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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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

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