University News

Statement regarding Cal/OSHA citations

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Kevin Reed, UCLA vice chancellor for legal affairs, released the following statement about the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) citations concerning laboratory safety programs:
 
UCLA has paid in full the $31,875 in fines levied by state workplace safety regulators in connection with the laboratory accident that led to the death of a staff research assistant on Jan. 16. In addition, UCLA has fully mitigated the violations for which the campus was cited by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

We have been advised by Cal/OSHA that the only vehicle available to clarify the record is what the agency terms an appeal. Such an action is necessary to enter into a stipulation with the agency that makes clear that there was no citation or finding that can be used against the university in any future proceeding. Specifically, the campus seeks to emphasize in the record what we have indicated since the tragic accident of Dec. 29, 2008 — that many of the corrective measures ordered by UCLA Office of Environment, Health and Safety inspectors were taken before the accident occurred, but they were not properly documented. Accordingly, the campus filed a technical appeal on these limited grounds.

Our action does not question the serious nature of the issues raised by state workplace safety regulators. On the contrary, it is UCLA's goal to operate a laboratory safety program that is a model for other universities, and the campus implemented multiple and far-reaching improvements as a result of the comprehensive review ordered by the chancellor after the accident. The Cal/OSHA report will provide critical assistance as we move forward with the ongoing process of ensuring the safety of all those who work in campus laboratories.
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