Responding to a request from several former ACS presidents, the ACS Division of Chemical Health & Safety is attempting to develop an online laboratory safety certification program aimed at chemistry graduate students. The program ideally would address longstanding complaints from industry that Ph.D. programs do not adequately educate students to work safely in industrial research and development laboratories. A well-planned and peer-reviewed online certification program could be part of the solution to this training gap.
The development cost for online training programs, according to an informal survey of commercial online training providers, is approximately $20,000 for each presentation hour of this type of safety course. This means that developing an 8- to 10-hour course with about a dozen training modules would cost $160,000 to $200,000.
The division is now facing the following questions and would welcome input from Safety Zone readers:
- How might costs be lowered? What work could be done by volunteers rather than paid consultants?
- Does ACS have the resources to develop the program without using a training provider?
- Several organizations are willing to support program development: the ACS Corporate Associates, National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, and Council for Chemical Research. Are there others that might be interested?
- Is there sufficient demand to warrant developing the program? Can it meet industry’s needs?
- What topics should be covered, and what is a realistic amount of time to commit for effective training?
- Is taking an online course and passing tests sufficient for certification or should there be other components?
Related post: Teaching safety to chemical engineers