UCLA Professor Patrick Harran Charged in Sheri Sangji’s Death

December 28th, 2011

In a news story that is very likely to have serious repercussions for those who work in academic labs, Los Angeles County charged UCLA’s Patrick Harran and the school’s regents with multiple counts of felony crimes stemming from the death of Sheri Sangji in an accident involving t-butyl lithium in 2008. A warrant has been issued for Harran’s arrest, and if convicted, he faces up to four and a half years in prison.

For those of you not familiar with the accident, you can find comprehensive coverage of it in C&EN from Jyllian Kemsley here and in the links on the right sidebar of that page. The accident had already influenced standard operating procedures at Caltech, where the use of lab coats in chemistry labs was emphasized as mandatory in the wake of Sangji’s death. She was not wearing a coat or alternative PPE garment when the accident occurred. Now that her professor must answer to felony charges of “failing to correct unsafe work conditions in a timely manner, to require clothing appropriate for the work being done and to provide proper chemical safety training,” you’d better believe that the faculties of other schools are going to take notice. While Harran will almost certainly never spend 4.5 years behind bars, the fact that it is even a possibility is going to have everyone scrambling in CYA mode.

UCLA responded that it was baffled by yesterday’s accusations, since a California/OSHA investigation found no willful safety violations on the part of the school. By my calculation, the severity of the charges is almost certainly a tactic by the County to scare UCLA and Harran into a plea bargain/settlement. That said, one wonders if this is the shot in the arm that finally forces academia to take safety seriously. One also wonders what sort of chilling effect this will have on the freedom that grad students and postdocs are typically given to decide how they conduct experiments in the lab. I certainly don’t think that it is a bad idea for professors to become more involved in the operational aspects of their research, but one wonders how many of them will overcompensate and stifle or frustrate workers in their laboratories. One might also wonder if professors that are (typically) decades removed from bench work will be useful in the capacity of safety officers.

Follow more discussion on Twitter: #SheriSangji via @Chemjobber

61 Responses to “UCLA Professor Patrick Harran Charged in Sheri Sangji’s Death”

  1. John Spevacek Says:

    Your last sentence is the most telling.

    I seriously doubt that anything will be stifled, and any frustration will be good training for industry – remember, most of them will end up there!

  2. Macdrifter Says:

    […] Frightening story from ChemBark.com […]

  3. Skeptical Says:

    “you’d better believe that the faculties of other schools are going to take notice”
    “That said, one wonders if this is the shot in the arm that finally forces academia to take safety seriously. ”

    No and no. All this scream for reform and scrambling to upgrade safety protocols is unique to the California university system. I’ve been to multiple places since the accident and not one of them has implemented any of the changes that are being enforced in CA. I even sat through a safety training where they pointed to the UCLA incident as a reminder to be cautious, then proceeded to issue us their standard 60/40 polyester/cotton lab coats.

  4. Speaking Frankly Says:

    A slippery slope for the DA to go down. I agree academic labs should become much safer places…but to criminally charge an advisor is a significant step that sets a troubling precedent. I will be very interested in how this plays out.

  5. Felony Charges for UCLA and Professor Harran « Chemical Space Says:

    […] obviously is a huge story in the chemistry blogosphere, with ChemBark, ChemJobber, the Chemistry Blog and of course In The Pipeline posting on the subject today. There […]

  6. Curious Wavefunction Says:

    That said, one wonders if this is the shot in the arm that finally forces academia to take safety seriously.

    I don’t want to argue that all is safe in our academic labs, but statistically speaking, are these accidents statistically significant to call for an indictment of academic lab safety? Compared to the number of students working in labs over the years and the number of accidents that did not happen, is the current climate of safety a real cause for concern? Just curious. For some reason these debates remind me of the very rare accidents in the nuclear industry. The occasional Chernobyl and Fukushima should not detract from the otherwise admirable safety record in the industry and the fact that thousands of nuclear reactors have been steadily humming along without major incidents for fifty years. As usual the risk needs to be gauged by the benefits.

    As for the charges, I feel pretty sure Harran or UCLA will not be indicted. But a healthy lab safety culture needs these kinds of vigorous debates and calls to vigilance (something about Jefferson’s derived quote about the price of democracy being eternal vigilance comes to mind), so if nothing else, these charges will lead to a careful review of existing practices and a greater awareness on the part of professors.

