Infoscience

Journal article

¨How About Safety and Risk Management in Research and Education?"

Research and teaching have an array of unique hazards which reflect both the variety and the continuous evolution of their operations. These hazards include chemical, physical, biological or technical facets. For example there is an increasing awareness of reactive chemistry hazards. While controlling these hazards is frequently accomplished through engineering approaches such as ventilation and procedures, the long history of repeated incidents suggests that a more formal approach to hazard recognition and management is required. Academia is composed of many different actors: scientific staff, researchers, teachers, technicians, students, apprentices, administrative staff, short term visitors, external stakeholders, etc. Those persons have different skills, education and knowledge. Hence a global safety management should address the different requirements needed by the diverse population. In this paper, we will try to answer the question raised in the title by presenting a safety management program called MICE developed by a multidisciplinary team of safety specialists being for some of them chemical engineer, chemist, biochemist, biologist, or physicist. They all belong to the Occupational Safety and Health service of the Faculty of Basic Sciences (SB-SST) at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland. This faculty is composed of over 1600 researchers and 1000 students working in more than 850 research laboratories. Activities are spread among chemistry, chemical engineering, biology, physics, biochemistry, biophysics and mathematics. This illustrates how diverse activities are and that multidisciplinary competences are needed to tackle properly the different problematic.

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