||Laboratory safety is an important and often overlooked aspect of scientific research in academic institutions. This point has been highlighted over the past few years by several serious accidents, which have led to permanent injuries, as well as a number of fatalities, in academic laboratories across the country. As a result, OSHA is now paying close attention to academic lab safety, and companies, government labs and academic institutions hiring STEM graduates are requiring higher levels of safety knowledge in their new hires.
Ideally, safety should be integral to the assessment and execution of experimental procedures and research practices. Hence, it is critical to educate undergraduate and graduate students alike on how to assess the hazards of laboratory experiments, how to minimize these hazards, and what to do if something does go wrong. Ultimately, the goal is for everyone to work together to ensure their own safety as well as that of their colleagues.
The aims of this symposium are to engage researchers from academia—especially students, industry and government laboratories in a dialog on the importance of developing and maintaining a high level of safety in research laboratories and to share best practices for accomplishing this goal.
In addition to symposium sessions, we propose to:
1) invite a panel of safety experts from industry, government labs and academia to participate in a moderated discussion on lab safety,
2) present a workshop on the basics of setting up and maintaining an effective safety program,
3) showcase student safety videos and announce student safety video contest winners.