Universities are tasked with increasing environmental safety in parallel with facilitating research activities. It is also necessary to produce talented people from universities to the society, who have the knowledge and ethical outlook to practice and promote environmental safety. We aim to construct a comprehensive, effective and concrete education program which offers a systematic, step-by-step process from fundamentals to specialized training. A combinatory educational method, incorporating hands-on exercises,experimental study and passive classroom learning, would be effective in translating theoretical knowledge into applied knowledge.
A nation-wide survey on lab safety education of international graduate students in national universities in Japan was conducted. The results of the over 230 respondents revealed that lab safety instruction varied from place to place and, while the majority of the graduate students felt that they received sufficient instruction, 31% said that what was provided wasn’t enough and 13% said it wasn’t provided at all. Language emerged as a key issue as the results showed that while one fourth reported that they had good Japanese language skills,half of the graduate students said that instruction was provided in Japanese. Many graduate students wrote pleas for more manuals and instruction in English. Write-in comments indicated a gap between the conditions of labs in their own countries and the well-equipped labs in Japan that was not always recognized by the instructor, resulting in insufficient instruction. The results of the survey imply that action needs to be taken to provide a system for better safety instruction/training and to provide it in English for international students doing graduate research in Japan.
Chemicals have been causing most of accidents and incidents in laboratories. The accidents and incidents are owing to (1) misuse of chemicals, (2) lack of understanding of chemicals toxicity and riskiness, (3) inadequate chemicals management, and (4) shortage of information sharing about the accidents and incidents among people in laboratories. In order to practice prevention and suppression of them, we should immediately perform the followings as foundation of education and research.  Appropriate uniform management for confirmation of location and control of total amount of chemicals in campuses  Education and trainings for safety handling of chemicals in laboratories For promotion of the chemicals management and safety education and trainings, mutual cooperation is important among many universities, colleges, and scientific institutions.
Over the past decade, the National University Corporation Ehime University has become more involved in safety education. We created the Ehime Anzen-Eisei Group Leader (EAGLE) program to educate and instill students with a sense of awareness of serious hazards on campus. The EAGLE program has been presented for undergraduate students of Ehime University regardless of arts and sciences as an introduction of safety and health. And, the EAGLE members have presented four-step programs including basic to practical contents to minimize the risk of hazards in daily campus life.
To prepare against any unforeseeable accidents in the laboratory, OIST conducted its first laboratory accident drill in March 2014. In the drill, which was attended by approximately 70 people and local fire department personnel, we practiced how to respond and how to treat injured people in the event that a chemical accident occurred during an experiment. The drill consisted of a lecture and a hands-on exercise: in the lecture, participants learned the rules and procedures of first response in a disaster, and, in the exercise, the volunteers practiced the operation of first response. The drill was concluded with comments from the chief officer of the fire department. Even though universities are aware that they have their own specific accident risks related to experiment activities involving inexperienced students, laboratory accident drills such as that explained in this proceeding have not been widely adopted. We hope our attempt will set a good example for those universities in how to train students and employees effectively.
At Osaka University there are 18 facilities of various sizes that utilize radiation generators and radioisotopes. If a disaster such as a major earthquake were to take place that hit these facilities, it is stipulated in the school bylaws’ manual for handling emergencies that evacuation and emergency communication be carried out. Recently, drills have been done under the assumption that a fire breaks out due to an earthquake in a facility that uses high energy accelerator (K=400MeV). These drills were primarily focused on the evacuation within the facility and the rescue actions done via firefighting in the areas where there is residual radiation.
The purpose of this study is to introduce a developed supporting framework for research activities on environment safety and risks conducted by motivated young people. This study focuses on the next generation of researchers: high school students who are in the latter part of their secondary education, and are at the stage of development in which abilities so vital to conducting independent survey research such as thinking and acting independently are nurtured. In addition, young people must learn to discuss their research topics with colleagues, and to be able to announce their findings before specialists and the public. This framework intends to cultivate human resources for science and technology in Japan.In 2013, six participating schools conducted research and seven schools in 2014. Compared to conventional frameworks, this framework provides flexibility for student activities that leads to difficulties. The essential purpose and valuable experience of this framework are that students find difficulties think how to overcome them, to make adjustments for their activities based on their own action, and judge suitability of their plans before implementing them. This whole process enables students to acquire how to learn, how to undertake to solve real problems, and how to experience the evaluation of research achievement.
To conduct a risk assessment of chemical substances in laboratories appropriately, considering both chemical hazards and how experimenters use chemical substances is important. In this study, we focus on the chemical risk of washing bottles. The direct observation of washing bottle usage in an actual academic laboratory suggested that the washing bottles were used very frequently for both experimental and non-experimental purposes at various places in the laboratory. From the experimental data of spatial and temporal profiles of acetone concentration in a model operation of rinsing using a washing bottle, it was confirmed that the momentary concentration on the bench can reach a much higher level than the administrative control levels of acetone. These results strongly suggest that the local airflow at and around the lab bench is crucial for avoiding chemical exposure and chemical hazards during the rinsing operation.
