Punishments for safety Violations

From a message to NC State.
Q: I am reaching out in my role as the Safety Officer for our department in search of details related to safety enforcement practices that I heard are being used in the Chem Dept at Univ of Pitt.

Thanks in advance for your time,
Melinda Box, M. Ed.

A. I think we have distinguished between violations by Undergraduate Students, Teaching Assistants (including instructors) and Graduate Students here in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh. These policies could be helpful ideas for NC State. We also have a Department of Chemistry safety committee, and a University of Pittsburgh Chemical Hygiene committee. You may have similar committees and should feel free to share this information with them, including our Pitt Chemistry Safety Intranet page: https://www.intranet.chem.pitt.edu/safety/.

For Undergraduate Students, losing points and lowering a grade makes sense if there is a safety problem. In extreme repeat cases, they should be denied lab access. One thing I know happens in a teaching lab if eye protection is not worn in a teaching lab the students can lose points:

Any undergraduate student not in compliance with this rule will first receive a verbal warning from the laboratory instructor. After the second offense on that day, the lab instructor will deduct 50% of the lab report grade (4 points) from the grade for that day’s lab report. Any student receiving a third warning during the same period of the lab will be dismissed from that lab and will receive a grade of zero for that lab report.
https://www.intranet.chem.pitt.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/SAFETY-INSTRUCTIONS-GOGGLES-SUM08-revised-STAN.doc This is the general chem lab safety goggle instruction for students (the organic lab agreement omits a point value).

Teaching Assistants and Instructors should be role models, the punishment should be harsher and come from the lab course directors – a warning and in repeat cases dismissal from the TA program. Also, the safety committee should get involved at one point or another so that a record in the graduate file can be established. We have an Agreement Form for them to actively sign, so they know what is expected of them: https://www.intranet.chem.pitt.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Agreement-form-revised-8-20-10.doc.

For Graduate Student researchers a lot of the responsibility lies with the advisor. The safety committee can make recommendations, but in the absence of the department chair assuming control, we can only issue advisories, including repeated safety evaluations and writing a letter to the advisor.
I looked at the Safety Policies – MEMO 2008 – Eye Protection, Accident Reporting, and Lecture Bottles and found this; it is not literally a fine, but they could lose their place within the department. https://www.intranet.chem.pitt.edu/safety-policies/https://www.intranet.chem.pitt.edu/safety-policies/

For individuals who chronically fail to demonstrate appropriate safety practices, the Safety Committee may decide to recommend more severe sanctions, perhaps even dismissal from the program and/or termination of employment.
https://www.google.com/url?q=http://chem.pitt.edu/documents/200710291515140.2007-08%2520Grad%2520Stud%2520Handbook.pdf&sa=U&ved=0ahUKEwjE4vySv4zXAhUR2mMKHVTFBpQQFggEMAA&client=internal-uds-cse&cx=011147186717677699368:arozsebwpri&usg=AOvVaw1Tl9dqXFwfUzROhCzelk2B From Appendix VI of the 2007-08 Graduate Student Handbook

The other thing is our building manager will take away prox card access to the building if one does not attend the Safety Seminars. This makes sense to disable prox card access to students, but unfortunately building access is practically impossible to enforce 100%.

Currently, we are noticing a fashion trend and have drafted the following idea to include with our safety rules.
Only apparel that completely covers the skin past the ankles should be worn in the laboratory; shoes have to protect feet of spills and potential impact (no sandals or slippers).
Specifically, we changed NO shorts, miniskirts, or any apparel that does not cover the skin above the knee when seated should be worn in the laboratory to prevent gender discrimination. Plus we are seeing through patches in peoples pants and if you can see ones skin on can easily be exposed to chemicals, I don’t know how best to say this in the safety contract.

I would be remiss if I did not direct you to the UMinn Joint Safety Team http://www.jst.umn.edu/ they have a wealth of information there, I know we use their ideas as a place to build on.

Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Thank you,
Josh

Reference
“Inquiring about Safety Enforcement Practices.” Message to Joshua C. Jones University of Pittsburgh. 26 Oct. 2017. E-mail. Message Forwarded from David D’Emilio