Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2008 21:20:54 -0500
Reply-To: ILPI <info**At_Symbol_Here**ILPI.COM>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: ILPI <info**At_Symbol_Here**ILPI.COM>
Subject: Re: Shoes in Lab
Comments: cc: "Murphy, Dr. Ruth Ann"
In-Reply-To: <4E2E6B81A1D0FE4E8E2B01F5FE9A01260A418CC9**At_Symbol_Here**>

Any closed shoe is better than an open-toed shoe, sandal, bare feet 
etc.   After all, most incidents are going to be minor splashes, and 
most of those will be absorbed by the shoe before penetrating to the 
skin.  In all but a major incident (where the least of your concerns 
would be chemical burns to the foot) the shoe could be easily removed 
or drenching under the shower would start before any damage was done 
to the body.

Of course, if you're using highly skin-permeable and toxic materials 
such as phenols, dimethylmercury etc. then appropriate 
chemical-resistant boots would be warranted.  But I suspect with the 
amounts and types of material used in an academic/teaching lab that 
such measures would be ever be necessary.  Process plants, of course, 
are another matter.

Sharps and broken glass are another concern, but again, it's doubtful 
that there are situations in your environment that would require 
boots instead of shoes etc.

I have never seen or heard of a lab accident exacerbated by the 
wearing of tennis shoes versus something more substantial or less 

On the flip side, I did a Chemical Hygiene Plan review at a highly 
respected instruction where some of the professors liked to work 
barefoot in lab.   There was actual resistance to the idea that the 
CHP rewrite include a ban on such stupidity, and we had to refuse to 
finish the rewrite until they reluctantly agreed to incorporate the 

Rob Toreki

>I would appreciate learning your requirements for shoes in lab.   Tennis
>shoes, etc., while they cover the foot, offer little protection against
>spills.  Thank you for any information you might wish to share.
>Ruth Ann
>Ruth Ann Murphy, Ph.D.
>Professor of Chemistry
>Chair, Department of Chemistry, Environmental Science and Geology
>The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
>900 College Street
>Belton, TX  76513-2599
>Phone (254) 295-4542
>Fax (254) 295-4237

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