I assume the safety issues concerning you would be two:
· Possible combustibility/flammability of the burka material
· How to ensure properly wearing safety glasses or safety goggles
For the first issue, you might consider whether a Nomex head cover similar to what is used in automobile racing would work. I have used this simple but effective approach as part of total PPE for workers working with pyrophoric materials in high tech industries and academia; in this instance, you would need an extra large head cover to fit comfortably over the burka.
For the second issue, I would recommend anti-fogging goggles with elastic head strap.
In neither instance are you asking the student to abandon the burka – simply to use PPE apropos to the situation. The student’s safety and the school’s liability should trump any secondary religious issue.
Could others tell me how you deal with a student who wears a Burka taking an organic chemistry class, or any lab class for that matter? We certainly don’t want to discriminate religiously, so how do we deal with the safety issues of that. Surprisingly this is the first time this situation has arisen for us.
MaryAnn Yaeger, MS
Supervisor of Laboratory Services,
Chemical Hygiene Officer
120 N. State Street
Dover DE 19901
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