All posts by Ralph Stuart

CHAS Workshops 2021

The Division of Chemical Safety presents several workshops as part of the American Chemical Society’s continuing education program around chemical safety issues. CHAS has two workshop tracks, aimed at either specific stakeholders or chemistry professionals who need specific chemical safety education to complete their expertise, either in the lab or in business settings. The stakeholder workshops are taught by people from that group with safety experience (e.g. grad students teaching grad students), whereas the professional development workshops are taught by full time Environmental Health and Safety professionals.

To register for any of these workshops, click on the the workshop description for that workshop.

We can also help arrange presentations of these workshops in other venues. If you are interested in arranging any of these trainings for your company or local section meetings, contact us at membership@dchas.org

Also known as the Lab Safety Teams workshop, taught by chemistry graduate students with experience with implementing and maintaining laboratory safety programs at their home institution. This workshop will next be offered Sunday, October 17, 2021; you can register for it here.

Conducting risk assessments in the research lab requires special considerations. This workshop will explore using the RAMP paradigm to meet this need and will be offered this November. You can register for this workshop here.

NEW for 2021! This workshop addresses the ACS Publications expectation for publishing safety information related to your research. The registration page for this workshop on Monday, October 4 is here.

New in 2021! A proactive laboratory safety culture is the key to a safer laboratory. This workshop will explore what this means and provide concrete tools you can use to support a safety culture in your lab. Register here for this workshop to be held Saturday, October 16.

Our most popular workshop, the Chemical Hygiene Officer workshop prepares attendees to take the NRCC certification exam to serve this role. Register for the Friday, October 8 offering of this workshop here.

Regulatory requirements for laboratory wastes can be complex. This workshop provides an introduction to the key questions you need to ask to avoid legal problems when you dispose of your lab waste Register here forThursday, October 7 offering of the lab waste workshop.

This workshop explains had to adapt standard accident investigation practices to the laboratory setting. Register for the “blame free” workshop on Tuesday, October 5 here.

Safe organizations do not develop spontaneously; this workshop identifies ways that leadership can foster the development of a productive approach to safety in their organization. Register for this workshop on Thursday, October 21 here.

Chemical reactivity hazards present special planing and management challenges. This workshop will explore techniques for identifying these hazards and assessing these risks. Register for this workshop on Wednesday, October 6 here.
This LSI workshop provides practical details for moving your lab safety program forward.Register for this workshop on Monday, October 4 here.


The ACS Youtube channel hosts chemical safety related videos on a variety of topics and styles for specific audiences. They are all available for Creative Commons use in classes with attribution.


This extensive 15 hour course on chemical safety in the laboratory is designed for undergraduate STEM students and others with a need to review the fundamentals of chemical safety in the laboratory. Register at https://institute.acs.org/courses/foundations-chemical-safety.html

If you have any questions about these workshops, contact us at membership@dchas.org or complete the workshop below.

Fall 2021 National Meeting Technical Presentations

2021 CHAS Awards Presentations

Safety in Lab Facilities Symposium

The Impact of Covid on EHS

General Papers

Safety Papers from Symposia in Other Divisions

Chemical Education (CHED)

Chemical Information (CINF)

ACS Webinar: Working Together to Design Safer Laboratories

Designing laboratories that allow for safe and efficient research requires input and collaboration between researchers, architects, engineers and lab planners. Michael Labosky of MIT, Ellen Sweet of Cornell University, and Melinda Box of N.C. State University discussed the challenges of designing and operating labs from multiple perspectives, using concrete examples from the real world. This ACS Webinar is moderated by Environmental Safety Manager Ralph Stuart of Keene State College and is co-produced with the ACS Division of Chemical Safety and the ACS Committee on Chemical Safety. The webinar was recorded and is available to ACS members at http://www.acs.org/webinars Information from the webinar is provided below. If you have any follow up questions about this webinar, let us know at membership@dchas.org

References cited during the webinar include:

ACS Chemical Health & Safety special issue articles currently available:

 Safe Lab Design: A Call for Papers https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.chas.1c00034

Code Considerations for the Design of Laboratories Which Will Also House Pilot Plants
https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.chas.0c00053