  7. cookingwithsolvents Says:

    Sure, ton’s of students work in academic labs without incident. HOWEVER, there are the greenest of green people in these settings so it IS up to the boss to make sure everyone is learning correct techniques. There is a lot of stupid crap that is done in academic labs out of sheer ignorance and inexperience. Fortunately most procedures do not employ pyrophorics. I wasn’t at this incident, however every fellow organometallic chemist I’ve spoken to agrees that the published accounts describe a scenario where the victim was not employing sound techniques. The whole thing is SUCH a shame. :(

    I take my role as a mentor extremely seriously. I’m ALWAYS on my students about safety and frankly terrified of someone being injured.

  8. Chemjobber Says:

    I take my role as a mentor extremely seriously. I’m ALWAYS on my students about safety and frankly terrified of someone being injured.

    Good on you, CWS. May there be more like you, and soon.

  9. Gordon Says:

    The proximate cause of the lab fire was that the student who died was wearing clothing unsuitable for labwork. This wouldn’t happen in my lab, and isn’t because anyone who showed up without cotton labcoat and with a fluffy sweater made from artificial fiber would be sent home straight away.

    That said, the lab head is responsible for lab culture – this emphatically includes safety – and the district attorney is justified in filing charges. In my opinion, Professor Harran is guilty, and I hope the court agrees.

    What is going to happen is that safety administrators all over the country are going to get all the wrong messages. It starts with the official statement from UCLA, which says that “UCLA has dramatically increased the number of laboratory inspections and established even more rigorous safety standards”. This isn’t how you change culture, you have to set examples for how to act properly.

    Another thing: the unpleasant job of safety monitor is often foisted on junior faculty members, who are politically in no position to tell established members of the department what to do and if the situation demands it, issue official warnings or shut a lab down.

  10. Curious Wavefunction Says:

    So while we are on the topic of lab coats, I am wondering if it would be possible to have an automated system that denies hood access to a student who was not wearing a lab coat (or safety glasses or any other kind of safety equipment). It could be as simple as wearing a coat with a barcode and having a laser on the hood that unlocks the hood only when it can scan the barcode. Otherwise the hood stays locked (I am aware that in case of emergencies we would need a system to override this protocol, but we could work those details in).

  11. mattheww Says:

    I’ve been heartened to notice how few laments there have been about dangerous precedents being set and the like, probably because the facts in this specific case are so egregious. The lab was cited for multiple serious safety violations and given a deadline by which to remedy the situation which they completely blew off, directly resulting in the death of this technician. Whatever effect the prosecution has on lab culture — and the most likely ones are all for the good — it’s hard to argue it has no merit.

  12. UC, Patrick Harran face criminal charges in death of Sheri Sangji | The Safety Zone Says:

    […] @ChemBark – UCLA professor Patrick Harran charged in Sheri Sangji’s death […]

  13. IanR Says:

    I wonder about experimental design a bit. It’s hard to say from the C&EN report, but 150 mL of 1.7 M tert-butyllithium is a huge scale by many modern standards unless absolutely necessary. Again, it depends on the project, but using 2 mL of n-butyllithium was about the largest I used when I was a graduate student.

  14. JLC Says:

    Gordon: Another thing: the unpleasant job of safety monitor is often foisted on junior faculty members, who are politically in no position to tell established members of the department what to do and if the situation demands it, issue official warnings or shut a lab down.

    This is an excellent point. Likewise, the situation of a junior graduate student/undergrad/lab tech not being in a position to call out an older student on proper lab technique.

  15. andre Says:

    IanR: It’s not just about scale, as a large scale may be desirable for a given reaction. When using this much of an organolithium reagent, a syringe is not the proper way of transferring. Ideally, a glovebox should be used. If the lab doesn’t have a glovebox for this purpose, cannula transfer or similar Schlenk techniques should be used. These are much safer than using a syringe, especially a syringe that is too small for the given procedure.

  16. Gordon Says:

    Since workplace safety is discussed right now – what’s with that incident at Texas Tech, where that dumbass kid cooked up ten grams of explosive and promptly injured himself badly?

    Why has the supervisor of that idiot with questionable working habits not been fired, let alone indicted? It’s understandable that departments don’t like to turn the heat up on those who pull in valuable grant money, however that attitude inevitably causes the breakdown of all social controls on behavior.

