From: drsamples**At_Symbol_Here**COMCAST.NET
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Workplace and Laboratory Attire
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2013 19:31:14 +0000
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 1907337490.3702307.1381433474858.JavaMail.root**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <002001cec51f$fcad0aa0$f6071fe0$**At_Symbol_Here**net>

Dear All,

My experience in college and high school teaching is that students will get away with whatever you let them get away with!  Many students think safety rules are "stupid", so even though they may know them, they won't follow them unless they are mandated to. That means kicking them out of the lab until they come back appropriately dressed. Don't be fooled by sad expressions, and statements that "they don't have anything appropriate to wear", this is a test of the rules and whether you really mean it or not. Don't fall for this trick; stick to the rules!

Also, it is sadly true that there are faculty/teachers out there who also think the rules are "stupid" and don't enforce them. I know chemistry faculty who think it is OK to wear clogs or even sandals, shorts or short skirts, short halter tops, etc. Half of the students in these labs don't wear their goggles as the rule is rarely enforced. So industry is getting a number of students who get a mixed message about PPE. They may have heard the rules, but they weren't enforced, so the rules are meaningless.


Marjorie Samples
Chemistry Professor
Folsom Lake College

From: "Laurence Doemeny" <ldoemeny**At_Symbol_Here**COX.NET>
Sent: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 11:47:21 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Workplace and Laboratory Attire

The replies from Barbara Foster, Roger McClellan and Russell Vernon are very appropriate.  However the question makes me wonder what kind of education/training are these second and third year chemistry majors receiving with respect to laboratory safety.  At this stage in their education they should understand what is the basic lab attire and be prepared to enter the lab wearing that attire.  It seems that some in the academic community have yet to get an equivalent message. 


Your sources of students need some guidance too.


Laurence Doemeny

From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Peifer, Patricia
Sent: Wednesday, October 09, 2013 9:35 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Workplace and Laboratory Attire




I work for a company that accepts college students as  paid summer interns and also as 6-month term Co-Ops.   The students we accept are majors in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Biology.   They are sophomore and junior level students. 


We are having problems with the attire of many of the young ladies who come to us.  The young men have so far not presented any problems.  The problems are these:

1.       The student has accepted an internship or Co-Op with us that involves working in chemistry laboratory.  I am sure they have all taken a college level chemistry class, probably several.  Yet they show up on the first day with cloth sneakers, sandals, leggings that expose half their bare leg, etc.  When told that this is not proper lab attire, they are confused and reply that they have nothing of the sort we consider proper.  We require pants (or a skirt ) that covers the entire leg and a shoe that covers their entire foot and is leather or fake leather..  We even buy them an appropriate shoe, they just have to have something that will get them by for the 5 or 6 days it takes for the company-provided shoe to come in.  It is sometimes a real struggle - they don't have a shoe that will get them by, they have absolutely no appropriate pants (or so they say), when the ordered shoe comes in they for some reason "forget" to wear it into the lab, I could go on and on. 

2.       Attire that is simply not appropriate for the business environment.  Very short skirts, overly sheer tops, crop tops that expose the belly, extremely high heels, etc.  A Human Resources colleague of mine describes it as "hooker attire".  Maybe a little exaggerated, but you get the idea.  Our company has on at least one occasion sent an intern home to change clothing, and there are many other instances where we SHOULD have sent someone home.


These young ladies are majoring in a hard subjects and get good grades or we would not accept them as interns or Co-Ops.  I do not think they realize how bad they make themselves look when employers have to speak with them about their attire.  I also think they do not realize how hard previous generations of women have fought for women to be taken seriously in the workplace.  Their dress does not advance that cause.


I am going to suggest that my company send out information to potential interns on dress requirements especially for chemical laboratories.  Academic institutions can certainly help provide guidance on this too.  I think parents used to do this, but I believe that is over.    


Thank you for listening.  Yes, I am old and growing increasingly grumpy.  And I wear slip-resistant shoes that cover my entire foot and look rather dorky because I choose to work in a chemistry laboratory.   


Pat Peifer, CCHO

Safety and Chemical Hygiene Specialist


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