From: "Schroeder, Imke" <ischroeder**At_Symbol_Here**EHS.UCLA.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Source of the OSHA statement
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2016 16:06:40 +0000
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: CY1PR0401MB1211AC056664C48A7CD31368F11D0**At_Symbol_Here**

Craig Merlic (UCLA) asked Jim Kaufman about it and Jim stated that there was no basis for the number but that it was his estimation many years ago.




From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**]On Behalf Of Robin M. Izzo
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2016 9:00 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Source of the OSHA statement


I have heard the same story as what Ben Owens shared.


It’s nearly impossible to compare rates for the reasons already mentioned and because:

·        BLS data does not include students unless they are being compensated for the work they were doing.  Some universities include graduate students receiving a stipend, some do not.

·        Most universities are exempt from reporting, but are asked to do so voluntarily.

·        There is no mechanism for collecting laboratory incident data on a national level.

·        It’s not easy to pull out lab-related incident data from BLS statistics.  For example, if our rate was 2.3 per 100 in 2015, maybe one of the incidents was lab-related, while the vast majority were maintenance, housekeeping and culinary-related.


Several universities have compared their own statistics to the national data and those of some industrial companies known for their robust safety programs and have not found a significant difference in rates, meaning close to (or even lower than) the Dow or Dupont stats, not an order of magnitude greater. 


Nonetheless, the safety culture in academia is immensely important, not just to reduce injuries and illnesses, but to start the good habits early.  The mechanism for managing safety in academia is very different than for industry – the lines of management, the access to a student’s time, so much more.  I know that most of my colleagues take this responsibility very, very seriously.  ACS, National Academies, APLU and others have helped universities look beyond their EHS programs to faculty, administrators, university leadership and everyone involved in the community of safety.  It really does take a village.







Robin M. Izzo


Environmental Health and Safety
Princeton University

609-258-6259 (office)

Visit the EHS website at



From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU]On Behalf Of Benjamin G Owens
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2016 10:00 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Source of the OSHA statement




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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