Congrats, Chancellor Block, it worked: Starting on page 4 of the Agreement, in the "Statement of Facts" section:
In response to the events that caused the death of Ms. Sheharbano Sangji, the Regents have implemented a comprehensive training and safety compliance program at UCLA. Among these corrective and remedial measures taken, UCLA’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety (“EH&S”) has produced a safety video setting forth the safe and compliant workplace practices in the handling and transfer of pyrophorics, including tert-Butyllithium. Standard Operating Procedures have been established and implemented for researchers working with hazardous chemical agents; personal protective equipment including fire resistant lab coats is mandatory for researchers working with pyrophorics. The Regents have made a substantial, comprehensive, and good faith effort to bring their laboratory safety practices and procedures into compliance with Title 8 and the California Code of Regulations for employee safety.I don't really have the ability to judge whether or not this is actually an accurate set of statements, not working at UCLA. That said, this has to count as a win for UCLA.
In consideration of the LADA’s dismissal of the criminal action against defendant 1, the Regents knowingly, voluntarily, and with the advice of counsel agree to the following terms:
1. Acceptance of Responsibility for the Statement of Facts. For purposes of this agreement only, the Regents acknowledge and accept responsibility for the conditions under which the laboratory was operated on December 29, 2008 as set forth above.
2. Agreement that neither it nor any of its counsel, representatives, or executive employees who have authority to speak publicly on their behalf, will make any public statement denying responsibility for the conditions under which the laboratory was operated on December 29, 2008.
From UCLA: "Acknowledging UCLA’s dedication to further enhancing lab safety on its campus and beyond, the Los Angeles County District Attorney today dismissed all charges against the University of California Board of Regents – which oversees the 10-campus system – in connection with a December 2008 campus lab accident that took the life of a staff research associate, Sheri Sangji. At the same time, the district attorney is proceeding with unprecedented charges against UCLA organic chemistry Professor Patrick Harran.
While expressing appreciation to the D.A. for recognizing UCLA’s commitment to enhancing lab safety programs, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block was also sharply critical of the decision to proceed with charges against Harran."
"What happened in that laboratory was an accident, not a crime," O'Brien said. "While we all wish this terrible tragedy had not occurred, there is simply no reasonable explanation for this criminal prosecution — and it's been flawed from the start."
3. The Regents agree to establish a “Sheharbano Sangji Scholarship” at the University of California, Berkeley Law (Boalt Hall) for the study of Environmental Law. The scholarship shall be endowed in the amount of $500,000.00.
- The LADA and Cal/OSHA Bureau of Investigations will receive a list of "all laboratory facilities currently in operation"; final list at UCLA within 180 days of the agreement. The rest of the UC campuses have one year to come up with this list.
- Each campus will have its own Chemical Hygiene Plan and Laboratory Safety Manual (LSM) (should have already?) Each lab should have the LSM in a visible spot.
- Within 60 days, every UCLA PI (and every UC PI? (but not within the same deadline?) will have to complete a Laboratory Safety Training program. Training taken after 1/1/2010 counts for this section.
- All PIs (UCLA and UC system) cannot start laboratory operatins unless they've completed the Laboratory Safety Training program.
- All "existing laboratory personnel" (UCLA/UC system) will have to complete Laboratory Safety Training within 60 days of the agreement.
- "SOPs" are coming to the UC system: "UCLA and Regents shall ensure that all laboratory facilities comply with Title 8’s requirements for Standard Operating Procedures (“SOPs”). Additionally, for any chemical listed in the Chemical Classification List (attached hereto as “Exhibit 1”), the following shall apply: SOPs shall be written by laboratory personnel having the most experience and knowledge and who are routinely involved in the experimental process...." See the following post on the blog.
- Pyrophorics: "Researchers (including Principal Investigators) or other laboratory personnel shall not work alone when handling pyrophoric liquid reagents." There's going to have to be a Lab Buddy sticker on every bottle of tBuLi from now on, I'm guessing.
- A monster PPE section: UCLA only.
- PIs are required to do independent lab assessments of PPE requirements, including "Full-length pants, or equivalent, and close-toed shoes must be worn at all times by all individuals that who are occupying the laboratory area. The area of skin between the shoe and ankle should not be exposed.",
- Appropriate protective gloves, flame-resistant laboratory coats, appropriate segregation of lab coats and keeping them inside labs.
- Laundry services (!) for the lab coats, and bar from lab personnel taking lab coats home to be washed. (!)
- ANSI-approved eyewear.
- "Employees shall not bear the cost of any required PPE. Written records shall be maintained by each laboratory verifying the date of issuance and type of PPE issued, or re-issued, to each laboratory personnel."
- No PPE? Get out of the lab (UCLA only):
No person shall be permitted to work in or occupy any laboratory area without first being provided the required Personal Protective Equipment. The Principal Investigator or EH&S personnel, shall remove any person found by the Principal Investigator or EH&S personnel, working in or occupying any laboratory area without the required PPE, until the required PPE is obtained and utilized. The Principal Investigator or EH&S personnel shall complete a written record on a standardized form of any such removal, including the name of the subject removed, the time, date and location of the event, the person(s) making the removal, the specific circumstances surrounding the removal and the remedial action taken. The records shall be maintained by the EH&S Department.This section is huge, in my opinion. The SOP requirement alone is going to take every UC system PI two weeks of the next year to get this done. It's going to take a major, major culture change for PIs to kick students out of lab (and record it!) every time a student is in there without the appropriate PPE. UC EH&S has an enormous task ahead of it.
I'm not sure that I can summarize this agreement, other than to say that, in some parts, it's less than satisfying. In others, the scale-up problems are huge, almost to the point of impracticality. The UC system and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office has come to this Agreement -- now it will be interesting to see them enforce it.