University-wide efforts to renew and strengthen a culture of research safety are necessary to avoid tragic accidents, according to a guide released this week by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ (APLU) Task Force on Laboratory Safety.

In the document, “A Guide to Implementing a Safety Culture,” and on a companion website, the task force provides US university Presidents and Chancellors with 20 recommendations to strengthen the culture of safety.

“Given the recent number of serious academic lab accidents, APLU’s report should serve as a critical clarion call to improve lab safety,” says ACS Executive Director and CEO Thomas Connelly Jr., Ph.D. “Ensuring labs have a strong culture of safety is paramount to doing chemistry.”

The task force was created by APLU in coordination with the American Chemical Society (ACS), the Association of American Universities and the Council on Government Relations. It was composed of senior research officers, environmental and health safety experts, and representatives from industry and national labs.

The ACS, the US Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board, and the National Academies have all called for improvements to the safety culture within university laboratories and have provided recommendations to that end.