I hadn't planned to weigh in on this, but it's hard to resist. We represent people who work in industrial labs, and those who work in university labs, so I and my colleagues have seen both, and I've personally consulted some with teachers unions with respect to high school labs. I don't claim this is any sort of representative sample, or that it's at all comprehensive. Nor can I cite statistics, primarily because they mostly don't exist, and where they do, we don't trust them. I absolutely agree with Ray Cook's comments - except that I wouldn't limit them to industrial settings. There's just as much incentive to underreport in academe.
So take this for what it's worth. But in our experience, industrial labs are way ahead of academic labs when it comes to effective safety programs, including hazard identification, risk assessment, incident investigation, personal protective equipment, and especially training. In addition, since most industrial employers know that OSHA covers them, they know that the OSHA lab standard exists, and that they can get fined for non-compliance. A lot of academic labs don't think that OSHA applies to them, which is wrong, as the UC Regents found out.
However, the statement that "OSHA statistics" show that academic labs have 11 times the injury rate of academic labs is, to use an academic phrase, "unsupported by any evidence." (The equivalent industrial phrase would be shorter and less polite.) And it's one of those statements where, when you try to track it down, you find that everybody is citing each other in a big circle. There's an impolite phrase for that too, but I won't use it.
Michael J. Wright
Director of Health, Safety and Environment
See us on the web at www.usw.org
Bear in mind too, in an industrial environment there is often an unfortunate built in incentive to not report incidents if it can be avoided. Mgmt pushing for no incidents, repercussions by misguided managers, etc.
This leads to underreporting of incidents in all industries, & unfortunately skips the best opportunities to fix problems prior to serious consequences.
Ray Cook, CIH, CSP
I Cor 1:18
Sent from my iPhone
On Aug 10, 2016, at 9:00 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.
University of Nevada, Reno
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**med.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Melissa Charlton-Smith
Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2016 5:08 PM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Source of the OSHA statement
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.
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