Safety Committee Report, Spring 2018

The Safety Committee continues to meet regularly at the national ACS meetings.   These meetings are open and any CHED member is welcome to attend.  The meeting in New Orleans will be from 4:00-5:30 on Sunday, March 18, in the St. Charles Room of the Hilton Garden Inn CC.  If you have questions, concerns, or ideas about chemical health and safety instruction, please feel free to join us.  Otherwise, you can email Dave Finster (dfinster@wittenbeg.edu) anytime on such matters.

Four members of the Safety Committee recently published a Commentary in our Journal about the new Safety Guidelines for Chemical Demonstrations (DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.7b00802).  The Guidelines are included as Supplementary Material and can otherwise be accessed at the CHED Safety Committee website.

At long last, a new Exams Institute Chemical Health and Safety Exam is being produced to replace the 1997 Exam!    Several Safety Committee members are on this exam committee.  Field testing of the trial exams will be in the 2018-2019 academic year. The current plan is to design this exam for students who have completed the first two years of an undergraduate chemistry program so we hope to have a robust field testing next year and will ask for your help in this process.  The exam should be ready for use in late 2019.

Another ACS project that is being sponsored by the Committee on Chemical Safety, the Division of Chemical Health and Safety, and Corporation Associates is an online Safety Program that will involve eleven modules each of which is expected to take about one hour to complete.  The main target audience is chemistry graduate students.  Several Safety Committee members are writing the embedded quiz items for these modules.

ACS President Peter Dorhout led a “Safety Summit” retreat in Washington DC at the ACS headquarters on Feb 2-4, 2018.   About 30 safety specialists from within and external to the ACS and from industry and academia met to discuss how to best develop a plan to forward the safety agenda in the ACS.  (“Safety” was included as an ACS core value in the 2017 Strategic Plan.)  Part of the retreat discussed educational topics, from K-12 through graduate programs.  A report is forthcoming and will provide guidance on the future direction of safety initiatives in the ACS.  Our particular interest within the Safety Committee will be to help CHED define its role in responding to recommendations about safety instruction prepared in light of Goal 3 of the ACS Strategic Plan – “Support Excellent in Education”.

A goal for the near future is to sponsor more symposia about safety-related issues in CHED at national, regional meetings and the BCCE.   As invitations appear for such symposia, we hope you will consider presenting a paper to continue the conversation about promoting safety in chemical education.

Dave Finster
Chair, Safety Committee

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