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Focus on safety brings about change
Marcia Porter and Sharon Gray
Dr. Donald McKay at work in his lab

There’s a change in the safety culture at Memorial University.

It’s a change noted at recent meeting of the pan-university health and safety committee, and by Health and Safety Director Sheila Miller and assistant director Barb Battcock who take stock of progress made over the past couple of years.

“We have lots of work to do,” says Sheila, who supervises a staff of 14 at Memorial’s three campuses. “But we’ve had some tremendous achievements even over the past year.”

By way of example, Sheila cites Professor Donald McKay and the newly-reformulated university radiation safety committee as a good example of the renewed emphasis on health and safety at Memorial.

Donald is a professor of physiology in the Faculty of Medicine, and chairs the committee. He says for the first time ever, the committee is broad-based, with membership across campus.

That’s significant because there’s recognition that radio isotopes have the potential to affect everyone, from the staff at campus enforcement, to cleaning and maintenance staff, to students and permit holders.

Donald and the committee helped lead development of a new radiation safety plan. It’s been well-received by the university’s small number of radio isotope permit holders. As part of the plan, permit holders have received training or retraining in current safety practices.

The new radiation safety officer, Rod Hobbs, is helping to implement stream-lined processes that ensure safety while also keeping red tape to a minimum.

The radiation safety committee will be the first to implement a new health and safety database system that provides access to a central repository of all data from the Department of Health and Safety.

Apr 5th, 2012

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