From: Monona Rossol <actsnyc**At_Symbol_Here**>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Body piercings on laboratory researchers working in a chemical laboratory.
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2014 10:16:35 -0500
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 8D1082F5D5C2AB6-1994-1414E**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <4944AC39F6A3BA49BDDDF47E69503A4E0D5A3793**At_Symbol_Here**>

Very interesting., Jafreen,
1.  First,  no where did I say that the sandals were required by the religion.  I just said that where I was, you couldn't get the students to wear anything else.
2.  I was told repeatedly by administrators and department heads, some of which were Muslim, about the male hands-off policy.  I am not a religion expert, I am a safety expert.  When the college administrators make it clear that that is the policy that I must consider, then consider it I must when I write my reports.  So your argument is with these administrators and not with me. 
3.   There are lab coats with sleeves that have elastic at the wrist which would work better for this purpose than the open sleeve types.
4.   There were only a few students who wore a burqa.  Most wore a garment that was made of a very loose flowing black fabric from the neck to the floor which they called an Abaya.  The type of head scarf was one I did not see when I googled them just now.  But they called it something that started with an "s" sounding like "shala."  The way they wore it wound around their necks resulted in a tail of fabric which kept falling lose.  They often were putting these back in place over their shoulders.  As I understand it, there are many different styles and ethnic varieties of these garments.  But the ones I observed were inconsistent with working on a table saw or welding.  Welding in particular requires the fabric to be fire resistant through out--head to toe, with no pockets, cuffs, gaps or folds where sparks can lodge. 
5.  I have no issue with opening courses to either disabled students or people with religious restrictions affecting their attire.  And I believe the school should bear the cost of special clothing, respiratory protection or what ever is needed.  But if, despite special gear, this student is put at a greater risk of harm than the other students, that is a deal-breaker.  And whether or not these individuals feel they have the right to put themselves at risk is irrelevant to me personally.  My job is assessing risk. And while there are some school administrators who decide to keep the peace by putting students at risk, that is on their heads, not mine. 
This safety professional is never willing endorse a policy which will put you or any other student or employee in harms way. 
Monona Rossol, M.S., M.F.A., Industrial Hygienist
President:  Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety, Inc.
Safety Officer: Local USA829, IATSE
181 Thompson St., #23
New York, NY 10012     212-777-0062

-----Original Message-----
From: Sadeque, Jafreen <jsadeque**At_Symbol_Here**IUPUI.EDU>
Sent: Wed, Mar 5, 2014 2:48 pm
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Body piercings on laboratory researchers working in a chemical laboratory.

Thank you for those 4 cents that provide a nice summary.

Monona and Debbie,

I actually wear headscarves and loose-fitting garments.  I have worked in chemistry and biology labs at universities and companies, and also done printmaking but not welding.  I have never encountered any problem with wearing my headscarf.  Wearing a lab coat over my clothing keeps everything together, and if the scarf is tucked into the coat, it is definitely not a contamination problem, fire hazard, etc.  When I was an undergrad, my institution did not require lab coats, but even there I never encountered any problem with my scarf although from a safety standpoint, I think lab coats should have been required for everyone.  Lab coats actually have pretty wide sleeves, I think.  Are you having problems with the lab member's sleeves falling out of the lab coat?  How about lab coats with cuffed sleeves?  Is the lab member refusing to tuck the scarf into their coat?  If so, I am happy to speak with them directly to help mediate a solution.

In terms of footwear, I have never encountered a situation where safe footwear contradicts anyone's religious beliefs, which is why I wanted to know more about the issue.  From my understanding of Islam and Muslims, which is strongly implied that that is the population you are talking about, sandals are not required footwear and was shocked by the nature of the comment.

In terms of "male cannot touch one of these girls even if she is on fire," this is completely wrong, and the manner in which it was addressed really concerned me.  I cannot speak on behalf of the personal views of the women who work in your labs, but it is very upsetting that from what was written, it sounded like the women themselves were not actually consulted but instead the hearsay was added as a way to show how crazy the group of people in question, Muslim women, were.  I doubt that even if someone for whatever reason did not want to be saved in a fire, you would not still rescue them.  However, I don't know the specifics of your institutional regulations and state laws, which is why I wrote in with questions that would be relevant if someone would not want to be saved--for whatever reason.

