We haven’t dealt with this one (yet!), but we have served students with a number of interesting conditions. We always start (in theory & in conversation) with first principles:
1. Nobody gets hurt. Our first concern is that the student & the others in the lab are not placed in any increased danger by anything we introduce into the lab. If anything necessary to the lab experience is detrimental to the student’s healing or maintaining health (as judged by the attending healthcare workers), we will encourage the student to find another route.
2. The student succeeds academically. We have an understanding across campus that ‘observing lab work’ is not ‘doing lab work’ & doesn’t get academic credit for lab work.
3. We can’t accommodate everything on short notice – some things take real time to manage.
If the disability is temporary, we encourage the student to delay/reschedule the lab class until they can (1) heal thoroughly and (2) give the class their full attention and effort (i.e., get a good grade).
For this student: It seems to me that eliminating open flames from a lab is merely(!) a matter of spending money for hot plates and adjusting the experiments accordingly. Or open flames can be confined to one area of the lab, for limited use. A student who uses a large piece of equipment (such as a tank on a cart) might be able to arrange for a smaller tank to use in lab, allowing him/her to participate more fully by moving around more freely.
A meeting with the instructor/student/campus disability specialist would help to clarify needs and priorities. Brainstorming with a smart group like that may produce imaginative solutions that no one alone would have considered.
Sheila Kennedy, CHO
Safety Coordinator | Teaching Laboratories
UCSD Chemistry & Biochemistry |MC 0303
Office: (858) 534-0221 | Fax: (858) 534-7687
A college has a student with documented disabilities who will need to bring oxygen with her to class (and Lab!).
I got this from a colleague, and my first concern would be in a lab with open flames.
Have any academics had to work with this and how did you handle it?
Are there any specific OSHA regulations that they need to address?
Joe Crockett, for the Virginia Section ACS
Dr Joseph M Crockett
Professor of Chemistry and Chair
402 East College Street
Bridgewater, VA 22812
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