OSHA Faults Yale University In Fatal Lab Accident

NEW HAVEN, CT (WCBS 880/AP) – Federal safety regulators say a piece of machinery that killed a Yale University student lacked required safeguards.

WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau With The Latest

Michele Dufault, a senior from Scituate, Mass., was killed April 12 when her hair was pulled into a fast-spinning lathe as she worked alone in a machine shop at the Sterling Chemistry Laboratory.

She wasn’t doing anything she hadn’t done many times before, but this time it had a horrifying end because she had no easy way to turn the machine off.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration wrote in a letter to Yale that the lathe lacked an emergency stop button that could shut off power.

The OSHA letter says rules for using the equipment were not posted. It also says Yale should ensure students don’t work alone.

OSHA didn’t fine Yale, saying it lacked jurisdiction.

A message for a Yale spokesman was not immediately returned.

“By all reports, Michele was an exceptional young woman, an outstanding student and young scientist, a dear friend and a vibrant member of this community,” Yale Vice President Linda Lorimer wrote in a message to Yale students and faculty following the tragedy.

An uncle called Michele brilliant.

“She’s a wonderful, wonderful kid and that should be celebrated. There’s nothing but good things to say about her,” said Frederick Dufault of Holliston, Mass.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Mark

    As with so many of the events that occur in life we often learn the lesson after the damage is done.
    Why do we wait so long to learn?
    Because the need to produce the results has to be instantious and we dont give ourselves time to learn
    Lets slow down the pace and learn the lesson before the accident happens

  • The Kash

    Common Sense:

    1. No long hair, loose clothing, or loose jewelry.

    2. No working alone.

    3. Use caution when working around fast moving machinery.

    4. If you do not understand 1, 2, and 3, above, then hit the “OFF” button, turn off the light switch, and go home.

  • Dan Te

    Not just long hair but loose clothing, jewlery, Ties, etc can also get caught when near moving machinery such as shredders.

  • cygon

    no one told her that long hair should not be dangling around spinning machines?

  • mark

    Gosh, terrible story, but don’t you put your hair up or at least don’t lean over when working near spinning machinery?

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