The JST began from a partnership focused on safety between Dow Chemical Company and the Departments of CHEM and CEMS at the University of Minnesota in April 2012. Through this partnership, the JST is able to learn and adapt the best practices from industry in order to improve the culture of safety in academia.
The mission of the JST is to increase safety awareness and improve the safety culture in the Departments of Chemistry (CHEM) and Chemical Engineering & Materials Sciences (CEMS) at the University of Minnesota. Partnering with The Dow Chemical Company in the past and with The Valspar Corporation more recently for examples, advice, and resources, the JST will work to develop a mindful and integrated safety culture in University of Minnesota laboratories. The JST consist of all Laboratory Safety Officers (LSOs) and a variety of methods will be used to promote lasting changes in the CHEM and CEMS departments. The JST has identified four areas that are essential to improving safety culture which include: Compliance, Awareness, Resources, and Education (CARE).
An improved culture of safety at the University of Minnesota would include:
- Compliance of minimum PPE requirements in all labs
- Improved housekeeping of labs – no clutter, no unknown waste
- Increased communication of safety incidents and accidents
- Fully evaluated, up-to-date, and annually revised laboratory safe operating procedures
- Zero accidents and incidents
The JST has developed and integrated a variety of methods to improve the safety culture at the University of Minnesota including:
- Implementing Safety Moments during departmental seminars and group meetings
- Creating a standardized sign on laboratory doors which provides contact information, minimal PPE requirements, and hazards contained in that lab
- Hold biannual student-led lab walkthroughs to expose LSOs to different laboratories and observe general safety concerns and practices
- Organize designated cleanup weeks to help remove clutter and unknown chemicals in laboratories
- Organize safety workshops to provide frequent and relevant training
- Make large safety posters in high traffic areas of the CHEM and CEMS building
- Created the JST website to provide resources and links for researchers