One thing I have learned from working with students and colleagues with disabilities is that (a) the law can be very different from what's currently considered obvious, (b) what might be an "obvious" safety hazard may really not be so or can be modified so that it isn't, and (c) there are many solutions to situations that seem impossible, which is an encouraging thought when needing to work with a diverse body of people.  Would you think that a blind person could become a physician?  Well, I know someone who got an MD and PhD and has been blind since childhood, and he did and does an excellent job.  Same for a quadriplegic MD.  In that context, it does not seem unreasonable for people to work in wood or weld and be able to follow their religious beliefs.

I'd be happy to answer any questions you have for me personally as someone who has worn headscarves and loose garments and worked in labs.

Best wishes,

From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] on behalf of Alan Hall [ahalltoxic**At_Symbol_Here**GMAIL.COM]
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 2:24 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Body piercings on laboratory researchers working in a chemical laboratory.


2 cents worth.

In pre-hospital and hospital-ED emergency Medicine/Para-medicine response, at least in the US, we have two things:

1)  The doctrine of implied consent -- if an ill or injured patient is unable to give consent, the responder/caregiver must assume that the patient would want to be saved/treated/helped.

2) The Good Samaritan Principle:  a healthcare professional who renders aid in an emergency situation cannot be held liable for any not-so-good-outcomes unless there was gross negligence.  I no longer do it often, but if I am driving and come upon an auto accident with apparently injured folks and no police or Fire/EMS folks are on the scene, I will stop and render what aid I can -- in some cases this means stopping other untrained and well-wishing persons for making injuries worse. 

While I respect all persons' beliefs and faiths even if I practice none of them myself, once we get past the ADA issues, if they want to be in the lab then they have to abide by the rules, or else they can't be there.  Why not just a little Texas hoss-sense and be willing to say: "Do so or stay the backside of the moon out?"

There are 4 basic principles of ethics in medical care, and most folks only remember the first one -- and they are at times mutually contradicitive and cannot all be done in every case:

1.  Non-malfeasance:  "First of all, do no harm."

2:  Beneficence:  At the same time, try like all get out to do some good.

3.  Autonomy:  A competent patient has the right to refuse care.

4.  Informed Consent:  A competent patient of legally designated guardian, etc. has the right to have proposed care explained in a thorough manner before making a choice to accept or refuse the care proposed.

Try and balance all those in a case of a patient arriving in the ED with a life-threatening injury, illness of poisoning, do not add butter and salt or serve.

That's probably 4 cents worth, and not worth 4 cents (sense).

Alan H. Hall, M.D.
Medical Toxicologist
Former 20-years Board-Certified in Emergency Medicine

On Tue, Mar 4, 2014 at 6:30 PM, Sadeque, Jafreen <jsadeque**At_Symbol_Here**> wrote:
I wanted to provide clarification on my 2nd paragraph.  I want to emphasize that my current and previous comments do not relate to issues of faith, but rather on safety, individual choice and institutional decisions.

My first concern about being "warned to understand that a male cannot touch one of these girls even if she is on fire" is what is the practical application of that?  In an emergency, do you provide assistance that you suspect the student would deny if they were able to give/withdraw consent, or do you go ahead and provide assistance?  The foundation of the answer to this question would be based on laws and institutional policies.  However, in life-and-death and even less serious situations, it is first necessary to determine the factual accuracy of someone's wishes.  This type of questions arises in hospitals with issues of resuscitation, any medical procedure for someone who cannot provide informed consent, etc.

My second thought is that if someone has specific wishes related to medical/safety assistance during emergencies, then how should that be handled?  First, I would think it would be the responsibility of the student/employee to make those wishes known, but the responsibility of the institution to say something like, "If you have special needs then inform us" because the student/employee may not know how to handle the issue (very likely if they are a student--I am speaking about this from experience with students with disabilities).  Second, if a student does have requests, not wanting to be touched by the opposite gender in Monona's example, then to what extent is it necessary to abide by them in an emergency?  The answer to that would, of course, depend on the request and may be something that requires other departments of the institution than just lab personnel.

From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] on behalf of Sadeque, Jafreen
Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2014 4:24 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Body piercings on laboratory researchers working in a chemical laboratory.

Sorry, I was wondering about the "And just TRY to get them out of their sandals!"  Did one of your students who wears an abaya refuse to wear close-toed shoes instead of, what I am assuming, are open-toed flimsy sandals?  Could you explain their reservation with changing footwear?

