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.