Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2008 06:53:18 -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: Re: Shorts and Skirts in Labs

From: 	dave.nancy**At_Symbol_Here**
Subject: 	Re: [DCHAS-L] Shorts and Skirts in Labs
Date: 	November 5, 2008 6:22:24 PM EST (CA)


If I may add to Ms. Osterby's comments, which are spot on........

I am the Laboratories Director at a USDOE cleanup site.  Our  
facilities consist of a Process Chemistry laboratory and an  
Environmental Monitoring laboratory. The hazards are many and include  
radioactive materials, chemical reagents, heat sources, cryogenics,  
sharps, electrical energy, pinch points, and much more. We stress the  
importance of proper PPE to all employees and mandate minimum dress  
requirements that include long pants (no shorts or skirts but neat  
blue jeans are acceptable), shirts with sleeves, sturdy safety-toe  
footwear, and no dangling jewelry. Long hair must be tied back and out  
of the way.  Additionally, staff must use appropriate PPE commensurate  
with the procedure and hazards being undertaken which can go well  
beyond the classic lab coat to include full-body Tyvek suits, shoe  
covers, forearm protection, two layers of gloves, face shields and  
splash goggles, among other options. Safety requirements are written  
into each analytical procedure as mandated by our Chemical Hygiene  
Program Plan. We use drill scenarios to practice emergency response  
procedures and, weekly, conduct documented inspections of safety  
showers, eyewashes, spill kits, chemical inventory status, and so  
forth. Training sessions and re-qualification activities for all staff  
are a matter of routine.  Furthermore, adherence to safety practices  
is a line item score in our annual personnel evaluations, the outcome  
of which can determine a worker's likelihood for advancement.

So, to the esteemed educators among our colleagues in this forum, at  
every opportunity please re-enforce to your students that the  
professional world's expectations regarding personal safety can be  
very high.  Just as students work hard to study their curriculum, they  
should work equally hard to develop safe work habits.  All the  
education and advanced degrees in the world mean nothing if a person  
suffers a loss of physical capacity (or worse), ending a promising  
career.  The root cause of many accidents is inattention to detail and/ 
or poor work practices.

Kindest Regards,

David M. Scalise
URS Laboratories Director
West Valley Demonstration Project
10282 Rock Springs Road
West Valley, NY 14171
tel: (716) 942-4160
FAX: (716) 942-2095

A professional laboratory

On Nov 5, 2008, at 6:59 AM, List Moderator wrote:

From: "Osterby, Meg" 
Date: November 4, 2008 5:19:12 PM EST (CA)
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] Shorts and Skirts in Labs

Our technical college chemistry teaching labs follow the safety  
guidelines of long pants and closed shoes with lab coat on top.  We do  
not allow students who are inappropriately dressed to participate in  
that day's lab.  It's amazing when you say they can't do the lab, how  
many of them suddenly remember that they have long pants and closed  
shoes in their gym locker or car.  Very few students actually miss a  
lab following this policy.  We also do not allow midriff tops that do  
not completely cover the abdomen and back, and of course, splash guard  
safety goggles are a must whenever chemicals, heat, or glassware are  
in use.  The staff points out to the students who want to argue the  
dress code that if their bosses stipulate a certain attire, they wear  
it without complaint or lose their jobs, and we deserve more respect  
than that dress code since we are enforcing it for their safety.  Very  
few persist in arguing after that.

Meg Osterby
Chemistry Instructor
Western Technical College
400 7th St. N.
LaCrosse, WI, 54601

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