> >I am wondering if a certified safety professional should have to sign off on these substances, much like an engineer signs off that a bridge won`t collapse....
I don't know of any campuses with enough safety professionals who have the expertise to review the wide variety of uses of chemicals found in an academic setting. I have been in situations where I have been asked to serve in that role on specific projects, and I wouldn't have been able to sign off that the equivalent of a bridge collapsing would not occur, because the specifics of the project were still being determined at the point where my input was requested.
I have been able to add value in many situations when a laboratory supervisor is looking for help in scoping the best practices associated with the work they are interested in doing (e.g. will I need a fume hood for this work?), but given that anyone can purchase essentially any chemical they like, the responsibility of deciding to go ahead with the work based on the currently available safety information has rest with the person who bought the chemical and their supervisor, not an outside reviewers'.
For what it's worth, this observation applies both within chemistry departments and outside them. My experience is that non-chemists tend to ask more and better chemical safety questions than chemists do.
Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
Environmental Safety Manager
Keene State College
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