International Safety Licence?

Safety rules are (or should be) universal. When safety issues are raised we are all equal. Aren’t we all “hurt by the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means”?

Scientific research is now highly international, with international standards such as ASTM, with an international language, English, and more or less the same tools, machines, and procedures around the world.

Researchers are encouraged to travel and share knowledge and experience, should it be for a few days, weeks, months or years.

Yet, it is noticeable that some standards are not yet uniform across the countries, such as national dependent SDS data sheets, or that rules applied in institutes and universities also differ from one place to the other.

Traveling researchers from one institute to the other usually have to redo all safety trainings from the beginning, despite previous experience.

If you are in charge of any safety committee, just a small thought that you probably already had. But, what about having an “International Safety Licence”? Some kind of official document stating the experience that you have already using one machine: for example, 300 hours of SEM, training on piranha cleaning, etc., with the date of the last safety check, to be revalidated every 10 years. A safety driving licence to help swim between the different institutes, with occasional check-up to ensure validity. Of course, this doesn’t erase any small course that rely depend on the country and the university (emergency phone numbers and gathering places etc.).

That would make the life of the traveling researcher so much easier and improve drastically efficiency of settling in the new environment, while ensuring that the researcher has the appropriate training indeed.