Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2011 07:53:00 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Ralph B Stuart <rstuart**At_Symbol_Here**CORNELL.EDU>
Subject: Lab Emergency Response Training

> I have never personally seen laboratory safety training materials discuss that the trainee or his/ her coworkers may freeze, panic, or do something completely wrong in an eme rgency situation. 

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The training I described in an article in th e Journal of Chemical Health and Safety (Volume 17, Issue 6, November-Decem ber 2010, Pages 29-32) includes this consideration in discussing lab emerge ncy response. This is the required classroom training for UVM lab workers a nd we had probably 1000 people take it over 5 years. In it, I included a di scussion about why the victim of a spill or injury is probably not the best person to make the decision about how to manage it and suggested that thei r neighbors should help organize the response. Over the course of the 5 yea rs we did that training, we had a number of responses to lab situations tha t went better than I would have expected before that training was put into place. We had some other ones as well - as others have noted, there is no g uarantee that what is talked about in training will be applied in the momen t.

One of the challenges, of course, is that well-managed responses a re not going to be appearing in the press the way an event which is more co nfusing will be. Unfortunately, there are strong social filters involved in publicizing any unexpected incidents and if they are managed successfully, it's not likely that an event will attract much attention. One reason that I think that the google headlines are useful is that they provide a helpfu l perspective on the various degrees of success that occur in responding to incidents. (Did anyone notice that the same day as the event at BC, a chem istry lab wall fell over, apparently for structural issues, and barely miss ed people in the area?).

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- Ralph

Ralph Stuart CIH

Laboratory Ventilation Specialist


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