My university is currently involved in discussions concerning how to medically respond to chemical exposures. Our health center is currently only for routine illness and injury among students. On one hand we have the opinion that the best course of action is to do what we can (remove and rinse if appropriate) and call the EMTs. On the other hand, we have the opinion that the health center should become more robust or that we should either hire trained emergency personnel or train all our personnel to be emergency personnel.
I wanted to poll the academic members and see (1) what role does your campus health center play; (2) what role do your lab personnel play; and (3) who are your emergency responders?
What I have been able to find online all seems to point to a policy of lab people rendering basic first aid and calling the EMTs.
Right now our policy has become to bypass the student health center, since they are not equipped to handle chemical exposures, and call the EMTs. This is raising concern among our lab personnel, who consistently have the question of what is minor that we can deal with ourselves and what is major enough to call an ambulance. The university stance is “when in doubt, call”, but the personnel seem to want more guidance. The problem is that every chemical exposure is different because every chemical is different, so we really can’t provide hard and fast guidelines.
Thanks in advance,
Dr. Karalyn (Karen) Humphrey
Laboratory Coordinator, Department Safety Officer & Part-Time Lecturer
Baylor University Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Office: BSB E.111
“Vast worlds lie within the hollows of each atom, multifarious as the motes in a sunbeam.” ~Yoga Vasishtha
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