Month: October 2020

Close calls

For every serious safety incident, there are typically several situations where a safety barrier such as a chemical fume hood, a machine guard, or someone’s eye protection is tested, but holds, preventing the incident. These situations are called close calls, and they are extremely valuable to our safety program.

If you experience a close call—a splash intercepted by your chemical splash goggles, a part flying off a machine and missing you, or a chemical fume hood failing during an experiment—please report it to Dr. Daniel Kuespert at [email protected]. Dr. Kuespert or someone he has trained will respond to you promptly and help you investigate the close call. We do this in a blame-free environment; we’re only interested in your safety and that of others.

We sometimes find that apparently-simple close calls show up systemic flaws that could have caused larger numbers of incidents. Whatever the true causes of the close call, we cannot help you correct them if we do not know about it! The [email protected] address goes only to Dr. Kuespert, and you can remain anonymous—just note that in your report.

If you have questions about close-call studies, contact Dr. Daniel Kuespert, Homewood Laboratory Safety Advocate, at [email protected]. See Dr. Kuespert’s website,, for more safety information. As always, emergency response is available from Security at 410-516-7777.