FLORENCE -- Barbara Hankinson, chairman of the Francis Marion University Department of Chemistry and Physics, delivered the University Safety Award Address at the Chemical Health and Safety Awards Symposium in August at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in New Orleans. FMU was this year’s recipient of the Society’s university safety award.
The College Safety Award, offered alternately to large universities and four-year colleges, is awarded to the college or university with the best safety program. It is based on policies, plans, reports, implementation of these policies, and an on-site visit. The award honored FMU for having developed an outstanding chemical hygiene plan and laboratory course.
Travis Ragsdale, the chemistry laboratory manager, was also honored for making chemical safety a priority for all science students. Ragsdale is the coordinator for the general chemistry laboratory program, and the departmental safety manager, assisting the department chairman in preparing appropriate safety rules, training programs, and identifying potential safety problems.
Ragsdale is the editor of the FMU general chemistry laboratory manual, and, along with Hankinson, wrote the university’s laboratory safety course.
Warren Kingsley, chairman of the ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety, presented the University Safety Award, a plaque, and a check for $1,000 to be used to support FMU's laboratory safety program. In addition, Hankinson and Ragsdale were presented with gifts from the Division of Chemical Health and Safety.
"The documents used by the Department of Chemistry and Physics in the laboratory training program are excellent educational guides for both students and faculty. Francis Marion has demonstrated that they consider laboratory safety an important part of the training of future chemists," Kingsley said. “This is a great honor for the faculty, staff, and students of the chemistry program," Hankinson said. "We work very hard to ensure the health and safety of our students when working with chemicals and equipment.”