Thanks to Erik for digging out the original link to my C&EN comment.
At my company (Nalco), this issue evolved over many years. My personal
preference was that I be present whenever photographers were taking pictures
in the lab. But this was not practical, often because I did not know the
photographer was coming. Photographers sometimes have their own ideas about
how a photograph should look. Those experienced in taking photos in
chemistry labs usually were not a problem. The "novices" would object to
people wearing glasses because "the lighting causes a glare." I would ask
them if they would ask the President of the United States or a corporate CEO
to remove his/her glasses. It's their problem as a photographer, not mine.
Erik mentions a major consideration. Writing a standard policy is difficult
because there are so many variables in lab settings. What's in the
background? Is there a coffee cup on the lab bench behind the subject? Are
others in the lab not wearing appropriate PPE? Are there areas of extreme
clutter in the background? Equipment or lab coats hanging from the gas
handles on the hoods? Signs or cartoons that are objectionable? In
industry, we had to consider whether anything in the photo would reveal
proprietary information (perhaps a specialized piece of equipment or a
labeled chemical that would reveal current research in a specific area). To
paraphrase a statement of a Supreme Court justice, I can't tell you
everything that would be a lab safety violation, but I know a violation when
I see it.
My biggest worry was always the company Annual Report. Eventually, with the
strong support of our VP of R&D, I reached an arrangement with our
Communications Department that I had to personally approve every photo of a
lab that was going to be used in the annual report. This eventually
extended to other company publications. Once I received a photo of our CEO
"standing in the lab" without wearing glasses. The people who submitted the
photo told me that he wasn't actually standing in the lab; his picture was
superimposed to look like he was standing in the lab. My response was that
if he looked like he was standing in the lab without appropriate PPE, the
photo was unacceptable. My major talking point in every encounter about
photographs was that the organization is spending time and money to prepare
this publication to improve the image of the organization. Why include a
red flag photo that broadcasts "this organization is not serious about
safety (maybe not even very professional) if they let their employees,
students, or visitors violate standard safety policy?"
From: Erik A Talley
Sent: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 8:41 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] EH&S photo safety tips?
What seems like only yesterday (2004), Ken Fivizzani wrote an article in
C&EN to raise the awareness of chemists about the issue of photography and
proper PPE. Here is the article, "Look Over Those Lab Photos."
Since then, I started watching publications for these types of issues. What
has been most effective at my campus is to collect the photos, mostly of
Cornell campus situations, and present them back to the groups producing
them. Most of these have been one-to-one conversations, but earlier this
year I met with our web communications, art & photography, and public
affairs departments in a combined meeting to show them the photos and talk
about the issues. For us, the issue is a combination of not knowing what is
right/wrong and taking the pic based on what would look "cool" as opposed to
what is expected in an actual situation. They now understand the issue and
globally it is better. I can tell you it made a huge difference to see their
own photos rather than just something found on the Internet.
We are also on the lookout for departmental issues. Many departments have
their own websites, TVs in public spaces with scrolling images, etc. that
they are responsible for populating.
I've asked the question on a policy/procedure of this group and others in
the past and have never seen a procedure that I could model. I think one of
the issues is that there are so many variables. I tried to stop the basics
(lab coat, gloves, etc.) and requested they contact us whenever they have
any questions. When you take a cool picture of a MRI being lowered through
the roof of a building, who knew the people standing on the edge needed fall
protection in addition to the hard hats they knew were needed in the pic? So
This is a great topic and one that definitely has an impact on the overall
safety culture of an institution.
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Have any of you ever put together "photo safety tips"? Our communication I know there's always feedback on other photos/video that make this list - thanks! Kim Gates Previous post | Top of Page | Next post
Sent: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 10:56 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] EH&S photo safety tips?
office has taken some publicity type photos and they don't always show the
best lab safety practices. I've been asked to put together a guideline for
them to use during these photo sessions in labs and non-lab areas on campus.
mostly about PPE. I thought an easy to follow guide might help the
Laboratory Safety Specialist
Environmental Health & Safety
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-6200
EH&S Web site: http://www.stonybrook.edu/ehs/lab/
Have any of you ever put together "photo safety tips"? Our communication
I know there's always feedback on other photos/video that make this list -
Kim Gates Previous post | Top of Page | Next post
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