(95d) Where Does Laboratory Safety Start ?

Arredondo, J. H. - Presenter, Rice University
Threatt, T., Rice University
Worstell, J. H., Worstell and Worstell, Consultants
Industrial laboratory safety starts in university laboratories. If industry’s raw material; i.e., new hires, have been introduced to an OSHA-style safety program at university, then industry will find safety indoctrination of new hires easier to accomplish.

However, safety culture in university laboratories encounters many significant issues. First, many universities are state bureaucracies, which do not receive the same level of scrutiny from another State or Federal bureaucracy as does industry. Second, today, many university students come from countries where safety is not a high priority: having a job or producing products are higher priorities than safety in many regions of the world. Third, graduate students are far more interested in obtaining experimental results than learning and enforcing safety regulations. Fourth, the university laboratory staff confronts a new group of students every semester, which requires safety orientation and indoctrination from “ground zero”.

This presentation discusses how the authors have resolved these issues with regard to undergraduate laboratories at a state university and a private university.