Safety Culture of Academic Labs

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Presented at the Division of Chemical Health and Safety technical sessions at the Denver 2011 American Chemical Society Meeting

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  • Safety Culture of Academic Labs

    1. 1. What do we know about thesafety culture of laboratories? Ralph Stuart, CIH
    2. 2. The Concept of "Safety Culture"
    3. 3. The Concept of "Safety Culture"• I first heard a discussion of "risk culture" by Arie Rip, a Belgian sociologist at a biosafety conference in Montreal in 1990. He described the risk culture of certain occupational groups as a "danger culture" based on transmitting rules of thumb based on bad experiences in specific settings.
    4. 4. The Concept of "Safety Culture"• I first heard a discussion of "risk culture" by Arie Rip, a Belgian sociologist at a biosafety conference in Montreal in 1990. He described the risk culture of certain occupational groups as a "danger culture" based on transmitting rules of thumb based on bad experiences in specific settings.• The 1995 edition of Prudent Practices established the idea of "safety culture" as a key element of laboratory management.
    5. 5. The Concept of "Safety Culture"• I first heard a discussion of "risk culture" by Arie Rip, a Belgian sociologist at a biosafety conference in Montreal in 1990. He described the risk culture of certain occupational groups as a "danger culture" based on transmitting rules of thumb based on bad experiences in specific settings.• The 1995 edition of Prudent Practices established the idea of "safety culture" as a key element of laboratory management.• While the definitions can be nebulous, there is a general recognition that "Culture eats strategy for breakfast"
    6. 6. "Safety culture" in the media
    7. 7. "Safety culture" in the media• A review article by Susan Silbey in 2009 found that "safety culture" was first mentioned by Dupont after Bhopal to explain why the event happened in India and didnt reflect on their US operations. Then Institute, WV had a similar event.
    8. 8. "Safety culture" in the media• A review article by Susan Silbey in 2009 found that "safety culture" was first mentioned by Dupont after Bhopal to explain why the event happened in India and didnt reflect on their US operations. Then Institute, WV had a similar event.• 1986: International Atomic Energy Agency mentions safety culture as part of the Chernobyl review.
    9. 9. "Safety culture" in the media• A review article by Susan Silbey in 2009 found that "safety culture" was first mentioned by Dupont after Bhopal to explain why the event happened in India and didnt reflect on their US operations. Then Institute, WV had a similar event.• 1986: International Atomic Energy Agency mentions safety culture as part of the Chernobyl review.• The media history of the term:
    10. 10. "Safety culture" in the media• A review article by Susan Silbey in 2009 found that "safety culture" was first mentioned by Dupont after Bhopal to explain why the event happened in India and didnt reflect on their US operations. Then Institute, WV had a similar event.• 1986: International Atomic Energy Agency mentions safety culture as part of the Chernobyl review.• The media history of the term: • Before 1980: zero references
    11. 11. "Safety culture" in the media• A review article by Susan Silbey in 2009 found that "safety culture" was first mentioned by Dupont after Bhopal to explain why the event happened in India and didnt reflect on their US operations. Then Institute, WV had a similar event.• 1986: International Atomic Energy Agency mentions safety culture as part of the Chernobyl review.• The media history of the term: • Before 1980: zero references • From 1990-2000: 570 references
    12. 12. "Safety culture" in the media• A review article by Susan Silbey in 2009 found that "safety culture" was first mentioned by Dupont after Bhopal to explain why the event happened in India and didnt reflect on their US operations. Then Institute, WV had a similar event.• 1986: International Atomic Energy Agency mentions safety culture as part of the Chernobyl review.• The media history of the term: • Before 1980: zero references • From 1990-2000: 570 references • between 2000 and 2007: Over 2250 articles in newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, and law reviews in an eight-year period
    13. 13. Review of 4 surveys relevant to the question in academic labs• CHAS survey of academic chemistry departments, April 2010• CSHEMA campus safety climate survey, November 2010• CHAS membership survey, December 2010• Nano researchers (NNIN), 2005-06
