FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | September 16, 2021

New critical lab safety instruction available through the ACS Institute

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2021 – In a development that benefits students, researchers and institutions around the world, the Publications Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS) is proud to announce the inaugural course in the ACS Center for Lab Safety, “ACS Essentials of Lab Safety for General Chemistry.” This 90-minute on-demand course will provide an introduction to critical lab safety skills and set a defined standard for safety. The course is part of the ACS Institute, a learning platform developed collaboratively by ACS Publications and the ACS Education Division.

Every year, undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines enter a chemistry teaching lab for the first time, often feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information they must process and use to be successful. Because of the demands of the chemistry curriculum, training on best practices and how to manage laboratory safety is often inconsistent and underemphasized. This course, designed by teaching faculty and safety experts from top universities in the U.S., gives students the opportunity to learn and practice key concepts in laboratory safety and chemical communication to build their confidence before working in the lab for the first time.

“Safety is a core value of the American Chemical Society, and safety instruction is crucial to supporting students engaging in chemistry research,” says James Milne, Ph.D., president, ACS Publications Division. “The course we have developed will serve the entire chemistry community, and ultimately create a better ecosystem for research.”

"This course is exactly the kind of instruction that participants in the ACS Institute can come to expect," says Michael Blayney, Ph.D., executive director of research safety at Northwestern University. "Students will come away with practical knowledge that lays the foundation for further safety training in keeping with their growth in understanding lab science. It is a remarkable and first-of-its-kind course developed by ACS. It promises to change safety instruction in teaching and research in fundamental ways."

While “ACS Essentials of Lab Safety for General Chemistry” is designed for students, it also benefits universities and professors, offering assurance that students will develop a sense of personal responsibility for lab safety after completing the lessons. This course is the first of many resources being developed by ACS Publications for the new ACS Center for Lab Safety, one of seven centers in the ACS Institute. Future courses will support a spiral curriculum, deepening and broadening safety education alongside chemical education. This curriculum will include instruction tailored to teaching assistants, in addition to videos and resources to help create a culture of lab safety, and case studies based on real-world examples.

“ACS Essentials of Lab Safety for General Chemistry” will be available on October 1, and students at participating institutions may begin using the course during the fall 2021 academic semester. 

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