Web Date: May 20, 2013
Dow Unveils Lab Safety Website
Dow Chemical has launched a laboratory safety website that includes a comprehensive set of training videos and additional resources, the company announced on May 19.
Publicly accessible at http://safety.dow.com, the website incorporates 30 professionally produced videos. Several more are still in production. Pankaj Gupta, a research and development leader in Dow’s oil, gas, and mining business, unveiled the site at the Council for Chemical Research annual meeting being held this week in Arlington, Va.
“It appears to have a lot of very good resources, and we will look at them very carefully,” says Peter Ashbrook, director of the division of research safety at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. “I think Dow should be commended for putting this material out for public consumption.”
The videos are grouped into four categories: Orientation & Training, which includes topics such as personal protective equipment selection and fire extinguisher use; Specialized Topics, which includes handling gas cylinders and pyrophoric reagents; Plan, Evaluate & Execute, which includes lab hazard assessment and safety data sheet interpretation; and Sustainable Safety Culture, which includes mentoring and near-miss reporting.
Additional resources available on the site include protective equipment guidelines and Dow’s lab hazard risk assessment grid.
The website, called Dow Lab Safety Academy, grew out of Dow’s pilot safety program with the University of Minnesota, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of California, Santa Barbara (C&EN, Oct. 29, 2012, page 21), Gupta says. The video topics are intended to be particularly interesting and useful for graduate students but will also likely have broader appeal. Dow settled on the list through internal discussion with new employees and people involved in the university program, as well as feedback from the partner schools, Gupta says.
Dow has been working on the website for nine months, Gupta says. He declined to specify Dow’s budget to develop the project. Although the company has spent a significant amount of money on the pilot university program and the new website, the largest expense was the time and effort of the Dow employees who contributed to the initiatives, Gupta says.
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