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Safety

ACS Considers Adding Safety Criteria To Fellows Nominations

Lab Safety: Move comes after AAAS elects Patrick Harran as one of its fellows

by Jyllian Kemsley
January 4, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 1

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Credit: ACS
Credit: ACS

The American Chemical Society Committee on Grants & Awards is considering adding safety criteria to nominations for ACS Fellows, as well as allowing the society to revoke a national award or fellow designation.

ACS Fellows Criteria

Selection is currently based on excellence and leadership in

◾ Science, the profession, education, and/or management

◾ Volunteer service in the ACS community

At an ACS Board of Directors meeting on Dec. 14, 2015, then-president Diane Grob Schmidt requested that the board review and reinforce ACS’s commitment to safety through its national awards and fellows program, as well as by adding safety to the society’s core values and strengthening references to safety in the Chemical Professional’s Code of Conduct.

“We don’t want to make it harder for people to nominate worthy candidates for awards,” Schmidt says. “But we need to take a more visible and stronger position on safety.”

In 2013, the society started requiring that national award nominators answer the question: “Does the nominee employ and require good safety protocols and practices in his/her laboratory?” ACS publishes C&EN.

The new proposals come after the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) announced on Nov. 16 that University of California, Los Angeles, chemistry professor Patrick G. Harran had been elected a AAAS Fellow. After an outcry over Harran’s safety record, AAAS announced on Dec. 22 that it would not move forward with making Harran a fellow.

“On Dec. 18, the AAAS Council approved the Chemistry Section steering group’s request to conduct a complete reevaluation of Dr. Harran’s nomination after it became apparent that an initial review of nomination materials had not included all relevant information. Members of the nomination reviewing committee recently became aware of a 2008 case involving the death of a technician in the UCLA laboratory of Dr. Harran,” AAAS said in a statement.Technician

Sheharbano (Sheri) Sangji, 23, was fatally burned in a fire in Harran’s lab. UCLA and Harran faced felony charges under the state labor code and are fulfilling separate deferred prosecution agreements. If Harran completes the terms of his agreement, the charges against him will be dropped in 2019.

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Comments
Margaret Phillips (January 4, 2016 11:39 AM)
I am pleased that the Board and the Committee on Grants & Awards considering these enhancements to the ACS commitment to a strong safety culture, and I encourage them to follow through on these ideas.

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