Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2006 14:19:33 -0600
Reply-To: Harry Elston <helston**At_Symbol_Here**FGI.NET>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Harry Elston <helston**At_Symbol_Here**FGI.NET>
Subject: Re: cell phones in labs
Comments: To: Walton
In-Reply-To: <18129171.1141924136764.JavaMail.root**At_Symbol_Here**>

>For the use of non-instrinsically safe electronic devices such as 
>cell phones with flammable liquids, how about using the standards 
>for flammability in the OSHA confined space standard at 20 CFR 
>1910.146?  The standard for flammable vapors and vapors and gases is 
>to evacuate the area at any concentrations above 10% of the Lower 
>Flammable Limit (10% LEL), using a combustible gas indicator 
>calibrated with methane or pentane.
>Another thing to consider is the HAZWOPER standard, 29 CFR 
>1910.120(k) [I think], decontamination.  Nothing should be brought 
>to the face without washing both face and hands.   So much for using 
>cell phones with potentially contaminated hands.


Don't take this the wrong way, but your post is perhaps the classic 
example of the misapplication of regulations.

Laboratories are not:
(1) Confined spaces
(2) Hazardous waste operations sites
(3) Hazardous waste emergency response operation sites, unless, of 
course an incident is in process.

CGIs are not a common laboratory instrument.  Why would they be? You 
can go to just about any university synthetic organic research wing 
and identify by odor the research in progress, given enough experience.

Cell phones are not intrinsically safe, they are not required to 
be.  The question that was on topic was "what about cell phones in labs?"

In industry, unless a company has a written policy regarding the use 
of phones, it will be left to the supervisor.  Personally I don't 
like to see them in the lab for a number of reason, none of which are 
regulation, most of which are prudent (chemical or business) practice:
(1)  Distraction from what you're doing
(2)  Distracting your neighbor from what they are suppose to be 
doing.  (I really don't care what your having for dinner or where 
you're going after work.)
(3)  Exposure control issues.  Why spread it around to your eyes and face?
(4)  You're on company time - answer your personal phone on your own 
time.  Most plans come with voice mail....use it.
(5)  I really don't want your experiment shared with the company's 
competitors.  (Cell phones with cameras here).

That all being said, you need to look at the job in its entirety to 
make a decent risk assessment.  For example, if you're not on the 
bench, but at a computer workstation, what about answering the phone 
there?  Gotta get the whole picture....



Harry J. Elston, Ph.D., CIH
Principal - Midwest Chemical Safety

Editor, Chemical Health & Safety

"When a committee is in charge, no one is in charge."
	Elston's management axiom #3

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