> 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?")
There is data on this and they generally support the idea that more prudent practices are safer over the long run for a large population. Scaling this conclusion down to a single lab focused on novel processes is difficult to do in a convincing way. But I believe that this is one reason industry is so interested in supporting safety education of the scientists they hire - businesses needs technologies that can scale up without creating new risks and this criteria is not part of today's academic education. We can see the impact of this lack of education playing out very rapidly in the IT world right now.
The big challenge I see in addressing the sentiment that "some people look at safety as an obstacle to success" in context of the ACS strategic plan is in the definitions of both "safety" and "success" are not included. In this context, they are used as buzzwords rather than defined concepts which can be addressed with data.
Thanks for the history on this, Dave.
Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
Environmental Safety Manager
Keene State College
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