Planning and Building Laboratories: A Collaboration among Many
https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.chas.0c00081

Controls for University Fabrication Laboratories—Best Practices for Health and Safety
https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.chas.0c00093

Design and Practice of an Organic Analysis Laboratory to Enhance Laboratory Safety  
https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.chas.1c00008

Comments from the audience:

  • Working with Undergraduate Students is really a challenging task for us. The information shared through the webinars are really helpful and beneficial for us.
  • We are planning a new lab, it was just great!
  • Very good overview of the challenges associated with the design and maintenance of acceptable air handling for laboratories. The speakers were exceptionally knowledgeable, and this presentation was very useful.
  • This webinar is a new window of safety and security in labs
  • This was definitely for the inexperienced in lab safety design
  • This was an excellent and very relevant webinar. Re-consulting the notes and, more importantly, the recorded version will be useful as a significant amount of relevant information was given verbally and could barely be noted down (lack of time!). Maybe this can be corrected by adding more point-form keywords and statements on slides would help following the talks.
  • This was a great learning experience, I work indirectly with the labs almost every day. Our ventilation systems are top tier but it’s great to understand some of the design aspects and procedural steps to take in order to create an effective and comprehensive system. I may not use this information daily but it’s a great refresher.
  • Someone in the chat had a great suggestion for chemical inventory.
  • Showed me I am on the right track and pointed out some key things that I can further look into to make my lab safer
  • It was very informative and a very good overview.
  • It was beneficial to hear from peer institutions, especially with respect to ventilation. During the Q&A, the questions pertaining to core safety topics for the various levels if chemistry curriculum was also interesting.
  • I was provided with a great deal of additional resources to consult as we begin planning a revamping of our existing high school chemistry laboratory.
  • I hope to put in practice the knowledge acquired in laboratory design for safety and sustainability
  • I have benefited immensely from the little I was able to grab
  • I am working in a lab that has no such facilities and most of the time we ignored it as it was not in our hands. But here in this webinar, I have learnt many safety measures. I think this makes a difference in the safety measures of our lab.
  • I am planning to start a electroplating set up for my research work so definitely it has benefited me.
  • Excellent information from qualified professionals w/ real world experience and helpful insight.
  • El webinar me sirve como soporte para dar recomendaciones en la construcción del laboratorio de la CDMB que se está realizando en estos momentos en Bucaramanga – Colombia. Soy el jefe de ese laboratorio y debo estar preparado para emitir conceptos o aportar en la toma de decisiones para el laboratorio.
  • As EHS professional it is refreshing to see that lab users get more educated and aware of the lab ventilation issues and challenges
  • As an EHS professional, it primarily reinforced information that I already knew. However, the presenters offered good tips or ideas as well.

ACS Webinar: Changing the Culture of Chemistry – Safety in the Lab

Speakers at the webinar included:

  • Mary Beth Mulcahy, Manager in the Global Chemical and Biological Security group at Sandia National Laboratories, Editor-in-Chief of ACS Chemical Health & Safety
  • Michael B. Blayney, Executive Director, Research Safety at Northwestern University
  • Monica Mame Soma Nyansa, Ph.D. Student, Michigan Technological University
  • Kali Miller, Managing Editor, ACS Publications

The session closed with a question-and-answer session moderated by Kali Miller, an ACS Publications Managing Editor, where all three panelists were able to share more insights and advice.

CHAS Workshop: Empowering academic researchers to strengthen safety culture, October 17 2021

This 4-hour workshop is primarily directed at frontline researchers in academic institutions: graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and undergraduate students. Faculty and safety staff are also very much encouraged to participate.

Workshop goals are to:

  • Educate participants about the value of risk assessment
  • Guide participants towards gaining awareness of safety culture messages from the leadership at their institutions
  • Empower participants to expand their safety networks and develop laboratory safety teams.

The next workshop is scheduled for Sunday, October 17, 2021 from 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM Eastern Time. The workshop is $25 per participant. To register for this workshop date, please follow this link to our Eventbrite registration page. If you have any questions about the workshop, please email lstworkshop@dchas.org. 

For more information:

To see our Zotero list of Lab Safety Team resources. visit this page.

For information about the history of the workshop, visit this page.

