Who is responsible when an assistant is killed in a University lab accident?

laboratoryby RDECOM

Criminal Charges Sustained Against Chemistry Professor for Death of Assistant in Lab Accident Requires New Focus on Lab Safety Laws
[Via HealthLawProf Blog]

Many of us who teach and write in the area of “research law” area are far more familiar with the regulations protecting human subjects of research than the more general safety of those who conduct research. We, and our students,…


This could have a real impact on research if the Principal Investigator is viewed as the employer than the University and could be indicted for n accident.

I have seen some really nasty accidents in labs –  hot phenol spills, fluorine gas release, explosions. We had to call in the bomb squad to remove a kilogram of picric acid which had gone to dryness. If it had fallen off the shelf it would have taken out the wall and anyone nearby.

Labs are dangerous places. If the professor is held responsible, then things would change a lot. Four and a hlaf years in prison could result in a big change in how professors treat and train lab personnel.

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One Response to “Who is responsible when an assistant is killed in a University lab accident?”

  1. mj Says:

    Texas Tech ran a very sloppy lab. Grad students were taking chemicals home with them to continue experiments on their own. And not observing safety precautions IN the lab. Things are different NOW!

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