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Safety is not a Spectator Sport

Involve every staff member in some aspect of the safety program and give each a specific responsibility.

by James A. Kaufman
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Involve every staff member in some aspect of the safety program and give each a specific responsibility. There's a tendency to think that if someone is appointed safety coordinator, they have to do all the work for the rest of us. False! A coordinator is just that. He or she is not a "parent." Each person needs to be responsible for safety in general and for a specific part of the program in particular. Here's a list of a number of different specific assignments:

  • Bottle gas cylinders
  • Chemical inventory
  • Highly toxic compounds
  • Heavy metals
  • Emergency response
  • Pyrophorics
  • Reference materials
  • Oxidizers
  • Alcohol inventory
  • Acids and bases
  • Fire equipment
  • Refrigerators
  • Flammables storage
  • Showers and eye washes
  • Specimen storage
  • Electrical hazards
  • Accident records
  • In-service training

Get the idea? Everyone has a job to do. Everyone participates. Take turns doing a monthly lab inspection. Take turns presenting a 5-10 minute safety topic at department meetings.

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The best safety programs are the ones that get everyone most involved.