From: "Dube, Mike (JUS)" <Mike.J.Dube**At_Symbol_Here**ONTARIO.CA>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] lab coat question
Date: June 7, 2012 11:18:30 AM EDT
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: <4FD06AC4020000890007886A**At_Symbol_Here**>

Further to the comments below.

I have been an instructor for high-hazard/hazardous work environments
for 25 years. In every workshop/lab environment/scenario ground that I
have instructed in, male and female students must follow a rule - wear
the proper attire for the present hazard/work environment or leave.
There are no compromises for safety. I would never entertain a students
objection to wearing safety equipment, even on hot days. That would be
similar to me telling my captain that I did not wear my bunker coat
during live-fire training because it was "too hot". Laboratory work has
hidden hazards; the laboratory is a work site. There are rules. There
should not be another student being burned, injured or killed in a
school setting! I would much rather have a student sitting with her
irate parents beside her, in a college hearing, angrily stating it is
unfair to require them to wear lab coats, long pants, appropriate tops,
safety glasses, etc., than be sitting at a hospital or across from the
family in a courtroom, trying to explain why their daughter was
injured/scarred/disfigured/burned/blown up or other nasty things. The
lab is also a model of the real world. Industrial settings take on a
huge risk for liability if they do not enforce safety. The student takes
on a huge risk for them to safely and successfully complete their course
of study or remain safely and gainfully employed. Employers must not
scrimp on safety. Schools should be no different.

Michael J. Dube
Program Specialist

Emergency Preparedness and Response Unit (EPRU)

Office of the Fire Marshal of Ontario (OFM)
Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS)
Office: (705)687-9696
Cell: (705) 715-4768
Pager: (705) 735-5935
Fax: (705) 687-8636

-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf
Of Katherine Wall
Sent: June 7, 2012 9:48 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] lab coat question


The chemistry doesn't change with the seasons. I tell students to pack
a bag with appropriate clothes and shoes for lab. We are a community
college and I can't get past the instructors to require lab coats, but
long pants and closed toe and heel shoes are a must. We will have the
occasional girl with an inappropriate top. Either I or the instructor
will go to her and quietly tell her it is inappropriate for lab. See if
you can't require lab coats. I wish I could!

Good luck!

Kathy Wall
Chemistry Lab Coordinator
Chemistry Adjunct Instructor
SCI 204, 630-466-2347
Waubonsee Community College

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David Roberts 6/6/2012 2:25 PM >>>
Sorry to re-hash old issues. Can somebody please help me in thinking
about lab coats as a means of PPE? When places have a lab coat policy -
where do you get them washed (what contractors do you hire for this, or
what has to be done to generate an in house service)? What kind of
costs are we talking about here?

We are a small, undergrad only University. We take safety seriously,
but frankly, we don't do a lot of extremely dangerous things. We have
2000 students total, of which we have about 35 or so chemistry majors a
year. Of that, about 10 do research, so the numbers are small, and
faculty guidance is present. At present, we obviously do not use lab
coats because we have not figured out how to launder them. In some labs
with infectious agents, we use disposable lab coats (and we properly
manage them). But I feel in the synthetic chemistry labs, disposable
coats aren't proper (plus, they are not made of the correct material for
organic synthesis). Just as a side, we have over 65 fume hoods in our
small space. All of the students do everything in hoods - so really the
hope is that there is no need to deal with spilling. We teach them to
work behind the fume hood glass, which is very effective but not always
practical (so there are of course times when they have a potential to
have an accident and spill on themselves). We try to take that all out
of the equation, and have done a good job thus far, but nothing is

On a similar note - in the summer months, how do you specify a "minimum"
bit of lab clothing to be worn by people. If you allow shorts - do you
specify a minimum length, and with shirts, do you have any specifics on
minimum coverage?

All of this is related if you didn't guess. We have students that we
want to cover up, and so we are just looking for ways to do this

Thanks for any help


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