ACS Short Video: Quality Data for Safer Experiments

The ACS Committee on Chemical Safety is pleased to release another short video about safety in the research lab setting, This video describes two tools that are important in sharing your safety lessons learned in your academic publications: RAMP and FAIR. Watch the video here and use the safety information resources below to implement these ideas in your lab!

Chemical Hazard Information

Scientific Sharing & Publication Opportunities and Considerations

Best Practice Reference Sources

Key points related to the poster:

  • Risk assessment is important for researchers to document locally and refresh on a regular basis as part of their laboratory planning and operations. This assessment needs to reflect specific aspects of their work, such as process variables, available safety equipment, and the expertise of the chemists doing the work. 
  • Lab process safety analysis is an important opportunity for professional collaboration with both environmental health and safety staff & information professionals. They can help you identify sources AND document your lab practices FAIRly; this assistance will help you build habits that will pay off when you are ready to publish your work. 
  • Industry is looking for chemists with the professional skill of formally assessing risk and share at the company level 
  • Digital/online information sharing in the 21st Century environment involves different skills than laboratory work in the 20th Century. There are new, broader expectations for sharing raw data and safe operations. The onus of documentation is on researchers in order to share your process, data, safety observations etc. with the community in peer reviewed articles

2020-21 CHAS Journal Club Index

During the 2020-21 academic year, an average of between 15 and 20 people gathered to review and discuss academic papers relevant to lab safety in academia.

During the fall, we followed the traditional model of a presenter who led the discussion after the group was encouraged to read the paper. In the spring, we began a two-step process: first a table read where the group silently collaboratively commented on an abbreviated version of the paper in a shared google document one week and then had an oral discussion the second week. The second approach enabled much more engagement by the group as a whole.

The spring papers we discussed were primarily focused on graduate student led Lab Safety Teams and included (in reverse chronological order):

The fall papers were focused primarily on the idea of safety culture and included (in reverse chronological order):

  • What Is A Culture Of Safety And Can It Be Changed?
  • Safety Culture & Communication
  • Supporting Scientists By Making Research Safer
  • Perspectives On Safety Culture
  • Making Safety Second Nature In An Academic Lab
  • We will pick up the Journal Club again in the fall of 2021.
    We are interested in looking at the psychology of safety with 2 things in mind:

    • (1) papers with well-done empirical studies, and
    • (2) studies that investigate an issue that is present in academia.

    It is likely that papers that are investigating the psychology of safety have focused primarily on industry (construction, airplanes, etc), so it will be important to identify the specific phenomenon they are investigating and be prepared to translate it to academia. Questions about the CHAS Journal Club can be directed to membership@dchas.org

    Highlights from ACS Webinar on Nanosafety Research

    Nanoparticles are an area of increasing research interest in many fields. However, the risk data related to the safety, health and environmental impacts is still limited. How should lab researchers approach these uncertainties?

    Speakers: Tilak Chandra, University of Wisconsin-Madison / Katie Kruszynski, University of Wisconsin-Madison / Markus Schaufele, Northwestern University

    This ACS Webinar was moderated by Ralph Stuart and co-produced with the ACS Division of Chemical Safety and the ACS Committee on Chemical Safety.

    References cited in the webinar:

    Donaldson and Poland, Nanotoxicity: challenging the myth of nano-specific toxicity, Curr. Opin. Biotechnol., 24 (2013), pp. 724-734; 

    Gebel et al. Manufactured nanomaterials: categorization and approaches to hazard assessment Arch. Toxicol., 88 (2014), pp. 2191-2211;

    Nel et al., Toxic potential of materials at the nanolevel, Science, 311 (2006), pp. 622-627); Steve Oldenburg, Nanosafety: Conclusions From a Decade of Nanotoxicology Research (2017)

    OSHA Fact Sheet: Working Safely with Nanomaterials https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/publications/OSHA_FS-3634.pdf

    Steve Oldenburg, Nanosafety: Conclusions From a Decade of Nanotoxicology Research, nanoComposix, (2017) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-HiWAjqYgg 

