Improvements for Engineering Safety Education: Creation and Implementation of a Safety Culture in an Undergraduate Laboratory Setting
AbstractThe goal of this case study was to create a safety culture amongst an undergraduate engineering population. The Active Learning Laboratories at the Harvard John Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are comprised of laboratory and machine shop spaces that provide students cross-discipline support. The diversity of the physical lab space and constantly growing undergraduate lab user population provided a unique opportunity to pilot new safety training methodologies. Using a culture-based approach, laboratory-wide changes to environment, safety presentations, and training formats were developed Summer 2016 and implemented Fall 2016. Data was anonymously collected and analyzed from student lab users at the completion of each semester from Spring 2016 to Fall 2017. The improvements to the training methods were found to have significant positive impacts on the safety of the engineering undergraduate community. The changes helped to increase lab user comfort in reporting safety incidents to lab staff and fellow students alike, indicating the successful creation of a safety culture.
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