Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 20:56:03 -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: Cell phones in lab
Comments: To: Matt Heinrich

The problem with cell phones in academic labs (or classes) is easily 
addressed, whether it is an individual decision or a departmental 
decision. For any academic institution, the course or lab syllabus is 
the ultimate basis for the course policies.  Just as one would address 
the safety policy for the laboratory, such as goggles or proper 
footwear, the issue of cell phones should also be addressed in the 
syllabus.  Decide on a reasonable policy, be it a complete ban on cell 
phones or a restriction of an audible ring tone (most cell phones have a 
vibration mode) and any penalties for violation of that policy and print 
it in the syllabus.  Enforcement of any reasonable policy in the 
syllabus will be supported by your academic dean or superior.

David Katz
  David A. Katz              
  Chemist, Educator, Expert Demonstrator, Science Communicator, and 
  Programs and workshops for teachers, schools, museums, and the public
  133 N. Desert Stream Dr. * Tucson, AZ 85745-2277 *  USA
  voice/fax: (520) 624-2207 * email: 
           Visit my web site:
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Matt Heinrich 
  To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU 
  Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2006 7:05 PM
  Subject: [DCHAS-L] Cell phones in lab

  Please excuse the cross-posting.  My searches of the CSHEMA-L, DCHAS-L
  and SAFETY list archives didn't produce any answers, so I appeal to 
  My Chemical Management Committee is going to look at the question of
  cell phones in academic and research labs, at the request of one of 
  professors.  His primary concern is the cell phone as a vector for
  contamination.  I think the committee will agree that cell phones 
  be banned from labs for hygiene reasons, but I am wondering about a
  couple of things:
  1)  If your institution has addressed this issue, was it a campus-wide
  policy decision, or dealt with on a building-by-building or lab-by-lab
  approach?  What do you see as the pros and cons of those choices?
  2)  Have you addressed cell phones as a hazard outside of chemical or
  biological labs?  I'm thinking of high-risk activities (aside from
  driving) where the reflex to answer the phone could present an
  additional hazard.
  3)  What do you think about including personal music players in the
  same policy?  One could make similar arguments against them on the 
  of chemical hygiene and distraction risks.  I could see this being a
  point of contention in research labs.
  4)  Do you have specific policy statements or wording that you could
  share with me?  My Google searches turned up a few lab safety 
  hits, but not many CHP or policy hits.  I'm thinking about suggesting
  "Cellular telephones are not to be used in the laboratory at any time 
  for any purpose," as a starting point.
  Thank you in advance for your help.
  Matt Heinrich
  Chemical Hygiene Officer
  Radiation Safety Officer
  Walla Walla College
  Ph. 509-527-2148
  Fax  509-527-2249

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