From: ACTSNYC**At_Symbol_Here**CS.COM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Academic Facilities: Undergrads in research labs - restrictions?
Date: September 13, 2012 3:13:41 PM EDT
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: <3726b.3f1ddb18.3d838a65**At_Symbol_Here**>

Kim,  I like the idea of an automatic emergency system, even though it may not be activated if one person is suddenly incapacitated.  Nor do I think that calling security would mean that someone would be walking through in the nick of time.  But a record of where someone is at risk might be a good thing. 

Doing both should be considered since two inadequate safety mechanisms are still better than only one inadequate safety mechanism. 

The real issue is that these young budding professionals, still wet behind the ears despite holding a degree or two, should not be put at risk because someone decides there is no budget for paying another safety trained student to monitor the lab or for someone to coordinate the work of two or more night owl researchers to look out for each other.  In my view, someone needs to just add up the figures and estimate what the schools think a student's life is worth. 

I'm trying to go along with this discussion, but my conscience nags.  It clearly is immoral to fail to provide the same buddy system safety protections that apply to ALL other workers in the country.  The risk clearly is unnecessary and only a matter of organization, discipline and money. 

So my questions are:

*  Has anyone costed out just what kind of numbers are involved in providing monitors or coordinating work schedules? 

*  Just what is it about a school laboratory as opposed to an industrial one that justifies putting a price on life this way? 

*  What public good provided by universities is so absolutely paramount that this unnecessary risk is acceptable to so many people on this forum?

I don't really get it.


In a message dated 9/13/2012 12:11:31 PM Eastern Daylight Time, secretary**At_Symbol_Here**DCHAS.ORG writes:

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2012 09:54:57 -0400
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Academic Facilities: Undergrads in research labs - restrictions?
From: Kim Auletta <kim.auletta**At_Symbol_Here**>

Monona - at our place, just calling into the police dispatch may or may not get to the officers on tour. Also, the officers on tour may or may not walk around in the 20 buildings/1000 labs/1100 acres at any frequency that will do any good to alert them that a lab person may be in trouble. That call to security may work at a smaller place.

I've put into the policy to have the lab worker use the automatic alert/alarm/notification system we call "SB Guardian" ( ). It will work better than the call to dispatch, and its promoted on campus for many activities, not just lab work.

Kim Gates Auletta
Laboratory Safety Specialist
Environmental Health &Safety
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-6200
FAX: 631-632-9683
EH&S Web site:

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