NIGMS is committed to supporting safety in the nation’s biomedical research and training environments. Last April, we shared with you resources for enhancing lab safety in biomedical research training environments. Now, in a perspective in the current issue of Molecular Biology of the Cell (MBoC), we focus on strategies for improving laboratory safety. Some of these strategies are also applicable to other forms of safety including the prevention of harassment, intimidation, and discrimination. We frame the problem of laboratory safety using a number of recent examples of tragic accidents, highlight some of the lessons that have been learned from these and other events, discuss what NIGMS is doing to address problems related to laboratory safety, and outline steps that institutions can take to improve their safety cultures.
Lab safety is also the focus of an upcoming webinar for the training community, Developing a Culture of Safety in Biomedical Research Training, on Thursday, November 5, 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET. Our featured speakers are Craig Merlic and Jyllian Kemsley. Craig is a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and is the executive director of the University of California Center for Laboratory Safety. The center was established in March 2011 in the wake of a fatal lab accident at UCLA in 2008. Jyllian is executive editor, policy and content partnerships, at the American Chemical Society’s flagship publication, Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), and the manager of C&EN’s Safety Zone blog.
We encourage you to read the MBoC article and to join us for our webinar on this critically important topic. Please share this opportunity with others in your institution and network who may be interested.