National Academies Press: OpenBook
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×

SAFE SCIENCE

Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research

Committee on Establishing and Promoting a Culture of Safety
in Academic Laboratory Research

Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology
Division on Earth and Life Studies

Board on Human-Systems Integration
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
                         OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.

www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS     500 Fifth Street, NW     Washington, DC 20001

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CHE-1215772, the U.S. Department of Energy under Award Number DE-SC0007960, the National Institute of Standards and Technology under contract number SB1341-12-CQ-0036/13-100, ExxonMobil Chemical Company, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, and the American Chemical Society.

This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-30091-9
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-30091-6
Library of Congress Control Number: 2014949075

Additional copies of this report are available for sale from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu/.

Copyright 2014 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×

This page intentionally left blank.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×

COMMITTEE ON ESTABLISHING AND PROMOTING A CULTURE OF SAFETY IN ACADEMIC LABORATORY RESEARCH

Members

H. HOLDEN THORP (Chair), Washington University in St. Louis, MO

DAVID M. DEJOY (Vice Chair), University of Georgia, Athens

JOHN E. BERCAW, NAS, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA

ROBERT G. BERGMAN, NAS, University of California, Berkeley

JOSEPH M. DEEB, ExxonMobil Corporation, Houston, TX

LAWRENCE M. GIBBS,* Stanford University, Stanford, CA

THEODORE GOODSON, III, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

ANDREW S. IMADA, A. S. Imada and Associates, Carmichael, CA

KIMBERLY BEGLEY JESKIE, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN

BRADLEY L. PENTELUTE, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

KARLENE H. ROBERTS, University of California, Berkeley

JENNIFER M. SCHOMAKER, University of Wisconsin–Madison

ALICE M. YOUNG, Texas Tech University, Lubbock

National Research Council Staff

DOUGLAS FRIEDMAN, Study Director

TOBY WARDEN, Associate Director, Board on Human-Systems Integration (through January 3, 2014)

ELIZABETH FINKELMAN, Program Coordinator (as of August 12, 2013)

CARL GUSTAV ANDERSON, Research Associate (as of February 3, 2014)

AMANDA KHU, Administrative Assistant (through August 9, 2013)

NAWINA MATSHONA, Senior Program Assistant (as of October 21, 2013)

RACHEL YANCEY, Senior Program Assistant (through June 3, 2013)

________________

* Resigned June 10, 2014.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×

BOARD ON CHEMICAL SCIENCES AND TECHNOLOGY

Members

TIMOTHY SWAGER (Co-Chair), NAS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

DAVID WALT (Co-Chair), NAE, Tufts University, Medford, MA

HÉCTOR D. ABRUÑA, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

JOEL C. BARRISH, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton, NJ

MARK A. BARTEAU, NAE, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

DAVID BEM, The Dow Chemical Company, Philadelphia, PA

ROBERT G. BERGMAN, NAS, University of California, Berkeley

JOAN BRENNECKE, NAE, University of Notre Dame, IN

HENRY E. BRYNDZA, E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, Wilmington, DE

MICHELLE V. BUCHANAN, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN

DAVID W. CHRISTIANSON, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

RICHARD EISENBERG, NAS, University of Rochester, NY

JILL HRUBY, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM

FRANCES S. LIGLER, NAE, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, Raleigh

SANDER G. MILLS, Merck Research Laboratories (Ret.), Scotch Plains, NJ

JOSEPH B. POWELL, Shell, Houston, TX

ROBERT E. ROBERTS, Institute for Defense Analyses, Alexandria, VA

PETER J. ROSSKY, NAS, Rice University, Houston, TX

DARLENE SOLOMON, Agilent Technologies, Santa Clara, CA

National Research Council Staff

TERESA FRYBERGER, Director

DOUGLAS FRIEDMAN, Senior Program Officer

KATHRYN HUGHES, Senior Program Officer

CARL-GUSTAV ANDERSON, Research Associate

ELIZABETH FINKELMAN, Program Coordinator

NAWINA MATSHONA, Senior Program Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×

BOARD ON HUMAN-SYSTEMS INTEGRATION

Members

NANCY J. COOKE (Chair), Arizona State University, Phoenix

ELLEN BASS, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA

PASCALE CARAYON, University of Wisconsin–Madison

SARA J. CZAJA, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL

FRANCIS (FRANK) T. DURSO, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

ANDREW S. IMADA, A. S. Imada and Associates, Carmichael, CA

KARL S. PISTER, NAE, University of California, Berkeley (Emeritus)

DAVID REMPEL, University of California, San Francisco

MATTHEW RIZZO, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha

BARBARA SILVERSTEIN, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, Olympia

DAVID H. WEGMAN, University of Massachusetts at Lowell (Emeritus)

National Research Council Staff

BARBARA A. WANCHISEN, Director

JATRYCE JACKSON, Program Associate

MICKELLE RODRIGUEZ, Program Coordinator

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×

This page intentionally left blank.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×

Preface

While the hazards of academic chemical research have long been recognized, recent incidents prompted the National Research Council to ask whether there was another way to look at instilling stronger safety practices in chemical research. In particular, could the ideas and methodologies of safety culture from the industrial sector, including non-laboratory settings such as the airline industry, health care, and manufacturing, be brought in a more intentioned way to produce recommendations for making laboratory science safer? As such, a panel was formed consisting of university academic leadership and safety and health administrators, highly distinguished chemistry faculty members, and experts in the field of safety culture and human–systems integration.