Laboratory wastes at The University of Tokyo are supposed to be collected and discarded to the university’s Environmental Science Center. However, in 2009, two incidents of inappropriate drainage occurred in the Engineering buildings. In one case, 10 liters of aqua regia was spilled in the fume hood to be discharged into sewers. Aqua regia is a strong acid that can generate hydrogen sulfide in the sewers, thus posing a serious threat to sewer workers. The Bureau of Sewerage, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, requested the university to undertake structural measures to prevent future discharges of acid waste directly into sewers.Considering the cost of installation, three types of preventive equipment—hand-operated valves, electromagnetic valves with foot switches, and drain tanks with hand-operated valves—were installed as structural measures, and compared with regard to utility,convenience, and operational issues. The drain tank is useful in most cases, and a hand-operated valve is adequate where only a small amount of wastewater is discharged. The preventive equipment have been installed in the Engineering buildings because of the risk assessment addressed by the laboratories. The equipment can provide protection only when appropriately used. Through introducing a safety management system (SMS) to all the Engineering laboratories and conducting risk assessments, the risk of a drainage incident has been reduced. Introducing SMS as part of education and training at the university laboratories seemed useful in improving awareness of drainage incidents and in preventing them.
The purpose of this study is to analyze the photograph of fume hoods (FHs) and to discuss quantitatively the relations between the status and laboratory circumstances. From the photographs of FHs at the time of normal use, we derived the information of type, quantity,and volume of placed materials in FHs. By the kinds of placed materials on the counter top of FHs, the FHs were classified into four categories according to the purpose of FH usage. This analysis suggested that some FHs were used for multiple-purposes and shared by some users, due to a space shortage. By the number of placed materials on the counter top of FHs, the relationship between area and space occupancy indicated that materials tend to be placed on the counter top of FHs side by side as Area Occupancy increases and start to pile due to little space to spread in FHs which may result in obstacle of ventilation.This survey of the actual status of FHs reflects the features of experiment laboratory such as a shortage of operational space and sharing of operational area, and can contribute to provide suggestions for considering rational usage ways of FHs.
A wide variety of chemical substances are used in university chemical laboratories. In order to prevent experimenters from being exposed by hazardous chemicals, precise analysis of dynamics of the airflow in laboratories is important for the risk management of chemicals in laboratory. Though the design of experimental laboratory has such characteristic features as to be modified frequently and arbitrarily according to the research purposes and subjects, ventilation state is not sufficiently considered in the design and utilization of chemical laboratory.In this study, a numerical analysis by Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) was conducted to comprehend how ventilation systems impact on the airflow and how changes of the airflow affect diffusion of chemical. In addition, the actual airflow was visualized by smoke test and analyzed by Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV), the result of which was validated by comparing with the result of CFD simulation.Through CFD simulation, it was suggested that indoor airflow of a chemical laboratory was affected not only by the air volume of ventilation systems but also by the direction and the flow velocity of airflow. In addition, the room ventilation was found to promote diffusion of chemicals and disturb the smooth exhausts by fume hood. These results indicated the necessity of the careful design of laboratory layout for reducing unintended chemical exposure in chemical laboratories.
The purpose of this study is to clarify how safety management approach and academic fields among researchers in university laboratories in Japan and the US affect safety awareness/behavior and unobserved statistical variables (“latent factors” in technical terms). Survey data was collected regarding the awareness and behavior of science-major-researchers in the US (Sci-US) and bioscience-majorresearchers universities in Japan (Bio-JP) conducting experiments in a university laboratory environment. In addition to a quantitative analysis, a statistical analysis of the data using predictive analytical tools was also conducted. As for Sci-US, it was revealed that “Internet”, “Safety training sessions/lectures” and “Environment, Health, and Safety Office (EHS Office)” were mainly used for information sources on safety. Explorer Factor Analysis (EFA) extracted two factors: “Systems of laboratory safety” and “Active personal behavior.” The answer distribution of the question on safety glasses showed a significantly higher usage ratio; this presumably means that EHS education has penetrated American university respondents as aggressive self-protective action. As for Bio-JP, 90% of respondents utilized “Professors/staff in your group” and “Senior-year students” as safety information sources. EFA extracted “Rules on laboratory safety” and “Systems of laboratory safety” as latent factors. Distribution of the answers on safety glasses showed a significantly lower usage rate. The possible reason for this trend seems to be culture-specific customs in this academic field. How backgrounds such a safety management approach and academic field among researchers in university laboratories affected safety awareness/behavior and latent factors were analyzed; furthermore, it was analyzed how multiple backgrounds affected actual behavior. The answers concerning eye-protection usage was chosen, which showed distinct differences between the two background groups. This result showed some respondents were influenced by the safety culture of Sci-US, and others by that of Bio-JP. Since a person who belongs to a group has several backgrounds, behavioral features of a group cannot be explained simply by the feature of any single background.