    Scientists like to point fingers at out-of-control athletes, but Texas Tech proves that they are no better that the criminal football players everyone knows so well.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    @Gordon – I used to think science had a problem with its culture of silence and lack of accountability for things like this, until the Penn State scandal happened. Now, I think big universities in general have a problem!

  18. Chemist faces criminal charges after researcher’s death :SentientCouchPotato Says:

    […] […]

  19. wolfie Says:

    I mean, this is America. Plus attracts minus, we know. But how about minus rejecting minus ? Does it occur in your official world view ?

  20. Chemist faces criminal charges after researcher’s death | California Lawyers For The Arts Says:

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  21. Skeptical Says:

    Gordon, I would classify TTU and UCLA differently.

    What happened at UCLA is symptomatic of most university labs. The safety violations that Harran was cited for apply to nearly every academic organic chemistry lab I’ve ever seen. What happened to Sheri, while awful, could have happened in lots of labs. It’s easy to place blame on her in hindsight, but I can tell you that in my entire tenure as a graduate student I almost never wore a lab coat and neither did anyone else. I constantly badgered my undergrads to ask me questions if they ever felt unsure about something, and they were still nervous to ask me stuff because they thought they were being annoying. Many of the other undergrads felt the same way. In this regard, I consider the incident to be indicative of institutional problems.

    On the other hand, TTU I consider to be an individual problem. The person involved in that was a 5th year graduate student. You simply cannot hold that person to the same standard as a BS level scientist. They can and should be held to a higher standard. By all reasonable accounts, that is someone who should be at the pinnacle of their training; the one you can count on to set an example for others. Instead, he violated the professor’s instructions not to make more than 100 mg because he was tired of having to constantly make and re-make it (ie; he was LAZY). Without thinking of the possible reasons for that restriction, he increased the scale. Not by double, or even triple, but by MULTIPLE ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE. And because it looked “lumpy”, he decided to grind it in a mortar and pestle after he had taken his goggles OFF, which he assumed would be safe because it was suspended in hexane. Did I mention that he also didn’t keep a detailed lab notebook? Yes, if the PI had been more involved she probably would have sniffed this out and avoided the incident. But how many of those behaviors sound typical of a 5th year graduate student? Most of the ones I knew were tremendous resources of knowledge and experience. I sincerely hope we don’t need to resort to a system where 5th year grad students need to be micromanaged. This wasn’t an institutional failure, it was a personal one.

  22. Concerned_Chemist Says:

    One aspect of this that hasn’t been talked about at all is what about the graduate students in the professors lab? Worst case scenario, if Patrick Harran goes to prison, what will happen to them during all of this? And even if that doesn’t happen, I can’t imagine they will be unaffected. Will the lab continue normal operations or will they be suspended? I assume that the school administration won’t penalize Harran or his lab in anyway, as this might be considered some sort of admission of guilt?

  23. Chemjobber Says:

    Concerned: That is a darn good hypothetical.

    Considering that there are typically contingencies when profs (God forbid) die, I assume that similar routes (transfer to other labs, the chair/department takes care of them specially, letters, etc.) will be used.

  24. Paul Says:

    If Harran is convicted of what essentially amounts to negligence in the oversight of operations in his laboratory, I don’t see how UCLA could continue to employ him in the capacity of a lab manager/PI. My guess is that convictions would result in some sort of “cleaning house” where someone (either old or new) in the administration shows Harran the door.

    My guess is that the new and relatively new students in Harran’s lab would transfer to someone else and start fresh, while older students might be able to complete their theses in a similar lab. Didn’t Schreiber get to finish his thesis with Kishi after Woodward died? Also, if you were a G1, would you join Harran’s lab while these charges are unsettled? Conviction or no conviction, Harran is going to endure some punishment in this case.

  25. Paul Says:

    It’s also interesting to note that Harran has not surrendered yet.

  26. Chemjobber Says:

    Doesn’t the quarter start tomorrow at UCLA?

  27. Gordon Says:


    The root cause for the incidents at UCLA and Texas Tech were the same – people working in an inappropiate manner, without anyone calling them out. This is cultural, and as I said before, it’s up to the supervisor to set the tone.

    I seem to remember that there had been complaints about the working habits of the student at TTU, and no measures were taken.

  28. Concerned_Chemist Says:


    Yes, I believe classes start tomorrow and administrative services have started up again today…

  29. Chemjobber Says:

    Harran in court today: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/01/fatal-ucla-chemical-fire.html

  30. Paul Says:

    Hmmm…this info is not yet up on the LA County Sheriff site. The wording in that story is interesting. My assumption is that he was technically arrested, but the story says the warrant was withdrawn. I guess he also didn’t have to post the $20k bail?

