Let's talk about lab safety. Everyone knows it's essential. Yet accidents continue to happen. Why? In part, chemists have seemingly been reluctant to freely share safe standard operating procedures (SOPs) and other safety resources, according to a new editorial in Organometallics.
Alexander Miller of UNC Chapel Hill and Ian Tonks of the University of Minnesota comment that, even though ACS, the National Academies, and others have worked hard to set standards and spread information, creating a culture of lab safety requires a grassroots commitment from chemists to share their experiences in the lab to keep each other safe. The pair encourages more sharing, and have created a new website,The Safety Net, to facilitate those efforts.
The two chemists discuss their efforts to encourage SOP sharing through the website. The Safety Net is also intended to share other safety resources, such as laboratory signage, links to synthetic procedures that address prior safety concerns, and links to collections of physical properties of potentially hazardous chemicals. The overall goal is to create a public forum for dialogue on best safety practices.
"We have come to appreciate that laboratory safety underpins all of the chemistry research, training, and community outreach activities at institutions of higher learning and to recognize that our safety culture grows stronger the more we communicate, bring in new ideas, and embrace innovation," Miller and Tonks write. "We don’t have all of the answers, but we’re happy to talk about safety."