From: Monona Rossol <actsnyc**At_Symbol_Here**cs.com>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Class sizes
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 08:13:13 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
The only time I saw a rule that enforced the 25 class-size was in New Jersey by the Public Employees OSHA (PEOSHA). They set up an incredibly effective right to know program in about 1985 with mandatory yearly training. The initial training was 4 hours. Refreshers were two hours. There were mandatory tests after each. The tests and sign in sheets were kept by the employer and those sheets could not contain more than 25 students at a time. The program was so good that after 5 or 6 years of this regular training, I could walk into a class of 25 custodians and they would already understand concepts like synergistic exposures.
And PEOSHA was a tiger. When they found out that Rutgers art department had never done their training some 3 years after they were required to do it, they stopped classes. No teacher could teach until they had done their 4 hours and passed the test. I was one of the two trainers that worked two days morning and afternoon to get all of the faculty and staff trained. I still smile when I think of those grumbling teachers who actually had to apply themselves and pass the test. So don't tell me that enforcement doesn't work either.
One of the most brilliant parts of the NJ training was a requirement that the trainer provide an MSDS on an actual product they use and to compare the information on that MSDS with the information from NJ Health Department's fact sheets on the same chemicals. And those fact sheets also tell workers when chemicals have NOT been tested for toxic effects as well. So every employee left KNOWING that most MSDSs suck and that if they really want to know about those ingredients, the answers were only a click away.
You might want to check out "NJ right to know hazardous chemical fact sheets" if you don't already know about them. And like California's health department, NJDOH proactively looks at research and makes their own determinations about which chemicals are carcinogens.
But like all training rules that actually work, it had to come to an end. In 1993 when Governor Whitman (of later EPA infamy) came into office she started chopping away at the PEOSHA and environmental programs in the state. I stopped doing the new post-Whitman training which was every two years, short, less effective, and enforcement was limited. It was no fun anymore.
But I feel privileged to have seen that training and enforcement really can work.
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
From: David C. Finster <dfinster**At_Symbol_Here**WITTENBERG.EDU>
To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Sent: Mon, Apr 14, 2014 10:31 pm
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Class sizes
For colleges and universities, the Committee on Professional Training of the American Chemical Society states in the 2008 Guidelines that "The number of students
supervised by a faculty member or a by a teaching assistant should not exceed 25." This is non-regulatory, but could be considered "good practice".
The same limit (24 students) is recommended in this 2012 ACS booklet on page 14:
The only caveat worth noting about "good practice" parallels the idea of "standard of care" in the medical field. If something goes wrong, and a lawsuit ensues,
one would not like to defend why "we were not following =E2=80=98good practice' as defined in the field." Perhaps this can used to help convince those with the authority to adjust lab sizes to consider the possible future effects (risks) of >24 students. Likely,
financial concerns drive these decisions that allow >24, but as with so many decisions one must weigh the cost of "large labs" with the possible cost of some future lawsuit. (This ignores the "cost" to injured persons, of course - which could be permanent
damage or death.)
I am unaware of any state or national regulations about lab size; perhaps others will know better.
Last year or so there was discussion about class sizes for chemistry lab classes. Are those sizes mandated by a regulatory agency or suggested by a non regulating organization. The specific problem I need to address is potential overcrowding in high school
labs designed for 24 students. Current attitudes in education are financily driven not safety driven.
Sent from my U.S. Cellular =AE Android-powered device
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