    Nanotechnology, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/nanotech/default.html 
    •3D Printing with Filaments: Health and Safety Questions to Ask (2020)
    •3D Printing with Metal Powders: Health and Safety Q. to Ask (2020)
    • Continuing to Protect the Nanotechnology Workforce: NIOSH Nanotechnology Research Plan for 2018 – 2025

    Dekkers, Susan et al; Safe-by-Design part I: Proposal for nanospecific human health safety aspects needed along the innovation process, NanoImpact, Volume 18, April 2020

    Janeck J.Scott-Fordsmand et al, A unified framework for nanosafety is needed, Nano Today, Vol 9, I5, 2014, Pages 546-549 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1748013214001030 

    Chandra, T.; Zebrowski, J. P.; McClain, R.; Lenertz, L.Y. Generating Standard Operating Procedures for the Manipulation of Hazardous Chemicals in Academic Laboratories. ACS Chem. Health Saf. 2021, 28, 1, 19-24.

    Jaya Borgatta, et. al.; Copper Based Nanomaterials Suppress Root Fungal Disease in Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus): Role of Particle Morphology, Composition and Dissolution Behavior. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 2018, 6 (11), 14847-14856.

    In addition, the Committee on Chemical Safety’s list of references on nanosafety can be found on its web site.

    Engaging senior management to improve the safety culture

    The Art & State of Safety Journal Club, 05/05/21

    Excerpts from “Engaging senior management to improve the safety culture of a chemical development organization thru the SPYDR (Safety as Part of Your Daily Routine) lab visit program

    written by Victor Rosso, Jeffery Simon, Matthew Hickey, Christina Risatti, Chris Sfouggatakis, Lydia Breckenridge, Sha Lou, Robert Forest, Grace Chiou, Jonathan Marshall, and Jean Tom

    Presented by Victor Rosso

    Bristol-Myers Squibb

    The full paper can be found here: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1016/j.jchas.2019.03.005 

    INTRODUCTION

    The improvement and enrichment of an organization’s safety culture are common goals throughout both industrial and academic research. As a chemical process development organization that designs and develops safe, efficient, environmentally appropriate and economically viable chemical processes for the manufacture of small molecule drug substances, we continually strive to improve our safety culture. Cultivating and energizing a rich safety culture is critical for an organization whose members are performing a multitude of processes at different scales using a broad spectrum of hazardous chemical reagents as its core activities. While we certainly place an emphasis on utilizing greener materials and safer reagents, the nature of our business requires us to work with all types of hazardous and reactive chemicals and the challenges we face are pertinent to any chemical research organization.

    In our organization of approximately 200 organic and analytical chemists[a] and chemical engineers, we have a Safety Culture Team (SCT) [b][c][d][e][f][g]whose mission is to develop programs to enhance the organization’s safety culture. To make this culture visible, the  team developed a key concept, Safety is Part of Your Daily Routine, into a brand with its own logo SPYDR. To build on this concept, we designed a program known as the SPYDR Lab Visits shown in Figure 1. The program engages our senior leadership[h][i] by having them interact with our scientists directly at the bench in the laboratory[j][k][l][m] to discuss safety concerns. This program, initiated in 2013, has visibly engaged our senior leaders directly in the organization’s safety culture and brought to our attention a wide range of safety concerns that would not readily appear[n][o][p] in a typical safety inspection. Furthermore, this program provides a mechanism for increased communication between all levels of the organization by arranging meetings between personnel who may not normally interact with one another on a regular basis. The success of this program has led to similar programs across other functional areas in the company.[q]

    A key safety objective for all organizations is to ensure that the entire organization can trust that the leadership is engaged in and supportive of the safety culture. [r][s][t][u]Therefore this program was designed to (1) emphasize that safety is a top priority from the top of the organization to the bottom[v][w][x][y][z], (2) engage our senior leadership with a prominent role in the safety conversations in the organization, (3) build a closer relationship between our senior leaders and the laboratory occupants and (4) utilize the feedback obtained from the visits to make the working environment better for our scientists. The program is a supplement to and not a replacement for the long standing laboratory inspection program done by the scientists in the organization.

