Doctoral student wins ULSC Excellence in Safety Award
Doctoral student Richard Hickey, a member of Professor Andre Palmer's research group, was awarded the Excellence in Safety Award by The University Laboratory Safety Committee (ULSC). Each year ULSC recognizes a university faculty or staff member, a student, and a laboratory research group who have made a considerable contribution to improving laboratory safety on the Ohio State campus.
Hickey serves as the laboratory safety officer (LSO) for Dr. Andre Palmer’s lab. In this role, he has consistently gone above and beyond in his responsibilities, which include training new lab members about safety procedures, maintaining records, and ensuring the good condition of safety equipment.
In 2019, Hickey was named Chair of the Chemical Hygiene Committee for the William G. Lowrie Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. As committee chair, he arranged monthly meetings between the LSOs from all labs in the department, as well as faculty and staff liaisons, to discuss issues such as safe process design, waste disposal, and other safety-related matters. He also helped facilitate rewriting the laboratory inspection checklist that is used to maintain safety standards across all 14 wet labs in the CBEC building, and is currently working with EHS to adapt that checklist into a lightweight self-inspection form that any lab on campus can use.
As a trained paramedic since 2009 and having taught CPR with the American Heart Association and/or the American Red Cross since 2012, Hickey wanted to bring this background to the department and share these skills with others. In 2019 he initiated a move to authorize the William G. Lowrie Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering as a Red Cross training site, with himself as the lead instructor. With assistance from the department, he bought professional training manikins and equipment to teach classes on site within CBEC. In summer/Fall of 2019, he issued over 30 certificates to a mix of students, staff, and faculty. His goal is to train the entire department.
Hickey won a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in 2017.