Elements of Safety Poster a Big Hit at ACS Conference

Apr. 4, 2019

At the American Chemical Society National Meeting and Expo in Orlando, Princeton EHS unveiled a Periodic Table of the Elements of Safety.

Developed in partnership with the ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety, the poster highlights terms, people and concepts important to laboratory safety. The periodic table format honors the International Year of the Periodic Table, marking 150 years since the discovery of the table by Dmitri Mendeleev. 

Nearly 700 posters were given away over two days to attendees from around the globe, and the poster earned a good deal of buzz on social media as well as on the floor of the conference center. In response to one attendee's comment that a collection of terms related to chemical safety is not really periodic, EHS director Robin Izzo replied that, in fact, it is, since the table is organized around R.A.M.P., the four principles of laboratory safety: Recognize, Assess, Minimize, Prepare. (He admitted that this was true.)

The table offers a comprehensive cross section of concepts and practices in laboratory safety, from pictograms identifying the principal chemical hazards to physical and behavioral hazards, risk assessment tools, engineering and administrative controls, PPE and green chemistry. The bottom rows list safety heroes and martyrs, figures in history who have contributed to our understanding of risks in the laboratory and the best ways to mitigate them. 

Periodic Table of the Elements of Safety

The table can be viewed and downloaded on the ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety website, which also has a downloadable graphic explaining all of the elements on the table. 

The Journey to Safety

Lab Safety Specialist Brittany Armstrong gave a talk at the conference highlighting her personal journey from researcher in the University of California system to lab safety officer. Her time at UC-Davis coincided with a major shift in safety culture following the death of Sheri Sangji at UCLA in 2009. Her presentation, "Transitioning from graduate student researcher to safety professional," included examples from her work at Princeton. 

Brittany Armstrong at ACS