Safety culture and academic laboratory accidents


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Safety culture and academic laboratory accidents

  1. 1. Miriam Weil, M.P.H. ScD Work Environment PolicyUniversity of Massachusetts Lowell
  2. 2. Prevalence of Injuries/Death  in Academic Labs Laboratory Safety Institute Virtual Memorial Wall lists five deaths in academic labs since 2001 CSB investigated academic lab safety – focusing on an accident at Texas Tech University. Recent Accidents were reported at Yale, Boston College, Missouri State. Miriam Weil, M.P.H. Sc.D University of Massachusetts Lowell 2
  3. 3. Method: Research and Analysis Process Interviews Qualitative Literature with Analysis Review Stakeholders using NVivo •Accidents •UCLA •Analyze safety •Lab Safety •Dartmouth culture elements •Safety Culture •Northwestern at each institution •Safety Climate •Create model Miriam Weil M.P.H., Sc.D. UMASS Lowell 3
  4. 4. Focus on Three Accidents•UCLA ‐In January 2009, Lab Tech Sheharbano Sheri‘ Sangji, died on after being critically burned in a UCLA Chemistry Lab.• Northwestern ‐In December 2010, a post doctoral student was severely injured when his experiment exploded in a Northwestern University Chemistry Lab.•Dartmouth ‐In 1997, Chemistry Professor Karen Wetterhahn, died from acute mercury poisoning after dropping two drops onto her glove. Miriam Weil M.P.H., Sc.D. UMASS Lowell 4
  5. 5. Academic Safety Culture Model Miriam Weil, M.P.H. University of Massachusetts  Lowell 5
  6. 6. Three Critical ValuesManagement Commitment to  SafetyCommunication of Vital Safety  InformationTrust Miriam Weil M.P.H., Sc.D. UMASS Lowell 6
  7. 7. Management Commitment to Safety  Most critical value Feeds into trust, accountability Critical to show support for safety activities Unclear support leaves EH&S with weak authority. In academic institutions, there are many levels of management. Miriam Weil M.P.H., Sc.D. UMASS Lowell
  8. 8. Chemical Safety Board’s Interpretation of the Reason Swiss Cheese Model Miriam Weil, M.P.H. Sc.D University of  Massachusetts Lowell 8
  9. 9. Management Assessment Value UCLA Northwestern DartmouthSummary Changed Better, worse, Changed since Better, worse, Changed since Better, worse, Value since or same accident or same accident or same accidentManagement Improved Good GoodCommitment YES since NO management YES management to Safety accident + in place + in place + Previously lab safety at UCLA was under the radar. The The accident at Dartmouth Chancellor is now supportive The NU Deans Office of Arts happened in 1997. Funding with increase in funding for and Sciences sponsored the and attention was paid to creation of Center for Lab Comments creation of ISIS and the hiring address the cause of that Safety. Despite budget of the chemistry safety officer. accident at the time, creating a constraints, UC System the management structure of started lab safety institute and today. hiring staff. Miriam Weil M.P.H., Sc.D. UMASS Lowell 9
  10. 10. Procedure 1: CommunicationTwo forms External and InternalExternal- Newsletters, scholarly articles, conference presentationsInternal - Hazard assessments , chemical handling and procedures , MSDS, previous experiences , incident reporting Miriam Weil M.P.H., Sc.D. UMASS Lowell 10
  11. 11. Communication Assessment Procedure Summary UCLA Northwestern Dartmouth Changed Changed Better, Changed Better, Better, worse, Procedure since since worse, or since worse, or or same accident accident same accident same No -Good External + Multi-media program in Award +Communication YES blitz place before winning YES + newsletter accident ISIS tracks training and No upward Internal inspections.Communication YES communication from students YES Wiki site YES + proposed. + In response to the accident, Dartmouth Only downward and outward Northwestern has quietly publicized the hazards of communication have been presented the accident for the dimethylmercury and caused a improved. There is no indication benefit of the chemistry and reexamination of the use and handling of chemical health and safety Comments that communication from the it through scholarly articles. Information students as to near misses, or community and produced an about the accident changed and OSHA safety concerns are entertained or award winning EHS newsletter. regulatory policy document, public 11 addressed in any fashion. opinion, EHS practice outside of the
  12. 12. Value 1:Trust Critical to safety culture. Mutual trust promotes safety. Corresponds with open communication, information sharing, power sharing. Played a role in each accident. 12
  13. 13. Trust AssessmentTrust Assessment Value UCLA Northwestern DartmouthSummary Changed Positive , Changed Positive , Changed Positive , Value since Negative since Negative since Negative accident or neutral accident or neutral accident or neutral Policy Unclear. Students Students Trust NO Students YES interviewed YES interviewed interviewed feel safe + feel safe + feel safe. NU’s mentoring program and Dartmouth mentioned trying UCLA had mentors within the safety policies to instill a safe environment some of the labs but it is not implemented in one lab after at the outset of a student’sComments clear that that was a the accident was a great leap career. EHS acts as a university policy. forward in instituting trust consultant on safety amongst students. questions. 13
  14. 14. Safety Culture Evaluation Management Values Procedures Precipitating Commitment cause of to Safety accidentUCLA Improved Improving Improving InternalDartmouth Good Good Good ExternalNorthwestern Excellent Excellent Good External Miriam Weil, M.P.H. Sc.D. University of  Massachusetts Lowell 14
  15. 15. Thank you Questions? Contact:  Miriam Weil 15