For too many years at academic institutions and some companies, health, safety and the environment have been something extra. It’s time that it becomes part of the process. At Dow, we were told that we were being paid to do three things: (1) work safely, (2) conduct active research programs, and (3) publish the reports and patent disclosures resulting from our research. Safety was part of the job—not something extra.
The slogan at the Bell System is: “No job is so important and no service so urgent that we cannot take time to perform our work safely.” At Dow, it was each person’s responsibility to be sure that their work could be performed safely. If you don’t think it’s safe to do, don’t do it.
These kinds of attitudes and values are built over time by companies and institutions that make it very clear that they value safety. Educators need to have the time (as part of their regular workday) to set-up and test experiments, to look up the hazards of chemicals, to find out what protective equipment and protective facilities are needed. This is the job.
Source: Kaufman, James A., Laboratory Safety Guidelines - Expanded Edition, The Laboratory Safety Institute, www.labsafetyinstitute.org
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