ACS Chemical Health & Safety
lab safety underreporting PPE use accident involvement lab accidents
Accidents in chemistry and biochemistry laboratories are a regular occurrence and have been associated with injuries, property damage, and deaths. However, despite a high prevalence rate of accident involvement reported in previous investigations of academic lab personnel (approximately 30%), little is known about the context in which academic lab accidents occur. Previous findings also suggest a high degree of accident underreporting (25–40%), but again, little is known about this phenomenon. Pilot data was gathered from a convenience sample of 104 students and postdoctoral fellows in chemistry-related fields through an online survey. Results showed a high level of accident involvement (56.7%); of that number, most of those (65.9%) had been involved in multiple accidents. Most accidents involved only personal injuries and happened on a weekday afternoon with other lab members present. The majority of participants reported wearing multiple types of PPE at the time; however, adherence rates for any one type of equipment (e.g., goggles, gloves, coat) was less than 50%. Most (69.6%) reported their accidents to multiple individuals and were at least somewhat or very satisfied (81.2%) with their decision to report. Participants who chose not to report their accidents reported barriers such as beliefs that the accident was not severe, concerns about judgment, self-blame, and not knowing they had to report the accident or how. Implications for safety training and reporting practices are considered.
Ménard, Dana and Trant, John F.. (2021). Accident experiences and reporting practices in Canadian chemistry and biochemistry labs: A pilot investigation. ACS Chemical Health & Safety, 29 (1), 102-109.
Available for download on Wednesday, April 05, 2023