To the moderator: Forgive me, but I’m not sure this message from yesterday got distributed. Did I do something wrong, or did my spam filter somehow block the return?
I’m not as familiar with research labs as with industrial workplaces, but there are lots of problems with waivers. First, waivers based on pregnancy would almost certainly be found to be discriminatory by the EEOC. Nor would they be enforceable, at least with respect to the claim of a future child or a partner, for the simple reason that a woman could not sign away their rights. And it’s generally illegal for employers to demand that employees waive their rights under federal or state law in exchange for a job. The situation may be different for students, but I doubt it.
The more important issue is the overall safety of the lab. The school has an obligation to protect the safety of its students – period. There may be some students who, because of allergies or sensitization, should not work with some chemicals. Sufferers from Wilson’s disease should stay away from nickel; persons sensitized by beryllium or TDI shouldn’t work around those materials. But waivers are no substitute for, first, assuring that labs are safe as possible for all students and, second, assuring that the small minority of students at special risk from certain chemicals can get a quality laboratory education without risking their health.
Michael J. Wright
Director of Health, Safety and Environment
See us on the web at www.usw.org
We have recently been tasked with creating a waiver form for students with health conditions such as pregnancy, allergies, etc. This waiver will be signed prior to them beginning work in the research lab. I was wondering if anyone is willing to share a similar waiver form.
Stephanie L. McClouds, MHS
Senior Laboratory Safety Specialist
School of the Sciences
1525 Greenspring Valley Road
Stevenson, Maryland 21153
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