    The program involves assigning the senior leaders to meet with 2–5 scientists in the scientists’ laboratory. There are approximately 40 laboratories in the organization, and over the course of the year, each laboratory will meet with 2–3 senior leaders and each senior leader will visit 4–6 different laboratories. All of this is organized using calendar entries which informs the senior leaders and scientists of where and when to meet, and contains the survey link to collect the feedback.

    As a result of this program, our senior leaders engage our bench scientists in conversations that are primarily driven to draw out the safety concerns of our scientists. However, these conversations can run the gamut of anything that is a concern to our team members[aa][ab]. This can range from safety issues, laboratory operations, and current research work to organizational changes and personal concerns. The senior leadership regularly reminds and encourages the scientists to engage on any topic of their choosing; this creates a collegial atmosphere for laboratory occupants to voice their safety concerns and ideas.

    The laboratory visit program was modeled around the Safety SPYDR and thus we designed the program to have 8 legs[ac]. The first two legs consist of the program’s goals for the visit. We asked the senior leaders to ensure that they state the purpose of the program, that they are visiting the laboratory to find ways to improve lab safety. The second leg, which is the primary goal, is to ask “what are your safety concerns?”. Often this is met with “we have no safety concerns”, but using techniques common in the interviewing process, the leaders ask deeper probing questions to draw out what the scientists care about and with additional probing[ad][ae][af][ag], root causes of the safety concerns will emerge. Once the scientists start talking about one safety concern, often multiple concerns will then surface, thus giving our safety teams an opportunity to deal with these concerns.

    The next two legs of the SPYDR Lab visits consist of observations we ask our senior leaders to make on laboratory clutter and access to emergency equipment[ah]. If the clutter level of a laboratory is deemed unacceptable,[ai][aj][ak][al] the SCT will look to provide support to address root causes of the clutter. Typical solutions have been addition of storage capacity, removal of excess equipment from the work spaces, and alternative workflows. The second observation is to ensure clear paths from the work areas to emergency equipment exist, should an incident occur. We wanted to make sure a direct line existed to the eyewash station/shower such that the occupant would not be tripping over excessive carts, chillers, shelving or miscellaneous equipment. These observations led to active coaching of our laboratory occupants to ensure safe egress existed and modifications to the work environment. For example, the relocation of many chillers to compartments underneath the hood from being on a cart in front of the hood enabled improved egress for a number of laboratories.

    For the final four legs of the SPYDR Visit, we ask the senior leaders to probe for understanding on various topics[am] that range from personal protective equipment selection, waste handling, reactor setup and chemical hazards. The visitor is asked to rate these areas from needs improvements, to average, high, or very high. Figure 2 compares these ratings from the first year (2013) with the current year (2018). In the first year of the  program, there were a few scattered “needs improvement” rating that resulted in communication with the line management of the laboratory. After the initial year, “needs improvement” ratings became very rare in all cases except clutter. In the current year, we shifted two topics[an] to Laboratory Ergonomics[ao] and Electricity, which uncovered additional opportunities for improvement.  We recommend changing the contents of these legs on a regular basis[ap] as it shifts the focus of the discussion and potentially uncovers new safety concerns.

    FEEDBACK MECHANISM

    The SPYDR lab visits are built around a feedback loop illustrated in Figure 3 that utilizes an online survey to both track completion of the visits as well as to communicate findings back to the SCT. The order of events around a laboratory visit consist of scheduling a half hour meeting between our senior leaders and the occupants in their laboratories. Once the visit is completed, the visitors will fill out the simple online survey (Figure 4) that details their findings for the visit. The SCT will meet regularly to review the surveys and take actions based on the occupants’ safety concerns. This often involves following up with the team members in the laboratory to ensure they know their safety concerns were heard[aq][ar].

    Two potential and significant detractors for this program exist. The first challenge is if the senior visitor does not show up for the visit, this results in a perception that senior management  does not embrace safety as a top priority. The second pitfall is if the visitor uncovers a safety concern, but does not  fill out the survey to report safety concerns, or if the SCT is unable to address a safety concern. In this case, there would be a perception that a safety concern was reported to a senior leader and “nothing happened”. To minimize these risks, there is significant  emphasis for the senior leaders to take ownership of the laboratory visits[as][at]  and for the SCT to take ownership of the action items and ensure the team members know their voices have been heard.

