June 27, 2012
The status of the investigation into the 2010 incident at the Texas Tech University Chemistry Building that injured a graduate student has been changed to “Open-Acceptable Response” by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB).
The status change came in a letter from the CSB. In the letter, Rafael Moure-Eraso, chairperson of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, informs Texas Tech officials that “…the status change reflects the Board’s determination that TTU has planned and initiated actions that appear consistent with the intent of the recommendations. We appreciate that TTU’s newly established Institutional Laboratory Safety Committee is working to both revise the university’s chemical hygiene plan and to develop an incident and near-miss reporting system.
Please continue to keep us abreast of TTU’s efforts to implement the CSB’s recommendations. We look forward to seeing TTU’s revised CHP and incident and near-miss reporting system.”
On Jan. 7, 2010, an accident in a laboratory in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry left a graduate student seriously injured. The student was working with energetic materials in greater quantities than was prudent. He also was working outside of a hood, without a blast shield and without personal protective wear.
The CSB investigated the incident and in October 2011 issued a report with two recommendations:
“The CSB’s change in our status is good news, but we still have a long way to go,” said Taylor Eighmy, senior vice president for research. “The CSB’s investigation is not closed. It remains open, but the CSB is signaling that we are making good progress in meeting their recommendations.”
In addition to the CSB’s recommendations, Texas Tech President Guy Bailey imposed additional recommendations:
“Texas Tech is making good progress on these recommendations,” said Alice Young, associate vice president for research/research integrity. “In the aftermath of the incident, the university made it a stated goal that we become an exemplar in our campus climate and culture around laboratory and studio safety. Our May 2012 report to the CSB outlined multiple initiatives that many groups, including the new Institutional Laboratory Safety Committee, departments, and the Faculty Senate, will continue working on in the coming year.”
The Office of the Vice President for Research has created a website that details the university’s response and ongoing action in the wake of the CSB’s investigation.
The Office of Research and Innovation is tasked with facilitating excellence in research, scholarship and creative activity for Texas Tech students, faculty and staff. The office promotes an academic environment embracing creativity, curiosity, innovation, diversity, ethics and integrity.
Among other programs, the OR&I supports responsible and safe conduct of research, faculty development and recognition, interdisciplinary collaborations, externally sponsored research, partnerships with industry and community stakeholders, international research collaboration and the application of research for the benefit of society. The OR&I promotes a culture of creative expression, discovery, innovation and collaboration with the goal of advancing Texas Tech’s status as an elite national research university.Twitter