The dangers of being a university researcher

Accidental lab death reveals lack of safety standards in academe

Following the accidental death of a UCLA lab technician, who was engulfed in flames in a chemical spill, a U.S. government investigation has revealed multiple safety violations, and slapped the university with $31,875 in fines. But the technician, who was not wearing proper protective gear and had not received adequate training, is hardly alone. In fact, as Slate writer Beryl Lieff Benderly explains, because universities don’t prioritize workplace safety, “accidents and injuries occur hundreds of times more frequently in academic labs than in industrial ones.”


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