Our Work

Guide to Implementing a Safety Culture in Our Universities

The discovery process is critical to the scholarly activity of our research universities. Much university work involves laboratories, performing arts spaces, and field sites where faculty, students, and staff engage in discovery and innovation. Cutting-edge discovery can and does involve risk, and mitigating that risk is key for the safety of all participants. The way we conduct research, engage our students, and prepare the next generation of scholars requires that we ensure their health and well-being. Strengthening and supporting a culture of safety is as important to our discovery enterprise as is peer review, publication, grant writing, mentoring, and educating; it is integral to the responsible conduct of research.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Every institution has a responsibility to ensure a healthy and safe environment for their entire community (faculty, students, staff, and visitors). All members of the community have a responsibility for the safety of themselves and others. We may never be able to completely eradicate accidents and injuries, but we can instill a culture of safety in our academic and research enterprises that significantly minimizes the number and severity of such accidents.

Values for a Culture of Safety

  1. Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Each institution should commit to providing a campus environment that supports the health and safety practices of its community (faculty, students, staff, and visitors) and empowers the community to be responsible for the safety of others. A safe campus environment is a right of employment for all categories of employees. A safe campus learning environment is a right of all involved in education and research.

  2. Good science is safe science. Safety is a critical component of scholarly excellence and responsible conduct of research.

  3. Safety training and safety education are essential elements of research and education. They instill a culture of safety in the next generation of researchers and future faculty, and they are important for our students’ career development and employability.

  4. An improved culture of safety is necessary to truly reduce risk throughout the academic enterprise.

  5. It is best to recognize that diverse methods and flexible approaches will be used by each institution to develop a strong culture of safety, unique to its situation.