237134 What Do We Know about the Safety Culture of Laboratories?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ralph Stuart III, MS CIH , Environmental Health and Safety, Cornell University, Burlington, VT
· Background and Objective Over the last two years, a sequence of high profile accidents in academic research laboratories has raised both governmental and public interest in the issue of laboratory safety in academic chemistry departments. Specifically, a death at UCLA received a large amount of press attention and the Chemical Safety Board began an investigation into an explosion at Texas Tech University. Preliminary remarks from CSB personnel point to its concern with the academic laboratory “safety culture”.

· Methods To better understand the current of the safety culture of academic chemistry laboratories, the Division of Chemical Health and Safety of the American Chemical Society has conducted surveys of two key stakeholder groups in this community: chemistry department chairs and chemical safety professionals who support safety programs in these departments. High participation rates were achieved for both surveys.

· Results This presentation will review the results of these surveys, as well as the sociological literature which explores the concept of safety culture and other risk cultures to help determine to what extent the term is useful in creating an action plan for improving worker safety in this setting.

· Conclusion The survey results are still being reviewed to determine what lessons learned can be learned from the responses relative to the sociological safety culture literature.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Administration, management, leadership
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Compare how the current safety culture of academic laboratories relates to models described by OSHA and the National Research Council

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have helped it the development and implementation of the surveys to be discussed.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.