview.  Sometimes it is referenced, and then when I track down the reference, it just refers to another article that uses the exact same wording, without a reference.  No matter who said it first...where is the research?  Where are the statistics?  Where is the report?  What journal do I find it in?
Thanks everybody, just trying to track down the paper, or the OSHA stats or what have you.  I want to USE that information in a report I am working on, but I want a real reference to go by.
Mel Charlton-Smith

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