The committee brought expertise and outlooks that had never been assembled similarly before. One member is a university provost who has been a dean, chemistry department chair, and chancellor during a time when numerous new regulations were being imposed on higher education, and thus understands the difficulty of achieving compliance and shifting culture. We had environmental health and safety officials from academia, industry, and the national labs who have years of experience in implementing safety regulations and encouraging safe science. We had senior, highly distinguished faculty members, who have led labs handling chemical hazards for decades and have seen the evolution in safety attitudes. We had young faculty just setting up their labs for the first time. And we had experts in safety culture and the behavioral sciences, who had been involved in numerous industries and had dealt with changes in practices that followed high-profile incidents of many different kinds.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×

The process of building a common language among this group of disparate perspectives was challenging, but worthwhile. Initially, it was not obvious to the group that social-behavioral heuristics and rubrics of safety culture could be applied to chemical research. Conversely, the specific practices of laboratory behavior and extraordinary autonomy afforded to chemical researchers when it comes to safety were new to the safety culture experts. We persevered in these conversations, came to common understandings, and achieved results that we believe are unusual and important.

The committee engaged a similarly wide group, ranging from young graduate students just beginning to work with chemical hazards to seasoned laboratory veterans. We talked to individuals from both highly resourced schools with large research budgets and operations as well as regional public universities and private liberal arts colleges that had only one person working in environmental health and safety. We talked to faculty members whose expertise varied from ultrafast laser spectroscopy to an anthropologist who studies power dynamics in academic laboratories.

For decades, laboratory incidents have resulted in new regulations. The committee upholds that compliance is important and that there is always room for better adherence to regulations, which make research safer. However, in writing our recommendations, we strove not to simply produce a list of new regulations. Rather, we hoped that our report would move chemical research beyond simple compliance to the adoption of a culture of safety in academic laboratories that transcends inspections, standard operating procedures, and chemical safety plans. A true safety culture represents a total commitment to achieving safety even in the absence of specific rules or other regulatory guidance. It means making safety an ongoing operational priority.

Our recommendations challenge many longstanding ideas about chemical research. Working long hours and late into the night are still seen as rites of passage in the development of scientists. Student desks for data analysis, writing, and eating still persist inside the laboratories. Principal investigators and visitors to the laboratory often feel that they do not need personal protective equipment if they are not handling any hazardous materials. From our work, we believe there is eagerness among young scientists and veterans alike to challenge these assumptions.

H. Holden Thorp, Chair
David M. DeJoy, Vice Chair
Douglas Friedman, Study Director
Committee on Establishing and Promoting
a Culture of Safety in Academic Research Laboratories

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×

Acknowledgment of Reviewers

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

Donna Blackmond, NAE, The Scripps Research Institute

Dominick J. Casadonte, Jr., Texas Tech University

Sharon Clarke, University of Manchester

Kenneth Fivizzani, Nalco Company (ret.)

David A. Hofmann, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Robin Izzo, Princeton University

Brian M. Kleiner, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

David Korn, IOM, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Stephen R. Leone, NAS, University of California, Berkeley

William Tolman, University of Minnesota

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×

Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Julia M. Phillips, NAE, Sandia National Laboratories, and Jeffrey J. Siirola, NAE, Eastman Chemical Company (ret.). Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×

This page intentionally left blank.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×
Page R1
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×
Page R2
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×
Page R3
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×
Page R4
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×
Page R5
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×
Page R6
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×
Page R7
Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×
Page R8
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×
Page R9
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×
Page R10
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×
Page R11
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×
Page R12
Page xiii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×
Page R13
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×
Page R14
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×
Page R15
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18706.
×
Page R16
Next: Summary »
Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research Get This Book
×
Buy Paperback | $45.00 Buy Ebook | $35.99
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

Recent serious and sometimes fatal accidents in chemical research laboratories at United States universities have driven government agencies, professional societies, industries, and universities themselves to examine the culture of safety in research laboratories. These incidents have triggered a broader discussion of how serious incidents can be prevented in the future and how best to train researchers and emergency personnel to respond appropriately when incidents do occur. As the priority placed on safety increases, many institutions have expressed a desire to go beyond simple compliance with regulations to work toward fostering a strong, positive safety culture: affirming a constant commitment to safety throughout their institutions, while integrating safety as an essential element in the daily work of laboratory researchers.

Safe Science takes on this challenge. This report examines the culture of safety in research institutions and makes recommendations for university leadership, laboratory researchers, and environmental health and safety professionals to support safety as a core value of their institutions. The report discusses ways to fulfill that commitment through prioritizing funding for safety equipment and training, as well as making safety an ongoing operational priority.

A strong, positive safety culture arises not because of a set of rules but because of a constant commitment to safety throughout an organization. Such a culture supports the free exchange of safety information, emphasizes learning and improvement, and assigns greater importance to solving problems than to placing blame. High importance is assigned to safety at all times, not just when it is convenient or does not threaten personal or institutional productivity goals. Safe Science will be a guide to make the changes needed at all levels to protect students, researchers, and staff.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    Switch between the Original Pages, where you can read the report as it appeared in print, and Text Pages for the web version, where you can highlight and search the text.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  9. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!