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Thanks to those who attended the KACS Local Section Meeting on the ever-current topic of safety at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday 23 September 2014 in the Dow Science Building Lecture Hall at Kalamazoo College We had Dr. Kenneth Fivizzani, Nalco Company (retired) and Chair, ACS Division of Chemical Health & Safety as our speaker.
The chemistry community and the general public have become more aware of incidents in chemical laboratories. Some serious accidents in both academic and industrial laboratories have had widespread repercussions to the organizations in which these accidents occur. If a regulatory agency, such as OSHA or EPA, cites a violation of a law or regulation, fines and remediation costs can be significant. Legal expenses for responses, trials, and appeals can grow quickly. But there are broader costs to the reputations of principal investigators, departments, institutions, and even for the science of chemistry. If students do not feel safe in undergraduate and research laboratories, they will be less likely to choose a career in science. If the general public does not trust chemical professionals to work safely in laboratories, there could be calls for more regulation of lab activity, and funding for chemical research might be reduced. There are many good reasons for organizations to establish strong safety cultures and ensure that laboratory personnel are well trained in lab safety procedures and policies.
There will be time at the end for questions.
Dr. Fivizzani met with graduate and undergraduate students before his lecture for a roundtable discussion concerning the large variety of non-traditional careers available to students who earn degrees in chemistry. For additional career-related information see the careers page in the first monthly issue of C&ENews, and visit the ACS website.