    14. 14. CHAS Chemistry Department Laboratory Safety Culture Survey• Conducted in response to a request from a chair of a small chemistry department about national best practices• The survey was written in house and conducted in April, 2010• There was about a 45% response rate; about 50% of the surveys were responded to by chairs, 50% by others.• Concerns about specific department issues were expressed by about 10% of the respondents
    15. 15. Survey Highlights• The results indicated a general acceptance of laboratory safety responsibilities, but key elements of a management system were missing at both the management and procedural levels.
    16. 16. The Academic Safety Climate• Conducted November, 2010 as part of a PhD research project• Safety Climate Survey of 5 research campuses responding to CSHEMA survey
    17. 17. Sources of Academic Safety• Interesting note: The lowest level of confidence in safety orientation was in the supervisors.• This is a common finding in a variety of organizations.
    18. 18. CHAS Members Survey, December 2010• Respondents had a long (more than 10 years) experience with laboratory safety• 60% report that the lab safety situation has improved over the last 10 years.• The respondents report that about 75% of the faculty provide effective safety leadership for their labs
    19. 19. Nanoethics Survey• Ethics and Nanotechnology: Views of Nanotechnology Researchers, Robert McGinn, Director, Program in Science, Technology & Society, Stanford University• 1100 users of NNIN facilities responded to questions about ethical issues, including, but not limited to, Environmental Health and Safety issues.
    20. 20. EHS Nanoethics in the Research Setting• 72% said carrying out a procedure without informing one’s benchmates as completely unethical, another 20.9% as somewhat unethical.• For the “without fully searching the existing scholarly literature” scenario, the completely unethical figure fell to 32.4% while the somewhat unethical figure rose to 39.6%.• Equally noteworthy, the percentage who viewed carrying out the procedure without fully searching the scholarly literature as an action to which ethics is irrelevant was 13.6%.
    21. 21. Nano ethics in the research setting• The success of the "try to persuade" approach is likely to be rather hit and miss, depending on the personalities and statices involved.
    22. 22. Interest in Nanoethics Training• 43% report being quite interested in learning about Nanoethics.
    23. 23. Final Thoughts
    24. 24. Final Thoughts• Environmental Health and Safety issues are about community expectations as well as individual safety. This ethical dimension of EHS both places obligations on lab workers are well as helps to protect them
    25. 25. Final Thoughts• Environmental Health and Safety issues are about community expectations as well as individual safety. This ethical dimension of EHS both places obligations on lab workers are well as helps to protect them• Explicit discussion of this aspect of lab work is lacking in the laboratory culture. Information tools to support these discussions are lacking as well.
    26. 26. Final Thoughts• Environmental Health and Safety issues are about community expectations as well as individual safety. This ethical dimension of EHS both places obligations on lab workers are well as helps to protect them• Explicit discussion of this aspect of lab work is lacking in the laboratory culture. Information tools to support these discussions are lacking as well.• The majority of people involved in research labs are interested in this issue, but need help to move it forward.
    27. 27. Final Thoughts• Environmental Health and Safety issues are about community expectations as well as individual safety. This ethical dimension of EHS both places obligations on lab workers are well as helps to protect them• Explicit discussion of this aspect of lab work is lacking in the laboratory culture. Information tools to support these discussions are lacking as well.• The majority of people involved in research labs are interested in this issue, but need help to move it forward.• There are outliers who arent interested - should they drive the agenda?
    28. 28. Data References• Governing Green Laboratories http://web.mit.edu/ ~ssilbey/www/safe_science.html• C&EN article on first CHAS survey: http:// pubs.acs.org/cen/education/ 88/8825education1.html• Ethics and Nanotechnology: Views of Nanotechnology Researchers, Robert McGinn, 2008, Nanoethics
    29. 29. Theory references• Taming Prometheus: Talk About Safety and Culture; Susan S. Silbey, Annual Review of Sociology 2009. 35:341–69• From safety culture to safety orientation: Validation and simplification of a safety orientation scale using a sample of seafarers working for Norwegian ship owners. Jon Ivar Håvold*, Erik Nesset, Ålesund University College, Norway, Safety Science, 47 (2009) 305–326• Communicating Risks and Benefits: An Evidence-Based User’s Guide. FDA

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