Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2005 10:51:55 -0700
Reply-To: DAVID KATZ <dakatz45**At_Symbol_Here**MSN.COM>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: DAVID KATZ <dakatz45**At_Symbol_Here**MSN.COM>
Subject: Re: exam questions
Comments: To: Ralph Stuart

I have been using a laboratory safety exam ever since the publication by 
Robert B. Scott Jr. and A. S. Hazari, Liability in the academic 
chemistry laboratory, J. Chem. Educ., 1978, 55, A196.  Since that time, 
with the cooperation of my colleagues, the safety test has gone through 
many iterations, but has always remained a requirement in our laboratory 

The safety test is only one step in the safety training for my students. 
 My students are required to purchase my "General Chemistry Laboratory 
Survival Manual" (previously published in-house, now being published by 
Hayden-McNeil Publishing Co.) which contains written safety information 
in the form of my "Safety in the Academic Laboratory", MSDS information, 
safety references, and a list of all the possible questions on the 
safety exam (they must fill in the answers).  In addition, they must 
attend the laboratory safety lecture.  So, they have heard, (and in my 
case) seen proper techniques where possible, read the safety 
information, and know the types of questions that will be asked.  
Therefore, "lab safety is no surprise".  But, that is not the end of the 
safety instruction.  Safety precautions are reviewed at the beginning of 
every experiment throughout the semester.  Every experiment I write has 
a safety section highlighting the safety precautions for that procedure. 
 Also, our science majors are asked to write a safety assessment for 
each experiment to be reviewed before they begin any procedures.
I believe that this impresses upon the students that safety is a 
necessary and required part of any laboratory operation or procedure.


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133 N. Desert Stream Dr., Tucson, AZ 85745, U.S.A.
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  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Ralph Stuart 
  To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU 
  Sent: Friday, June 10, 2005 6:06 AM
  Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] exam questions

  >Larry Cattoor (Biosafety/Chemical Hygiene Officer, University of 
  >Lawrence) suggested an interesting - and the more I think about it,
  >important - distinction between training and education:
  >      To me, an exam to evaluate training is different than an exam 
  >evaluate education. Training is a Pass or Fail situation, whereas
  >      education can be graded on a quality scale with different 
levels of
  >passing or failing. I educate people about safety principles, but I
  >      train them in safety practices. When discussing principles I 
  >evaluate on a sliding scale how well they understand and apply
  >      principles. However, with safety practices the context really 

  There's another important distinction between training and education
  that I've thought about a lot:
  Education raises general awareness about a field, we hope in a 
permanent way.
  Training seeks to create specific habits, which will need to be
  reinforced over time.

  This means to me that quizzing people in educational settings when
  the process is "over" to get feedback about what they've absorbed
  makes sense. However, review of the success of a training should take
  place some time after the training (a couple weeks or months) to see
  if the desired behavior change has taken place on a permanent basis.
  So, to me, the timing of the evaluation process is very important and
  should be matched to the intent of the educational/training effort.

  So, we rely on laboratory inspection results as the indicator of
  successful training rather than passing a paper quiz at the class. On
  the other hand, when we teach a HAZWOPER course to undergrads, we
  rely more on class quizzes and projects, since we're not training
  them for a specific job (we're not hiring those students, we're
  educating them).

  Of course, the regulatory approach to training doesn't make that
  distinction - in most regulations, training is effectively used to
  share some of the legal responsibility for safety conditions with the
  employees, rather than just leave it all in the laps of the
  employers. This confuses the issue in my mind by placing more
  emphasis on documentation than training success.

  - Ralph

  Ralph Stuart, CIH
  Environmental Safety Manager
  University of Vermont
  Environmental Safety Facility
  667 Spear St.
  Burlington, VT   05405

  fax: (802)656-5407

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