Also, by whom were you warned that "a male cannot touch one of these girls even if she is on fire"?  Was it a female student in an abaya herself?  I ask because I am in the medical profession and have performed physical exams on people of different genders of different faiths.  To keep it simple, I am aware that on many issues, even things such as blood transfusions, what one person says members of a religion believe can be completely incorrect, and even those that observe a particular faith can have beliefs not representative or even considered acceptable by all members of their faith.

From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] on behalf of Monona Rossol [actsnyc**At_Symbol_Here**CS.COM]
Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2014 2:40 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Body piercings on laboratory researchers working in a chemical laboratory.

Oh thank you for covering this, Debbie.  This is all too true.  I consulted with Zayed University run by NYU at campuses in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. And someone on this forum asked "why special rules for these people?"   Well, because these garments flow EVERYWHERE, not just a head scarf or sleave issue.  And just TRY to get them out of their sandals!   And you won't know they are wearing them.  And their vision can be restricted in some cases. 
I was warned to understand that a male cannot touch one of these girls even if she is on fire.  
And in my case, in addition to solvent painting and acid etching in printmaking, they wanted to do woodworking and welding.  Go figure.
Monona Rossol, M.S., M.F.A., Industrial Hygienist
President:  Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety, Inc.
Safety Officer: Local USA829, IATSE
181 Thompson St., #23
New York, NY 10012     212-777-0062

-----Original Message-----
From: Brandon S. Chance <bchance**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Sent: Tue, Mar 4, 2014 10:25 am
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Body piercings on laboratory researchers working in a chemical laboratory.


Below is a post from my previous life overseas addressing abayas and other culturally sensitive dress parameters while in the Middle East.

"As the lab safety manager for Texas A&M University at Qatar, I feel uniquely qualified to answer this question as at least 50% of our female students wear either the Burka or Hijab. I will briefly outline the PPE requirements we use for Organic Chemistry Laboratory (which I also used to teach here) below.
Basically, lab coats with elastic cuffs are required to secure loose sleeves from the abaya.  The Hijab or Burka is required to be securely tucked into the lab coat collar.  For those students that wear a Burka, we require them to wear a surgical mask in lieu of the facial covering (it basically covers the same amount as the Burka).  Of course goggles and closed-toed shoes are required.  In the 5 years I have been here, this has been the standard policy and we have not had any negative feedback.  Thus far, we have not had any students that insist on wearing the full face veil covering everything including their eyes.  Some wear this in the hallways, but have no problem removing it for lab courses (all of our courses are coeducational).
Another thing you may want to be aware of is male TAs or faculty responsibilities for the students.  I assume your lab instructors are trained to render basic first aid or deal with chemical spills on a student.  Due to religious sensitivities, if this is the case, it is a good idea for the instructor to ask for a female volunteer to act as a "helper" in emergencies as the male instructor will not be allowed to touch a conservative female muslim student.  It could be something as simple as the female volunteer applying a bandage or manning a  drench shower."

I also wanted to mention that in the case of Mechanical Engineering labs and machine shops, they wore coveralls in order to deal with the loose sleeve issue.

Brandon S. Chance, M.S., CCHO
Program Manager, Chemical Safety
Environmental Health and Safety
Princeton University
262 Alexander Street
Princeton, NJ 08540
609-258-7882 (office)
609-955-1289 (mobile)

"The second I feel like I made it, the second I feel like I've arrived, that's the second someone will take my spot. And I like my spot." J.J. Watt - Houston Texans

From: "Debbie M. Decker" <dmdecker**At_Symbol_Here**UCDAVIS.EDU>
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Date: Monday, March 3, 2014 at 6:01 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Body piercings on laboratory researchers working in a chemical laboratory.

I'd also be interested in anyone who might have a policy on flowing head scarves or wide sleeves on garments.
Debbie M. Decker, CCHO
Safety Manager
Department of Chemistry
University of California, Davis
122 Chemistry
1 Shields Ave.
Davis, CA  95616
Birkett's hypothesis: "Any chemical reaction
that proceeds smoothly under normal conditions,
can proceed violently in the presence of an idiot."
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Rupkey, Steven A.
Sent: Monday, March 03, 2014 1:33 PM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Body piercings on laboratory researchers working in a chemical laboratory.
Has anyone had to address the need for an ESH policy on prohibiting, permitting and/or limiting facial and/or body piercings on laboratory researchers ? 
Can you share you policies? 
Steve Rupkey, CIH
ESH-QA Safety Manager
ESQ Division
Argonne National Laboratory
9700 S. Cass Avenue, Bldg. 200/R-001
Argonne, IL 60439-4832

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