> >All of this reminds me to give a shout out to Ralph Stuart who for his tireless dedication to the triweekly Headlines posts. Those, too, are semi-automated but still require his (even greater) intervention in deciding how much of an article to quote (or whether to include it at all), tweaking the keywords, double checking the tags, and sending out the emails to all of us.
I'd also like to thank to everyone for their on-going encouragement in this work. Over the years, I have gotten more value from all of my CHAS work than the resources I and my institutions have put into it. These benefits are both in terms of professional development opportunities for myself and the programs I work in and also in being ready for random questions that arise from campus related to media headlines. I believe that if safety professionals want to understand and influence the safety culture of their organizations, being aware of what social media is saying about hazmat safety is a good starting point.
I'd also like to thank Rob for his decade of support for my processing of the hazmat headlines. His routines written in 2011 have been remarkably stable over that time period, collecting 18,284 stories at https://pinboard.in/u:dchas with only minor tweaking from time to time. There aren't many other software developers out there who provide specialized support for that period of time (for free).
The success of this work has also demonstrated to me the importance of well-supported human intelligence in managing safety related information. As more and more business functions rely on machine learning to develop inscrutable logics, I believe that it is important to assure that there is diverse human oversight of safety information being shared. In my mind, that is the core value of the DCHAS-L - even fairly simple questions draw a variety of reactions, both in terms of level of detail and general advice provided.
Finally, with my membership committee chair hat on, I'd also like to point out that all ACS traditions and work patterns will be changing over the next few years and this evolution will present important opportunities for people who are limited from traveling to national meetings to get involved in the Division. The travel required to attend 2 national meetings a year has always been a significant barrier to direct involvement in the Division, but this barrier is eroding rapidly.
Specifically, in addition to the opportunities to get involved in the Division that Harry Elston listed on Friday (available at the division web site at
http://www.dchas.org ), I can think of at least 3 other opportunities that members might consider in participating in at a distance:
1. We are always looking for new Divisional committee members; this year in particular, the Awards Committee is looking for someone to transition into the chair's role in 2022. Joining that committee this year will help you get a sense of what work this would entail.
2. Several other committee chairs have been serving in their roles for more than 5 years and are likely to be open to volunteers to join their committees in order to prepare to lead the committee.
3. I am interested in finding someone with WordPress experience who might be interested in helping to maintain the CHAS web site.
I hope that everyone continues to participate in the DCHAS-L at whatever level you feel comfortable as the world continues to respond to the challenges presented by the once novel Corona virus that we were only just beginning to notice at this time last year.
Let me know if you have any questions about this.
Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
American Chemical Society Division of Chemical Health and Safety
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