I am very concerned that we as a safety community need to reach out effectively to molecular biologists, neuroscientists, and others who use chemicals in very different ways than what we encounter in chemistry labs. The BMBL and biosafety in general is all about risk assessment and dealing appropriately with it.
One of the themes I heard through many presentations at the national meetings this week was the need to develop a consistent approach to risk assessment in the chemistry lab that informs the balance of protective strategies that are selected in the lab. Each type of protective equipment has a balance of advantages and challenges (often ergonomic challenges) associated with it. For example, fume hoods provide specific forms of protection, but come with a lot of ergonomic costs. Similarly, some PPE is good protection for specific situations but presents specific challenges in similar ones. Developing a protection strategy process that accounts for both sides of this coin is a key issue for chemical health and safety professionals to work on to help support the prudent laboratory work.
Ralph Stuart CIH
Laboratory Ventilation Specialist
Department of Environmental Health and Safety
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