    DISCUSSION OF SAFETY CONCERNS

    A summary of safety concerns is illustrated in Table 1. By a wide margin, clutter was the predominant safety concern in 2013 as it was noted in 50% of the laboratories visited. Three major safety programs within the department were inspired by early visits in order to reduce clutter in the laboratories. This included several rounds of organized general laboratory cleanouts to remove old equipment[au][av]. A second program systematically purged old and/or duplicate chemicals throughout the department.[aw] Most recently, a third program created a systematic long term chemical inventory management system[ax][ay][az] that was designed to reduce clutter caused by the large number of processing samples stored in the department. This program has returned over 900 sq. feet of storage space to our laboratories and has greatly reduced the amount of clutter in the labs. Although clutter remains a common theme in our visits, the focus is now often related to removal of old instruments and equipment [ba][bb][bc][bd]rather than a gross shortage of storage space.

    In the first year of the program, one aspect of the laboratory visit was to discuss hazards associated with chemical reactions (feedback rate of 28%) and equipment setup (32%). A common thread in these discussions were expectations of collaboration and behavior from “visiting scientists”. These “visiting scientists” were colleagues[be][bf][bg][bh] and project team members from other laboratories coming to the specific laboratory in order to use its specialized equipment (examples: 20 liter reactors, automated reactor blocks). This caused certain friction between the visiting scientists and their hosts on safety expectations. The SCT addressed this by convening a meeting between hosts and visiting scientists to discuss root causes of friction to produce a list of “best practices” shown in Figure 5 to improve the work experience for both hosts and visitors that is still in use for specialty labs with shared equipment today.[bi][bj]

    The next major category of safety concerns for our laboratory visits was associated with facility repairs which was present in 24% of our first year visits. These included items such as leaking roofs, unsafe cabinet doors, or delays in re-energizing hoods after fire drills. These were addressed by connecting our scientists to the appropriate building managers who would be able to evaluate and address these safety concerns. After the initial year, most of the facility related concerns transitioned to the addition/removal of storage solutions within specific laboratories. Currently, when new laboratories are associated with the SPYDR Lab Visit program, major facility concerns will quickly be reported.

    These visits also brought to light a common problem occurring in the laboratories, that is, the loss of electrical power associated with circuit breakers being tripped when the electrical outlets associated with a laboratory hood were being used at capacity. This led to the identification of the need to increase the electrical capacity in the fume hoods and this Is now being addressed by an ongoing capital project.

    By the third year of the program, the nature of the safety concerns changed as many of the laboratory-based concerns had been addressed[bk]. Concerns raised now included site issues such as traffic patterns, pedestrian safety, walking in parking lots at night, and training. [bl]Among the items addressed for the site include on-site intersections being modified and movement of a fence line to enable safer crosswalks and improvements for the driver’s line-of-sight. A simple question raised about fire extinguisher training and who was permitted to use an AED device led to the expansion of departmental fire extinguisher training to a broader group and the offering of AED/CPR training to the broader organization.

    These safety concerns would not be typically detected by a laboratory safety inspection program and are only accessible by directly asking the occupants what their safety concerns are. [bm][bn][bo]Through the SCT, these issues were resolved over time as the team took accountability to move the issue through various channels (facilities, capital projects, ordering of equipment) to develop and implement the solutions.

    CONCLUSION

    Since 2013, this novel program[bp] has successfully engaged our leadership with laboratory personnel and has led to hundreds of concerns being addressed[bq]. The concerns have arisen from over 300 laboratory visits, and more than a thousand safety conversations with our scientists. Because this is not a safety inspection program, these visits routinely uncover new safety concerns that would not be expected to surface in our typical laboratory inspection program. The SPYDR visit program is a strong supplement to the laboratory inspection program, and has produced a measurable impact on the safety culture.

    A collateral benefit from the program is that it drives social interactions within the department where senior leaders who may not necessarily interact with certain parts of the organization have a chance to visit these team members in their workplace and learn firsthand what they do in the organization[br][bs][bt][bu].

    [a]Only a bit bigger than some of the bigger graduate chemistry programs in the US.

    [b]How large is the Safety culture Team?

