Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Workplace Accident Raises Safety Issues

Employees have the right to work in a safe environment, free from any threat or danger that might harm them. And the responsibility of ensuring the safety of these employees falls on employers. Failure to fulfill such duty can result into terrible accidents.

This is the case of the death of Sheri Sangji, a research assistant who worked on an organic chemistry experiment in the Molecular Sciences Building of UCLA. According to the report, Sangji was working with a chemical compound that instantly ignites when exposed to air. The syringe that she used to transfer that substance came apart in her hands, spewing out flaming chemicals. She sustained second and third degree burns on more than 43% of her body as a result. She died in a hospital burn unit 18 days later.

This horrible workplace accident raised issues regarding the attention of the university to laboratory safety. In fact, two months before the accident, the safety inspectors of the UCLA found over a dozen deficiencies in the lab where the accident occurred and records show that the required corrective action was not promptly taken. Because of this, many believe that the incident could have been prevented, if only the proper safety measures were taken.

Employers should do everything they can in their power to make sure that the workplace is safe. Not only will it benefit the employees, but the employers as well. And most importantly, this can prevent unnecessary workplace accidents and save lives.