At the spring 2017 meeting of the Committee on Chemical Safety (CCS), Kathleen Shultz (ACS Board Standing Committee on Strategic Planning) met with the CCS to discuss the ACS Strategic Plan. Here is the extract from the CCS meeting minutes related to the issue Ralph raises about the quote he cites:
"How can the overall ACS Plan be improved? The discussion ensued.
David Finster asked about an item discussed during his Education Subcommittee meeting: some people look at safety as an obstacle to success. Ans: The idea is for people to select items to discuss and relay the thoughts back to Standing Committee that wants reality checks. Some people think this is true and want the feedback.
Robin Izzo asked: are they talking about safety or the administrative burden? Ans: think it is the element of administrative burden. Some people think safety practices add work."
These answers seem impressionistic to me, although that alone does not challenge their veracity. The most useful path forward would be to seek data and studies that answer the question: does "promoting safety", either through a regulatory or voluntary path, actually cost or save money? (A more sharply-focused version of his question would be: "Does promoting safety save lives?") I have the impression that "studies have shown" that promoting safety is "cheaper in the long run". Other contributors to this list serve can likely provide a more definitive answer to this question. Perhaps that is the kind of feedback (to strategicplan**At_Symbol_Here**acs.org) that would be useful. The outcome of this might well be that CHAS and the CCS could promote safety more vigorously (within and external to the ACS) from a financial perspective and that the ACS Board could change the bulleted item to read "Despite increasing awareness of the importance of having an active safety cul!
ture in the workplace, some practitioners mistakenly see safety as interfering with success."
David C. Finster
Professor, Department of Chemistry
University Chemical Hygiene Officer
From: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU] On Behalf Of Stuart, Ralph
Sent: Wednesday, February 28, 2018 8:02 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Comments sought on The ACS Strategic Plan for 2018 and Beyond
I notice that in the latest issue of the ACS Matters newsletter, there is the story below about the ACS Strategic Plan. While I am is glad that Safety is now included, along with Professionalism and Ethics, as a core ACS value, I am concerned that the strategic plan includes a statement that "Despite increasing awareness of the importance of having an active safety culture in the workplace, some practitioners see safety as interfering with success."
This statement appears at the first item under "challenges and opportunities" relative to Goal 2 in the PDF version of the complete plan available at https://www.acs.org/content/dam/acsorg/about/strategicplan/sp18.pdf
No evidence for this statement is provided in the Plan, either in terms of what percentage of "practitioners" hold this view or whether this view is true or not. Based on both conversations with chemists over the years and surveys I and others have conducted, I believe that the percentage of "practitioners" who believe this is less than 20% and that good lab safety practices enhance rather than interfere with success. Therefore, I don't think that this "challenge" statement should stand alone without further context providing more information about this idea.
If you have similar concerns about this statement, feedback to strategicplan**At_Symbol_Here**acs.org is a good place to express them.
Let me know if you have any questions about this.
Providing a Solid Foundation for Chemistry and the Chemistry Enterprise " The ACS Strategic Plan for 2018 and Beyond
The ACS Strategic Plan for 2018 and Beyond is the blueprint for how the Society will make our Vision of "Improving people's lives through the transforming power of chemistry" a reality. The plan has been enhanced for 2018 with the guidance of the ACS Board of Directors and the perspectives of ACS members and stakeholders, like you.
Visit the online plan where you can read the objectives for each of the goals. These objectives explain how the goals will be accomplished. In addition, the plan identifies challenges the Society faces, as well as opportunities for us to make meaningful change.
You can get involved! Visit http://strategy.acs.org to learn more about how the Society provides valuable support to the chemistry enterprise and explore the ways you can "get involved" on a grassroots level. Share your thoughts on this plan and the direction for the future at strategicplan**At_Symbol_Here**acs.org.
Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
Environmental Safety Manager
Keene State College
For more information about the DCHAS-L e-mail list, contact the Divisional membership chair at membership**At_Symbol_Here**dchas.org Follow us on Twitter **At_Symbol_Here**acsdchas
For more information about the DCHAS-L e-mail list, contact the Divisional membership chair at membership**At_Symbol_Here**dchas.org
Follow us on Twitter **At_Symbol_Here**acsdchas
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