DCHAS Comments on ACS role in safety culture

In a June 27 C&EN comment, Tom Connelly posed a number of questions about possibly increasing the Society’s role in promoting chemical and laboratory safety. As part of that comment, he posed seven specific questions in an attempt to obtain input on this matter. Those seven questions are listed below.

Many thanks.

Rod Bennett,
Chair, Committee on Divisional Activities

· Should ACS Publications and CAS in­crease safety content and considerations in our publications and online information?

· How can we ensure that all ACS content (print, virtual, video) not only conforms to safety best practices, but actively promotes best practices?

· How might ACS increase its program­ming related to safety at our national and regional meetings?

· After the Bhopal, India, tragedy, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers launched its Center for Chemical Process Safety; it is now the “go-to,” authoritative source on the subject. Is there an analo­gous role for ACS in chemical laboratory safety?

· Through our Committee on Professional Training, ACS approves bachelor’s degree chemistry programs. Part of this approval involves an examination of safety policies and procedures. All ACS-approved chem­istry departments must have a written chemical hygiene plan consistent with Oc­cupational Safety & Health Administration and state standards. Are there ways to mea­sure various institutions’ underlying safety cultures as well?

· Can ACS partner with other organi­zations to promote tools that will help institutions strengthen their safety pro­grams? The Society of Chemical Manufac­turers & Affiliates (SOCMA) provides its ChemStewards technology to industrial laboratories. Does it have applicability in academic labs?
· Should ACS include safety explicitly within its core values? This step will be con­sidered formally by our board during the preparation of our 2017 strategic plan.

The responses from the DCHAS division Executive Committee are in PDF form here: dchas-comments-on-acs-role-in-safety. ACS members in general are encouraged to add their thoughts on these question at safety@acs.org

The Safety Committee of the Division of Chemical Education also developed a response on CHED’s behalf. This response can be found here.

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