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Project Title:

Establishing and Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Laboratory Research
PIN: DELS-BCST-11-04        

Major Unit:

Division on Earth and Life Studies
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

Sub Unit: Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology
Board on Human-System Integration

RSO: Friedman, Douglas

Subject/Focus Area: Behavioral and Social Sciences; Biology and Life Sciences; Math, Chemistry and Physics

Project Scope
The National Research Council, through its Board on Chemical Science and Technology and Board on Human Systems Integration, will examine laboratory safety in chemical research in non-industrial settings.  It will compare practices and attitudes in these settings with knowledge about promoting safe practices from the behavioral science literature.  It will make recommendations for systems and practices that would improve the safety of chemistry research laboratories specifically and other non-industrial research laboratories more generally.  It will:

· Describe the current hierarchy of actors responsible for laboratory safety in US education and in national laboratories.  Identify the strengths and shortcomings of these hierarchies and how it impacts the development of a culture of safety in academic research laboratories.

· Examine knowledge from the behavioral sciences, and experience with safety systems from other sectors (such as industrial research facilities, nuclear energy,  aviation and medical) for key attributes of successful safety systems and cultures.  Use this to draw lessons that could be applied non-industrial laboratory research.

· Provide guidance on systems (such as training and reporting) that might be established, maintained, and utilized to raise the overall safety performance of US chemistry research laboratories.

· Determine key actors required to achieve broad implementation of improved safety performance in research laboratories, especially in the US higher educational system, and provide guidance on their roles and how they might be effectively engaged in improving safe laboratory practice.

The resulting findings and conclusions will be disseminated broadly to key actors in academic laboratory safety.

This project is funded by the National Science Foundation; Department of Energy; National Institute of Standards and Technology; ExxonMobil Corporation; American Chemical Society; and E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company.

The project begins in March 2013 with a report expected in Summer 2014.

Project Duration: 24 months    

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Committee Membership
Committee Membership

 Meeting 1 - 05/15/2013
 Meeting 2 - 06/26/2013
 Meeting 3 - 08/28/2013
 Meeting 4 - 11/20/2013


Reports having no URL can be seen
at the Public Access Records Office
Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research