TTU Self-Imposed Recommendations
As a result of the accident Texas Tech President Guy Bailey is imposing a series of recommendations to compliment those being suggested by the CSB. These are as follows:
- Adapt elements of physical risk into our chemical hygiene plan.
- Require Texas Tech University (TTU) to become an exemplary institution around the culture of safety.
- Require the University to report annually to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board about progress made toward improving the culture of laboratory safety; the parameters will need definition.
- Establish a TTU Faculty Chemical Safety Committee to help firmly establish the culture of laboratory safety.
- Acquire an online chemical inventory system.
- Require the Provost and Vice President for Research to make laboratory safety an element of annual evaluations (e.g., college, department, faculty).
- Others to be determined.
While our current plan is focused on reducing human health risk from exposure to chemicals, it does not yet adequately address physical risks to human health (e.g., explosion, fire, electric shock).
We wish for others to learn from our mistakes and the programs, policies and procedures that we have implemented since the accident. We think that can be done under our focus on responsible conduct of research. This focus can be further tied to our regional accreditation quality enhancement program around ethics.
We feel that we should spend, at least, the next few years and perhaps as many as five years working toward further improving our culture and compliance. We feel it is important to be held accountable at the highest levels in the institution for our improved performance and should be obligated to inform the U.S. Chemical Safety Board annually as to our progress. The identification of actual parameters to report will likely include information on accidents, training, response to inspection surveys, adherence to important protocols like appropriate use of personal protective equipment, and adoption of practices as measures by annual reporting at various levels (faculty, chair, dean, college and institution). These parameters will need to be refined in concert with deliberative bodies, including the newly established Faculty Chemical Safety Committee (see 4).
We are well served by faculty-led regulatory committees that govern our research involving animal subjects, human subjects, biological hazards or radiation. A similar model may prove an effective means of engaging faculty in an advisory role to senior leadership and the research and teaching community about best practices in laboratory safety, proactive hazard analysis, compliance reporting, usefulness of laboratory surveys and investigator accountability for laboratory procedures. We would like to implement such a committee here at TTU.
We would be well served by having a modern, facile approach to inventorying all chemicals on campus. Such a system should be beneficial to researchers, environmental health and safety, and first responders.
We believe that the annual review process may be an excellent way to compile useful information about the change in culture and in the degree of compliance. This can be done at various levels. We would look to the Chemical Safety Committee and other deliberative bodies and experts to serve in an advisory role as this recommendation is further defined. As a first step, pages have been added in Digital Measures to capture faculty activities in responsible conduct of research and safety for 2011 Faculty Annual Reports.
We expect that as the Chemical Safety Committee examines the U.S. Chemical Safety Board report, other recommendations may come forward for consideration.