Date: Mon, 3 Nov 2008 19:02:08 -0800
Reply-To: Marc Majewski <majewski.marc**At_Symbol_Here**GENE.COM>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Marc Majewski <majewski.marc**At_Symbol_Here**GENE.COM>
Organization: Genentech Inc.
Subject: Re: Shorts and Skirts in Labs
Comments: To: ILPI
In-Reply-To: <p06020408c535464e4d62**At_Symbol_Here**[]>
This has always been a difficult subject, particularly in sunny California
where the natives seem to rebel against most restriction on their "personal


Here are some additional concerns:


Please specify how lab coats interact with your policies.


In other words, "Does a lab coat provide acceptable leg coverage in your
policy, so that shorts/skirts are ok under a lab coat?" 


Also, since exposed flesh is the issue - how can one separate the lab
footwear policy from the "covered legs" policy? Bare feet? Sandals? Open-toe
shoes? Open Heel shoes? Flip Flops?? High Heels? (how high?)


I also wonder how successful your policies are at getting "tight-fitting
chemical goggles" worn in place of safety glasses where there is a potential
for corrosives splashing. That's also a form of the exposed / partially
protected skin challenge.


Lastly, the issues of provocative or distracting clothing or make-up are
always interesting. 


For the record, I work in what has been called a "T-shirt company".

Business casual is as dressy as it gets around here. 


What has worked best for me over the years and at many companies is
requiring "appropriate clothing" for the hazards of one's work. 

That seems to be just enough words to let people know there is a safety
concern involved, and not enough to make them react strongly. 


I've also had good success with having the employee's safety committees
write the "Lab Safety Rules" themselves focusing on what rules they believe
should be enforced, (and self-policed).


I look forward to your answers.




Marc Majewski 



'  650.467.2994

*  majewski.marc**At_Symbol_Here**


-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of
Sent: Monday, November 03, 2008 4:42 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Shorts and Skirts in Labs


>I'm interested in written policies/procedures on wearing shorts and 

>skirts in chemistry labs.





My personal and professional opinion is that neither should NEVER be 

worn in a lab.  Here's 3 quick examples that form the basis of that 



1. A grad student was moving some old vacuum lines down to the 

storeroom.  These were the old-fashioned kind that were assembled in 

place and when they were taken down they had to be cut/broken.  The 

ends of the manifold were jagged and stuck out from the end of the 

cart he was using.  He managed to jab himself in the leg pretty good 

and required stitches.  I suspect if he had been wearing jeans 

instead of shorts he would have had only a superficial wound.


2.  In the accident I describe at jagged pieces of glass 

embedded themselves in the ceiling ductwork.  Had anyone actually 

been hit by those it is easy to imagine the injuries.  And the 

potential effect on protected skin vs unprotected is obvious.


3.  Here's an example where a flask disintegrated into hundreds of 

tiny fragments.  While the brunt of the impact was on the victim's 

arm, it gets across the idea that the more layers of *anything* 

between the skin and projectiles, the better.  In this archived 

UseNet post you will fine my firsthand account at the very bottom:


And don't get me started on the fires I've witnessed....


That all said, you will find *tremendous* resistance trying to ban 

shorts/skirts in laboratories.  Even from seasoned 

faculty/researchers who really should know better.   The worst 

example I ever saw of that was at an oceanographic institution where 

it took unbelievable effort to get them to agree to ban bare feet and 

sandals in the lab (and they still didn't ban shorts).  If you run 

into anyone like that, send them a copy of this message.


Rob Toreki



Safety Emporium - Lab & Safety Supplies featuring brand names

you know and trust.  Visit us at

esales**At_Symbol_Here**  or toll-free: (866) 326-5412

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