Date: Thu, 13 Aug 2009 16:56:43 -0400
Reply-To: Yung Morgan <pmorgan**At_Symbol_Here**EHS.UMASS.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Yung Morgan <pmorgan**At_Symbol_Here**EHS.UMASS.EDU>
Subject: FW: [DCHAS-L] Extinguishers and gloves
Comments: cc: jim field

Thought I share with the group a comment from one of our colleague who is also a former fire chief re: extinguishers in the labs. Yes we do have them and yes we also trained all the students to their use during our regular lab safety training. On another note, fire safety (and extinguishers use)  does add some excitement to the boring training that is lab safety, I was told.  And some of our researchers did use them, others thought they are there to “water plants”.

Yung Morgan, MsPH
Chemical Safety
Industrial Hygiene Services
Environmental Health and Safety
117 Draper hall
UMASS,Amherst MA 01003
phone (413)  545-2682
Fax  (413) 545-2600
email : pmorgan**At_Symbol_Here**

From: James Field [mailto:jmfield**At_Symbol_Here**]
Sent: Thursday, August 13, 2009 1:38 PM
To: Yung Morgan
Cc: ed mientka; Edwin Mcglew; 'Michael Swain'; Robert Laford; Mark Dusza; Rick Sawin; John Hawley; Brian Olsen; Terry Bechta; Don Robinson; 'Glenda L. Pons'
Subject: Re: FW: [DCHAS-L] Extinguishers and gloves

I agree with John Nail. A properly run lab should deal with
    1) small quantities
    2) in a fume hood
    3) should wear PPE appropriate to the work they are conducting
Given the above if a fire occurred it would be small and contained to the hood and should pose minimal exposure risk to the researcher allowing him/her to activate building alarm and then if appropriate extinguish the fire. This could prevent these small fires from becoming large lab fires.

Yung Morgan wrote:

< /u1:SmartTagType> 

FYI! more thoughts on researchers and extinguishers use.


Thanks for the training you all give to our resarchers. YM


-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of List Moderator
Sent: Thursday, August 13, 2009 10:21 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Extinguishers and gloves


From: "Nail, John" <jnail**At_Symbol_Here**>

Date: August 13, 2009 10:15:21 AM EDT

Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] Extinguishers and gloves


Let me see if I have this straight -

A researcher uses an extinguisher to put out a lab fire.

An OSHA investigator cites the institution for lack of documented 

extinguisher training, despite the obvious fact that the researcher 

was able to successfully put out the fire.

The local FD begins to remove extinguishers from the labs.


My suggestion about putting out trash can fires was in regards to the 

OSHA training issue. BTW- when I was at another university, all 

Chemistry department personnel were required to use an extinguisher to 

put out an oil fire during the annual safety training.


As a trained firefighter, you can be as angry as you want to over the 

idea that 'untrained' (unwashed?) people dare to put out fires. As a 

trained chemist who has worked extensively with pyrophoric materials, 

I am angry over your attitude that lab workers should not be allowed 

to extinguish small lab fires. As an educator, I would not let 

students use flammable liquids in a lab unless an extinguisher was 

available for me to use in any incidents.


This idea of 'remove safety equipment because lab personnel are too 

stupid/untrained/un trustworthy to use it properly is condescending, 

and frankly, leads to an attitude that gets people killed.


What EVERYONE needs to recognize is that there is a significant 

difference between a small hood fire and a major building fire. 

Whomever first discovers the small hood fire should put it out if they 

can do so safely, and yes, those of us who have handled dangerous 

materials, know a thing or two about working safely. And, no, I would 

try to fight a large fire. Yes, someone has to use their judgment when 

assessing the situation.


Whether the issue is extinguishers in lab areas or freshman chemistry 

students wearing gloves, the key question is 'do we teach how to 

assess risks and use the PPE and safety equipment that is appropriate 

to that risk or do we give students a mindless set of rules?'


In regards to the 'this is how its done in industry' argument, yes, I 

have been in industry. Industry and academia are two very different 

cultures. People in industry have different motivations than do people 

in academia. Industry and academia are not valid comparisons.


It's easier to create rules than to think.


John Nail

Professor of Chemistry

Oklahoma City University

Hazardous Materials Control 
Environmental Health & 
303 Draper 
University of 
Amherst, MA 01003
e-mail jmfield**At_Symbol_Here**

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