  31. Chemjobber Says:

    If he was released ROR, guess not.

  32. industrialkemist Says:

    This whole issue had me thinking today about the lack of safety training throughout a chemist’s education. I remember doing reactions in college with fuming sulfuric acid, nitric acid, thionyl chloride… We had goggles, but no gloves, no lab coat. In grad school, no one ever said, “You’ll need three lab coats and this is how to order them.” Eye glasses constituted appropriate safety glasses. Gloves were available and we threw them in the trash can when we were done with them (after we’d worn them to the NMR lab and touched three sets of door knobs to get there). I think safety was actually SCORNED where I went to grad school… Once there was a pentane fire and our advisor was pissed that someone pulled a fire alarm. What’s in the flasks was all that mattered. The whole scene needs an overhaul.

  33. Paul Says:

    This letter from Sheri’s family to the LA District Attorney is heavy stuff.

    via The Pump Handle via Jyllian Kemsley/The Safety Zone

  34. J Says:

    Classes at UCLA don’t start until Monday Jan. 9th.

  35. Curious Wavefunction Says:

    If Harran is convicted of what essentially amounts to negligence in the oversight of operations in his laboratory, I don’t see how UCLA could continue to employ him in the capacity of a lab manager/PI.

    True, but what should they do then with the other PIs’ whose labs are also found wanting?

  36. Chemjobber Says:

    “3 strikes, and you’re out” would be a policy that might seem to follow logically. (Of course, 1) that’s sort of silly and 2) it will never happen. Problem solved!)

  37. Make Safety Training a Part of Group Meetings | ChemBark Says:

    […] ignorance of their flammability. As with Sheri Sangji’s death, the news of the draconian charges leveled against Patrick Harran represents another opportunity for we, as chemists, to reassess our values and how we conduct […]

  38. efogel Says:

    Look at Harran’s safety record at his previous university. See a pattern?

  39. David Says:

    I disagree with most of these comments. I have handled 8L of t-butyllithium on several occasions without incident. No one “trained” me to do this; I have a PhD and two postdocs, and with this level of education I am able to read the instruction sheet that accompany the chemical and follow it closely. Her dying words to the ER people were “I pulled out the syringe too fast” or something to that effect. What safety program would have a safety instructor with a stopwatch watching her pull the plunger out of the syringe at the “correct” speed? I sincerely believe this female was incompetent and should not have been in a lab. She is the ultimate example of grade inflation; people receiving advanced degrees without any finger skills other than typing commands into a computer.
    As for safety programs, they are generally nowdays by control freaks who invariably were fired or removed from a more significant position. (Similarly, I am told that building inspectors are often failed contractors.) Safety people do not know chemistry well enough to say what is safe and what isn’t, and spend their time with checklists that do not axiomatically promote safety.

  40. Paul Says:

    @David: I imagine the hazards of using *8L* of tBuLi have as much to do with reactor design and heat transfer as they do with handling pyrophoric materials. I’m not sure these subjects can be covered properly with an instruction sheet.

    I don’t think one can argue against the idea that Sangji was incompetent. The point is that she required more training for what she was doing, and ultimately, this responsibility is that of the PI. The implication that one should not be granted a B.S. in chemistry unless she knows how to transfer tBuLi is silly. University labs are always going to be a “learning environment” full of people who don’t know how to do things (yet).

  41. David Says:

    Disagree completely. 8L tBuLi used glass apparatus, steel transfer needle. No special reactor design and heat transfer subsequent to adding tBuLi. The instruction sheet adequately covered details how to get it out of the 8L steel container safely.

    My point is that a PhD degree is granted after years of course work, lab work, and cumulative tests all designed to show that you are capable of dealing with problems in chemistry and handling chemicals, even if the properties are not well known. DR. SANJI should have been able to deduce that a pyrophoric liquid should require a lab coat. DR. SANJI should have known that she lacked the ability to handle the chemicals competently and should have REQUESTED supervision while doing the experient. The first time I handled 8L tBuLi I had a second person stand by with a fire extinguisher; subsequently I didn’t bother because the reaction went smoothly and I had confidence. DR. SANJI when on fire should have walked over to the safety shower and pulled the ring–accounts of the Hindenburg disaster, not to mention Hollywood stuntmen, show that people on fire even with fatal burns can think and act rationally. A PhD degree is supposed to show that YOU are the expert on chemicals.

