Texas Tech University

Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry Recognized as Presidential Safety Award Recipient

September 27, 2021

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry began its quest for improved research safety following a serious accident in the department in 2010. The department has maintained a deparment level safety committee since 2010, assisted with revision of the unviersity's Chemical Hygiene Plan, and was one of the first departments on campus to implement Lab Safety Captains.

Chemistry also maintains a full-time staff position to serve as the Departmental Safety Officer. This individual was able to complete over 800 safety inspections over 2018, 2019, and 2020 ultimately leading to improved safety compliance on EHS safety surveys. The department prioritizes renovations in research ad teaching labs to ensure the safest environments for students.

Photos from the Event

Funding Impact

The majority of the money, approximately $21,000, was used to purchase safety equipment for research-active faculty labs including explosion-proof refrigerators, blast shields, funnels for waste collection and other safety items.

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry also arranged a two-day campus visit for Mary Beth Mulcahy, the Editor-In-Chief of ACS Chemical Health and Safety. Mary Beth served as the primary investigator from the Chemical Safety Board during the 2010 investigation. Mary Beth provided two different seminars for the campus and met with campus safety leaders during her visit.

Chemistry application team

Left to right: John Gorden, Bill Poirer, Dominick Casadonte, Dimitri Pappas, Anne Gorden, and Jerry Franco pose with Raider Red

Dominick Casadonte, Minnie Stevens Piper Professor, and one of the faculty who helped write the department's application, has this to say about the Safety Award program. "This is a very impactful program in that it not only causes the applying departments to think about how they practice safety, but the money allows them to actually improve their infrastructure."