Institutional Laboratory Safety Committee Announced

The committee will focus on improving the safety culture in a variety of research facilities.

Texas Tech University

A new faculty-led Institutional Laboratory Safety Committee has been formed by Taylor Eighmy, vice president for research at Texas Tech University.

The committee will focus on improving the safety culture in research facilities such as laboratories, art studios and field research sites.

“The formation of this committee is part of the university’s ongoing efforts to improve our safety climate,” said Eighmy. The committee will look at both human health protection and hazardous risk reduction in these facilities. We are patterning this committee on other faculty-led ‘regulatory’ committees like the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee for animal protection and the Radiation Safety Committee for regulated radioisotopes use. These committees are exemplary, highly functional and have enabled the required cultural adoption to occur. We also are asking the faculty-led Institutional Biosafety Committee to expand its focus on safety culture. We look forward to the work of the Institutional Laboratory Safety Committee.”

The 16-person committee, in part, will establish policies and procedures based on current best practice by a number of national professional groups. It also is charged with providing administrative advice regarding laboratory safety and reviewing and implementing the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) case study recommendations following its investigation of a Jan. 7, 2010 accident in a Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry laboratory. The committee also is charged with implementing additional recommendations that President Guy Bailey imposed following the accident. The committee’s full charge is found on Texas Tech’s response to the CSB Investigation Web page at

“The formation of this committee is a step in the right direction toward improving our safety culture,” said Dimitri Pappas, committee chair and associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “When you think about the diverse research going on at Texas Tech, you also have to think about how to conduct that research effectively and safely.”

Committee members are:

  • Melanie Barnes, senior research associate, Department of Geosciences
  • Jamie Cooper, assistant professor, Department of Nutrition, Hospitality and Retail Management
  • Dean Ethridge, research professor, Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute
  • Juan Granados, associate professor, School of Art
  • Louisa Hope-Weeks, associate academic dean, Whitacre College of Engineering and associate professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Jonathan Maul, assistant professor, The Institute of Environmental and Human Health
  • Dimitri Pappas, committee chair, associate professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • LaQuetta Purkiss, research associate, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Eric Quintela, environmental investigator for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality from Lubbock
  • Iris Rivero, associate professor, Department of Industrial Engineering
  • Leslie Thompson, chair, Department of Animal and Food Sciences
  • Brandon Weeks, associate professor, Department of Chemical Engineering
  • Gene Wilde, professor, Department of Biological Sciences
  • Alice Young, associate vice president for research, Research Integrity
  • Randy Nix, director, Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)
  • Jared Martin, committee executive secretary, laboratory safety manager, EHS