  42. Chemjobber Says:

    Uh, Sheri Sangji had graduated with her bachelor’s degree in chemistry about 6 months prior to the incident. I regret you may be misinformed.

  43. Bender Says:

    What kind of idiot goes casting aspersions at someone without knowing key details like the fact that she didn’t have a PhD? DR. DAVID, (with your PhD and two postdocs) you claim you’re capable of reading directions and figuring things out, but you still weren’t able to dig out that bit of information, which has been mentioned in nearly every story covering this incident. I sincerely believe you are incompetent and should not share your opinions on blogs. Shove your head back in your ass and leave the conversation to people who actually have the facts.

  44. David Says:

    I rely on C&E News, which in the first article on the accident described her in a postdoctorate position. I have thrown the issue away, but that is my recollection. If she were a first-year grad student, obviously my opinion would be different. My sincere belief, however, is that the last act of male chivalry is to give unqualified women (and minorities) advanced degrees. I once supervised a minority with a PhD who didn’t know how to do anything. I finally asked him exactly what he did for his PhD. It turned out he spent 3 years running conventional NMR spectra on commercially available chemicals.

  45. bad wolf Says:

    Yeah, your first comment had a whiff of sexism/racism and this follow-up definitely clarifies the situation.

  46. Chemjobber Says:

    I rely on C&E News, which in the first article on the accident described her in a postdoctorate position.

    That’s baloney. This is the first article in C&EN about her (http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news/87/i04/8704news1.html); she’s clearly described as just getting her B.S.

  47. efogel Says:

    Has anyone looked at Harran’s past history in Texas? It might change your opinion.

  48. irii Says:

    yep someone alluded to that earlier, but I don’t see what either of you are talking about. please could you provide a reference for me to look at (link).

  49. David Says:

    She was described at the beginning of the article as a 23 year old “research assistant”, which I apparently incorrectly remembered as a postdoctoral assistant. Then further down it says she was working at UCLA while getting ready to enter law school. Serious mistake. A lot of lawyers are highly verbal klutzes–remember Nixon and the erased 18-minute tape gap? Not even clear she was a chemist. The worst accident ever in my lab involved a biology major I hired because he had a positive attitude.

  50. Tim Says:

    While this was a tragic accident the first thought that came to me is, “Did she not know how hazardous this material was?” If not, why? Wasn’t she a chemistry major? Seems to me if you know about the substances you’re working with it is largely up to you to take proper precautions. Still very, very sad.

  51. David Says:

    Yes, exactly. No one seems to want to place any blame on her for the accident. I worked in labs doing synthesis when I was a college sophomore. I recall handling diisobutylaluminum hydride and another, nitro compound that came in a box labelled “high explosive”. I was keenly interested in the hazards so I could handle the materials competently, and felt proud to do so.

  52. Paul Says:

    @David: I have discussed my belief that Sheri Sangji bears a significant amount of responsibility for what happened. That said, she paid dearly for her negligence. Now, what price should be paid by the other parties responsible in this case?

  53. David Says:

    On reflection, I think 100% of the blame falls on the student. When I was younger than her I handled reagents equally or more dangerous. If I screwed up, the idea that I should blame my boss, who spent 95% of his time in his office down the hall doing paperwork, would never have occurred to me.

  54. Gah! Says:

    @David…. The fact that your boss spent 95% of his time in his office is part of, if not most of the problem… As I’m quite sure that Harran does exactly the same thing, you must see that perhaps some of that 5% of his time making sure the staff in his lab were properly trained and safe? Of course some of the blame is on the former researcher, but it is an employers duty to ensure the safety of their staff and to ignore that, and it sounds like this might be the case here, is perhaps criminal.

  55. David Says:

    I think you are insulting me and the people I worked with. We were safe, evidenced by (as far as I can remember) zero accidents during 3 years aside from minor breakage and one minor LAH fire that I put out. Why can’t you people face this reality, that we were competent? We worked with arsenic and selenium compounds, alkyllithiums, hydrogen peroxide, and other chemicals. I even ate lunch in the lab. We all respected the potential dangers, but we weren’t part of the current safety mania sweeping the nation.

  56. Gah! Says:

    @David… It wasn’t my intention to insult you but to point out that there is a systemic problem of how safety is viewed in academics. So if I insulted you, I save my apology. You seem fine with insulting a girl you’ve never met.

