UCSB and the Dow Chemical Company have launched a pilot program to improve lab safety practices in the participating departments of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering and Materials, as well as the Materials Research Laboratory. The joint venture is similar to other pilot partnerships Dow has at the University of Minnesota and Pennsylvania State University. It provides the opportunity not only to create a safe environment for research, but also to prepare students for careers in industry by instilling work practices and safety awareness levels consistent with those found in the private sector.
The main focus of the program is centered around enhancing laboratory safety culture by establishing an interdepartmental team of graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and faculty members from participating departments who will act as a focus group to develop departmental safety programs that embrace high standards for both laboratory safety and cutting edge research.
As part of phase 1 of the program Dow hosted the UCSB team at its Midland, Michigan site in August 2012, for a series of seminars and tours of the facilities to share Dow’s industry-leading safety practices and see them firsthand. Together the working group has established a baseline on safety culture and behavior at UCSB, and developed a collaborative program to address critical needs.
The program has now entered phase 2 and is bringing a renewed culture of safety awareness to UCSB. The findings and results from all the pilot programs are being brought together to share with other academic institutions through the launch of the Dow Safety Academy.