Campus statement regarding criminal charges in lab accident
By UCLA Media Relations & Public Outreach December 27, 2011
UCLA intends to mount a vigorous defense against the outrageous charges announced today, Dec. 27, by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office with regard to a Dec. 29, 2008, laboratory accident on campus and the subsequent death of a staff research associate.
Since the time of the accident, UCLA has fully cooperated with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) and the district attorney's office. Cal/OSHA conducted an exhaustive investigation into the incident in 2009, which included interviews with UCLA officials and the examination of numerous documents shared by UCLA. That investigation resulted in fines, which were paid by the university, but ultimately found no willful violations on the part of UCLA.
Following a meeting with the district attorney in October 2010, UCLA had not been contacted by the district attorney or received any requests for documents or interviews until being notified about pending charges two days before Christmas. The district attorney's decision to file charges today is truly baffling and directly contradicts the findings of the state agency responsible for evaluating workplace safety.
Since the accident, UCLA has dramatically increased the number of laboratory inspections and established even more rigorous safety standards. UCLA's recently created Center for Laboratory Safety has become a leader in the field, and other universities and research organizations look to the center as a comprehensive resource on lab safety.
The facts provide absolutely no basis for the appalling allegation of criminal conduct, and UCLA is confident an impartial jury would agree.
Office of Media Relations,