Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2008 14:08:31 -0500
Reply-To: List Moderator <ecgrants**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: List Moderator <ecgrants**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU>
Subject: 4 Re: [DCHAS-L] Shorts and Skirts in Labs

Note that a separate, but related, issue is raised below: use of  
contacts in labs...

- Ralph

From: "Peters, Joseph" 
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2008 10:59:21 -0500
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Shorts and Skirts in Labs


I manage a research facility that has both bench and pilot scale  
chemical process equipment as well as analytical laboratories.

Our current clothing policy is as follows:

	1. NO shorts or skirts are allowed when working in areas with  
hazardous materials or operations.
	2. Pants: 100% cotton jeans or chinos.  The feeling is that  
synthetics would potentially melt with exposure to high temperatures.  
Denim is also very durable and cut resistant.
	3. Shirts: Long sleeved cotton blend with a collar.  This gives some  
level of protection in the event of an accidental splash.  The collar  
keeps us closer to the overall company policy of business casual.
	4. Shoes: Steel toed safety.
	5. Safety glasses with side shields.

This policy was formally set during an EH&S audit of the facility  
several years ago.  However, we have followed it since as far back as  
I can remember.  Realize that this is basic protection.  We have a  
full array of PPE that allows us to suit up thru Level B if necessary.

This policy also applies to my co-ops from a local university.  I tell  
them as we go through safety training that the last call I want to  
make is to a parent or significant other that they have been hurt.

The long sleeves are a bit uncomfortable during the summer but people  
understand that it's for their own protection and also not an option.

I have children that have gone thru college and one just about ready  
to go.  They think, of course, that they are invincible, know  
everything and will not get hurt.

I think each organization needs to set the dress policy that best fits  
the environment.  However, asking the students to buy in is a non  
starter.  They do not have the training or wisdom to make that decision.


My comment to anyone who questions the policy


From: Vaiju.Bagal**At_Symbol_Here**
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2008 10:59:21 -0500
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Shorts and Skirts in Labs

Hello Larry -

This appears to be primarily an academic lab, but in our industrial  
chemical lab, there is no way that anyone is allowed to work with  
sandals, skirts, or shorts in the laboratory. Our safety manual and  
chemical hygiene plan state that is not allowed,. More significantly,  
experienced and educated lab personnel consider it common sense that  
one would not expose great lengths of skin in a chemical environment.  
This is a laboratory, not a kitchen.

Of course, our workplace is not so casual as to let employees wear  
shorts in the office. However, women do wear capris and open toe  
sandals - in the office only.  In Savannah here, it gets quite hot, so  
we do have a comparison to California.

The students need to be aware that these are common expectations in  
the workplace.

I have to say, I don't understand what's meant by "provocative or  
distracting clothing or make-up" and how that relates to laboratory  


Ujjvala (Vaiju) Bagal
EMD Chemicals
110 EMD Blvd
Savannah, GA 31407


Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2008 11:05:39 -0400
From: Ken Simolo 
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Shorts and Skirts in Labs

"*       Contact lenses should not be worn in the lab since vapors can  
be trapped between the lens and the eye."

Contrary to what I would have naively believed, I believe the data  
supports contact lenses being worn as actually being safer.  We were  
always concerned about a splash or fumes getting under the lenses and  
so we had banned them.  However, studies showed it was actually safer  
to use contact lenses so we lifted the ban years ago.  If this is not  
correct, i would appreciate knowing.


From: PhilF45**At_Symbol_Here**
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2008 13:03:22 EST
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Shorts and Skirts in Labs

Suggest writing up accident reports for near accidents as well as   
accidents. A hole in fabric from a corrosive is a near accident.  If   
the number of reports justifies it, institute a protective uniform  
policy (or  perhaps a full length apron).

Phil Flor

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