    [c]in the range of 6-10

    [d]Does this fall in the “other duties as assigned” category or more driven by personal interest in the topic?

    [e]Do position descriptions during recruitment include Required or Preferred skills that would add value to inclusion on the SCT?

    [f]I was unable to access the article in its entirety so this question may be answered there….  What is the composition of the SCT- who in the organization participates?

    [g]representatives from various departments and leaders of safety teams

    [h]do some of the senior leadership going to the labs have lab experience?

    [i]yes

    [j]Was this a formal thing or out of the blue visits?

    [k]initially planned as random, unannounced, we had to revert to scheduled in order to ensure scientists were present and available when leaders stopped in

    [l]We had the same thing in academic lab inspections. While unannounced visits seemed more intuitive, the benefit of the visits wasn’t there if the lab workers weren’t available to work with the inspectors. So scheduling visits worked out better in the end

    [m]In terms of compliance inspections, I would think that the benefit of scheduled inspections is that it can motivate people to clean their labs before the inspection. While I get that it would be preferable that they clean their labs more regularly, the announced visit seems like it would guarantee that all labs get cleaned up at least once per year. And maybe they’ll see the benefit of the cleaner lab and be more inspired to keep it cleaner generally – but I realize that might just be wishful thinking.

    [n]So important. We keep running into the issues of experimental safety getting missed by 1-shot inspections.

    [o]Some of that could be addressed with better risk assessment training of research staff.

    [p]concerns are generally wide ranging, most started out as lab centric in the early years then expanded beyond the labs

    [q]Are these other functional areas related to safety or other issues (e.g. quality control, business processes, etc.)

    [r]This seems key but also can be super hard to obtain.

    [s]I think that it requires leadership that is familiar with all of the different kinds of expertise in the orgainzation to say that. Higher ed contains so many different types of expertise, it is difficult for leadership to know what this commitment entails

    [t]And far too often in my experience in academia those in leadership positions have limited management training, which can inhibit good leadership traits.

    [u]Many academics promoted into chair or dean level get stuck on  budgeting arguments rather than more strategic / visionary questions

    [v]I’ve found this expectation to be quite challenging at some higher ed institutions.

    [w]Everytime I bring it up to upper management in higher ed, they say “of course safety is #1”, but they don’t want to spend their leadership capital on it.

    [x]the program was designed to give  senior leaders a role specifically designed for them

    [y]@Ralph I completely agree!

    [z]This approach seems to be a way for leadership to get involved with out spending a lot of leadership capital.

    I always had my best luck “inspecting” labs when I could lead with science-related questions rather than compliance issues

    [aa]I think it is really cool that this is thought of expansively.

    [ab]Nice to not put bounds on safety concerns going into the conversation.  Reinforced later in the paper thru the identification and mitigation of hazards well outside the lab

    [ac]Are these legs connected to on boarding training for lab employees?

    [ad]This skill would be exceptionally important when discussing such issues with graduate students.

    [ae]Are scientists trained in this technique?  Or does the SCT have individuals selected for that skill set?  When I look around campus at TTU I can see lots of opportunity for collaboration by bringing “non-scientists” into the discussion to get new perspectives and possibly see new problems

    [af]This definitely takes practice, but it can also be learned in workshops and by observing good mentoring. The observation process requires a conscious commitment by both the mentor and the employee, though

    [ag]one thought at least for me, was the interviewing experience senior folks would have and this would be a chance to practice said skill

    [ah]Seems like the process could have some standard topics that can be replaced with new focus areas as the program matures or issues are addressed

    [ai]Lab clutter is an ongoing stress for me. Is the clutter related to current work or a legacy of previous work that hasn’t been officially decommissioned yet? 

    Did your organization develop a set of process decommissioning criteria to maintain lab housekeeping?

    [aj]Part of me feels that all researchers should at some point visit/tour a trace analytical laboratory.  Contamination is always of such concern when looking for things at ppb/ppt/ppq levels, that clutter rarely develops.  But outside of trace analysis laboratory its definitely a continuous problem in most research spaces.

    [ak]This is a good idea. I wonder if Bristol Myers Squibb has a program to rotate scientists among different lab groups to share “cross-cultural” learning?

