Safety culture poster

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Safety culture poster

  1. 1. What do we know about laboratory safety culture? Ralph Stuart, CIH Department of Environmental Health and Safety, Cornell University Secretary, Division of Chemical Health and Safety ABSTRACT Introduction Other Relevant Surveys Case StudiesMany authors identify Because of the many hazardous CHAS members (300 chemical health In terms of specific institutions, the“safety culture” as a key materials used in laboratory processes, and safety professionals) safety culture of MIT has received theelement in the safety the health and safety of laboratory •  Respondents had long (more than 10 most official and academic culture. Aperformance of an workers has been a long-standing years) experience with laboratory safety consent agreement with the EPA as aorganization. While a concern. •  60% report that the lab safety situation result of environmental violations led tospecific definition of this has improved over the last 10 years. the development of the MIT EHS-MS forconcept is problematic and For example, as part of •  The respondents report that about 75% defining and organizing thehas evolved since it first his work developing of the faculty provide effective safety environmental health and safetyappeared in the mid-1980’s, supplies of plutonium leadership for their labs program there under the EPA’sthere is a general for the Manhattan •  Many people reported specific outliers oversight.understanding of what is Project, Glenn Seaborg within their customers that presentmeant by this term. defined many of the significant concerns. As this implementation of the EHS-MS core laboratory safety proceeded, a faculty member in the MITIn order to explore various design requirements CSHEMA Academic Safety Culture Anthropology department there studiedaspects of the safety culture and work practices that Survey the process and its cultural impacts. Herof academic chemistry are still considered best Safety climate was generally highly observations on the challenges of usinglaboratories, the Division of practices today (for perceived among workers in higher safety culture as a tool are summarizedChemical Health and Safety example, “no eating, education (4/5). However, the lowest level of in “Taming Prometheus: Talk Aboutconducted two surveys, one drinking or smoking in confidence in safety orientation was in the Safety and Culture”.4of chemistry departments laboratories”).1 supervisors. This is a common finding in a More specific studies of thenationally; the other of its In 2011, the most recent edition of variety of organizations. organizational reaction of chemistrymembership. The results of “Prudent Practices in the Laboratory”2 departments to specific safety incidentsthese surveys are reported identified the institutional safety culture as have been conducted by Dr. Miriamhere as well as related a key element in supporting laboratory Weil of the University of Massachusetts,academic work. workers in observing these practices. Lowell. Her findings will be published In order to better understand the current soon.5In addition, references to a state of laboratory safety culture in highervariety of papers and education, the ACS Division of Chemicalresources on the subject are Health and Safety reviewed relevantprovided. information and conducted a survey of chemistry departments nationwide and its References members. 1. Working Safely at the Chemistry Department Survey Frontiers of Science, JCHAS May/June 1998. Research Ethics 2. Prudent Practices in the •  In April, 2010, in response to a request Laboratory. 2011. National from a Chemistry Department chair at a Research Council In 2008, Robert McGinn of Stanford teaching institution, DCHAS surveyed http://www.nap.edu/ University published the results of a survey the 900 academic chemistry catalog.php?record_id=12654 nanotechnology researchers in the Journal departments in the U.S. about their Nanoethics3. He included a variety of 3. Ethics and Nanotechnology: Views of safety management practices. research ethics topics, such as intellectual Nanotechnology Researchers, Robert •  The results indicated a general property concerns and scientific “hype” as McGinn, 2008, Nanoethics acceptance of laboratory safety well as environmental health and safety. He responsibilities, but key elements of a 4. Taming Prometheus: Talk About Safety concluded: safety management system were and Culture Susan S. Silbey.. Annu. Rev. A substantial majority of respondents missing in many departments, at both exhibited medium or high levels of Sociol. 2009.35:341-369 management and procedural levels. sensitivity to ethics in relation to NT. 5. "Information, Communication and •  For example, inclusion of safety as an Although most respondents view Culture in Academic Laboratory Chemical element in employee performance themselves as not particularly well informed Management" – Miriam Weil Doctoral reviews is generally considered a core about ethics in relation to NT, a substantial Dissertation, UMass Lowell, 2012 element of a safety management majority are aware of and receptive to system. However, this practice was ethical issues related to their work, and reported by a minority of the believe that these issues merit departments who responded. consideration by society and study by current and future NT practitioners. Additional Information CONTACT Interview with Susan Silbey on the MIT EHS-MS: http://web.mit.edu/~ssilbey/www/pdf/Ralph StuartDivision of Chemical Health and ehs_newsletter_article.pdfSafety Safety in Academic ChemistryEmail: secretary@dchas.org Laboratories: Volume 2 available onWebsite: www.dchas.org ACS web site (google ACS CCS SACL)ACS National Meeting, Spring C&EN Safety Zone blog2012 Poster Design & Printing by Genigraphics® - 800.790.4001

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