Recommendations: Institution-Wide Dynamics and Resources
Recommendation 2: The president/chancellor designates a campus lead and leadership team to begin the process. The president/chancellor considers appropriate committees to help implement a culture of safety, including a safety committee of faculty, Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) officers, and other representatives who can provide formative feedback to researchers, educators, and staff.
Tools for Recommendation 2
Actions for the appointed campus lead and leadership team responsible for strengthening a culture of safety
- Engage all stakeholders to build and implement an inclusive, collaborative plan within the institution, following the recommendations in this guide and in foundational reports:
- Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research (National Research Council, 2014);
- Creating Safety Cultures in Academic Institutions (ACS, 2012); and
- Texas Tech Laboratory Explosion Case Study (CSB, 2010).
- Develop effective working relationships with all stakeholders involved in improving the culture of safety.
- Develop and collect qualitative and quantitative safety metrics.
- Participate in ongoing assessment, continuous improvement, and communication with the community.
- Report to senior leadership about progress and maturation of the culture.
- Publish annual progress reports to the community. Implement annual reviews on the safety culture.
Examples of how some universities are creating safety committees
- The Stanford University Committee on Health and Safety (UCHS) is a faculty-led committee established in 1988 to advise the president on campus safety policies and practices. In 2013, Stanford convened a task force under the UCHS and the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research to review and evaluate the university’s laboratory safety culture. The Report of the Task Force for Advancing the Culture of Laboratory at Stanford University is comprehensive, including their findings, recommendations, and extensive appendices that include interviews with research personnel.
- The University of Minnesota Safety Program includes faculty, graduate students, postdocs, and EH&S staff. The safety committee provides formative safety feedback to labs. A short description was provided in the NRC’s Safe Science report available at National Academies Press. Additional descriptions of the program available in Science Magazine and the Journal of Chemical Education.
Comparison of Recommendation 2 with other key resources
- From Creating Safety Cultures in Academic Institutions (ACS, 2012)
- Recommendation 13. Establish a series of safety councils and safety committees from the highest level of management to the departmental level or lower. Each of these committees reports, in turn, to a committee that is higher in the hierarchy of the institution.
- From Creating a Safety Culture (OSHA, 1989)
- Establish a Steering Committee comprised of management, employees, union (if one exists), and safety staff. The purpose of this group is to facilitate, support, and direct the change processes. This will provide overall guidance and direction and avoid duplication of efforts. To be effective, the group must have the authority to get things done.
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