    [al]@Chris – good point. I started research in a molecular genetics lab. While there were some issues, the benches and hoods were definitely MUCH cleaner and better organized because of concerns over contamination. Also, we have lab colonies of different insects in which things had to be kept very clean in order to keep lab-acquired disease transmission low for the insects. I was FLOORED by what I saw in chemistry labs once I joined my department. We very much had different ideas about what “clean” meant.

    [am]I really like this idea as well. Make sure everyone is on the same page.

    [an]I like the idea of shifting focus the previous issues have been addressed

    [ao]Great to see emphasis on an often overlooked topic

    [ap]Would reviewing these legs annually be regular enough? Or too often?

    [aq]So important – people are more willing to discuss issues if they feel like someone is really listening and is prepared to actually address the issues.

    [ar]And it demonstrates true commitment to the program and improvements.  Supports the trust built between the different stakeholders.

    [as]Is there some sort of training or prepping down with these senior leaders?

    [at]a short training session occurs to introduce leaders to the purpose of the program

    [au]Thank you! This is a challenge for all laboratory organizations I have worked for

    [av]Agreed!  Too often things are kept even when there is no definitive plan for future use.

    [aw]What % of the chemical stock did this purge represent?

    [ax]I’m always amazed when I learn of a laboratory that attempts to function without a structured chemical management system.  The ones without are often those that duplicate chemical purchases, often in quantities of scale (for price savings) that far exceed their consumption need.

    [ay]I once asked the chem lab manager about this. He said that 80% of his budget is people and 15% chemicals. He’d rather focus his time on managing the 80% than the 15%.

    He had a point, but I think he was passing up an important opportunity with that approach

    [az]@Chris – and grad students waste loads of time looking for the reagents and glassware they need for their experiments. And when they find them, sometimes they have been so poorly stored/ignored that they are contaminated or otherwise useless. Welcome to my lab!

    [ba]is this more of a challenge in academia vs. industry?

    [bb]This is definitely a pretty big issue for us at the university I work at. Constant struggle.

    [bc]One of the things I found frustrating while working at a govt lab is that I found out that we legally weren’t allowed to donate old equipment. I was simultaneously attending a tiny PUI nearby who would have LOVED to take the old equipment off their hands. Now working in an academic lab, I have been able to snag some donated equipment from industry labs.

    [bd]@Jessica as someone presently in government research I share your frustration!  I have to remind myself that the government systems are all too often setup to prevent abuse, rather than be efficient and benevolent.

    [be]Are these other laboratories from within your organization or external partners?

    [bf]visitors from other labs within the department,

    [bg]We had that challenge to some extent, but the bigger issues arose when visitors from other campuses showed up with different safety expectations than we were trying to instill. International visitors were a particularly interesting challenge…

    [bh]@Ralph that was often my experience too, dramatically differing safety expectations now being asked to share research space.

    [bi]I wish this occurred with greater frequency in academia.  Too often folks are too concerned about hurting a colleagues’ feelings or ego than to have a conversation to address safety concerns.

    [bj]I like the best practices approach- less prescriptive and allows researchers some latitude in meeting the requirements.  Provides an opportunity for someone (who is a subject matter expert in their field) to come up with a better solution

    [bk]That’s great, shows a commitment to the program and supports the trust that has been built between the stakeholders.

    [bl]These are important issues in setting the tone of a safety culture for an organization

    [bm]Such an important statement here.

    [bn]Agreed!

    [bo]+1

    [bp]This is a good one!

    [bq]Since I’m sure these were tracked, this is a nice metric- prevalence of a particular concern over time.

    [br]does this go both ways at all? do the research scientists have the chance to ask how their research projects impact the goals of senior leadership/company?

    [bs]there is a social interaction aspect here were scientists will get to interact with leaders they normally would not cross paths with, we can take this opportunity for our analytical leaders to visit chemists, chemistry leaders to visit engineers and engineering leads to visit analytical chemists

    [bt]Did business leadership (sales, marketing, etc.) have the opportunity to see this kind of interaction? Or do they have separate interactions with lab staff?

    [bu]In higher ed, it would be interesting to take admissions staff on lab tours to inform them about what is going on there and potentially give feedback about what students and parents are interested in