268633 Safety Culture on the Ground and in the Lab

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 12:30 PM - 12:50 PM

Miriam Weil, MPH, ScD , Environmental Health and Safety, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA
Ralph Stuart III, MS CIH , Environmental Health and Safety, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Since the mid-1980's, the term "safety culture" has been used to describe an organization's collective response to hazards associated with its work. More specifically, the National Research Council and American Chemical Society have identified this factor in their recommendations for providing a safe work place in academic laboratories. However, trying to identify ways in which this concept can be concretely implemented in the teaching and research setting is an important challenge. Our work has looked at how the safety culture concept is expressed "on the ground" in the academic setting. Specifically, we report on 4 surveys related to Environmental Health and Safety experiences and attitudes in this sector and 3 case studies of how specific high profile laboratory incidents have impacted cultures at their institutions. Based on this information, we have begun the development of a systems model of the role that an institution's culture plays in the safety decisions made in planning and carrying out laboratory work. This model is presented and the advantages and limits are discussed.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Define Safety Culture and Safety Climate and demonstrate their applicability to academic laboratories. Describe a safety culture model and compare its application to three cases where academic lab accidents have occurred.

Keywords: Safety in Labs, Management and Sustainability

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I wrote a dissertation on this topic.
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.