    I’m a professional chemist. I did all that fun graduate school stuff and everything… Unfortunately my institution has a slightly worse record on safety than what you experienced… See, when I was in grad school, there was this terrible accident, a fire, and a girl died as a result. It was an absolutely BRUTAL reminder of just how lucky I and my close coworkers were. I never met Sheri, I saw her in the NMR room before, but we never talked… My point is most people were shocked and very distraught over the event. It’s made many of us a bit sensitive when I comes to the seriousness of safety.

    Chemists have a dangerous job… Or more precisely, a job that requires constant diligence and caution due to the potential hazards of the work.

    My point is that I and all of the people that I’ve ever worked with tired our best to be safe. But rarely was I ever told to be safe by my PI until after this accident. Safety was always ASSUMED. My boss never asked me if I know how to canulate. He assumed I did or would ask someone else if I didn’t. It was ASSUMED that I would be safe. It was never checked or enforced. And that’s how accidents happen. We can’t assume people know how not to hurt themselves when its so easy to do in a lab. I’ll never ever admit to being too good or experienced to not know how dangerous my job is…

    I’ll gladly deal with all of this “safety mania” if it helps save even one life.

  57. David Says:

    When I lived in California my wife and I had an expression “California incompetence” to describe constant mistakes by people we encountered. I am saddened by any death in a lab but regard her as a candidate for the Darwin award. She should have recognized she was over her head. Locally I have seen women hustled into majoring in chemistry (by a woman dept head) and wonder whether the decreasing abilities of students in general is the problem. I have had two (male) employees who did not know how to saw wood with a hand saw. Another (male) quit before I could fire him after he smashed a rotary evaporator. Recall a female environmental professor(!) who did herself in by exposure to dimethylmercury a few years ago. When I was in college only smart people majored in chemistry. Doing reactions safely was an implicit part of your pride of your profession. I doubt that an obsession with safety is going to improve matters.

  58. Gah! Says:

    @David… I’m glad I don’t have to talk to youin real life, and that the internet is between us. You can think what you want, I’m fairly sure I would disagree very strongly with your opinions; I disagree strongly with what you are saying now. But I’ve no interest in your opinions anymore. You deserve no respect after insulting the entirety of the state of California, women in general, chemistry students in general and Sheri and Prof. Wetterhahn specifically (the “female environmental professor” who’s tragic death taught us that the PPE she was using, latex gloves, which were thought sufficient at the time, were inadequate)…

  59. David Says:

    I regard an obsession with safety, which most of you are demonstrating, as an indicator of incompetence. My favorite example is when I sold my parachute to another skydiver–years back. On her first jump with it the parachute didn’t open, but she landed safely under the reserve. It turned out that the elastic bands that pop the parachute cover open had been hooked into a second set of eyelets on the flap that covered the rip cord that I used for field packing, so the parachute couldn’t open. I didn’t understand how this could happen, because a safety ritual everyone religiously practiced was to examine each other’s parachute before getting on the airplane–looking for kinked rip cord, etc. It would not have been possible to open the flap.
    But when I learned the details, all became clear. On that particular jump, her parachute had been examined by the skydiving club’s safety officer.

  60. adak. .iiser pune Says:

    As i m also a research student i knw how some chemicals and so worthfull but more thn it dangerous too …….any hw one superwiser cant guide you all the time and if Shangji was nt confident she shd nt do tht by her own …

  61. Bonnie Blue Says:

    Well David, since you don’t have an obsession with lab safety, you do have a clear obsession with women.
    The worst safety breach I’ve seen was done by a guy and it’s typically guys like you who are the most careless in the lab – the narcisstic type. Anything happens, and they never learn, they just launch a lot of rationalizing to cover their asses, just like you’re doing at the moment.
    Your employees aren’t some guinea pigs you throw into the lab, and then who survives is competent.
    People come from a variety of backgrounds, different school programs, and it’s your responsibility to oversee them and instill the safety culture. Perhaps they have to unlearn bad habits from a former lab?
    Most accidents happen not with the greenest ones, but with the people who think that they already know.
    And it’s the fast pace of current work that causes the deterioration of lab culture. You can’t work over 60 hours per week and be in top shape, any sportsperson will tell you that. People aren’t machines; they need to have quality sleep, to eat and have some socializing. Even machines eventually break under pressure.

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