(91c) Experimental Safety Plan (ESP) for Safety Management in Chemical Engineering Research

Authors: 
Miller, J., New Mexico State University
Rockstraw, D., New Mexico State University
Mitchell, M., New Mexico State University
Academic and industrial research is fast paced and cutting edge which presents many safety challenges. The nature of research invites shortcuts and improvised techniques that can lead to hazardous conditions. Documentation on processes are ever changing and frequently inaccurate. Decisions by young and inexperienced workers can lead to poor judgment and planning. Incidents from universities and research labs have resulted in several injuries and a few fatalities. Countless near-misses have undoubtedly occurred without any statistical data or documentation collection. Some of the best know are the accidents at UCLA in 2008, Texas Tech in 2010 and most recently University of Hawaii in 2016.

We will discuss a rigorous approach to documentation and training as well as methods for analyzing the hazards of experiments and surroundings to benefit research safety. This system of research experiment management using the Experimental Safety Plan (ESP) approach challenges the stakeholders to consider hazards of their experimental work, consequences of a hazardous situation and methods to mitigate the risks. We will also discuss the history of laboratory and research accidents, the benefits to safety, quality and research documentation and methodology of Experimental Safety Plan used at NMSU’s Chemical Engineering Department. This method will also be compared with guidelines given by the Department of Labor in 29 CFR 1910.1410 Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories.

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