I read your comments here, and I disagree. 1) Some of line of thinking presented would indicate that due to the unpredictable nature living things - nothing should be allowed in the laboratory. I have seen very competent chemists and researchers due things inadvertently, which had dramatic consequences. There are a number of things that are unpredictable, which impact things in the laboratory, I live in Oklahoma and up until 6 years ago, earthquake planning was very low on our priority list. Thus, we did not teach our students some common sense tips for ensuring stability beyond bumps on tables, etc. Today - we are putting in some more bracing and discussing potential consequences.
2) Service animals are in some cases an asset to the laboratory. Upon my return to academia, I have had some very positive teaching moments due to the presence of a service animal - not just from students but from individuals you would have thought were on board with the safety culture. There has been re-examination of laboratories in the microbiology lab, re-examination of workflow, re-examination of potential hazards, re-examination of responses, etc. Just as other accommodations have provided accessibility for more than just the individual being accommodated, these discussions have made the working and teaching environment better for all. In fact the introduction of a service animal on our campus, has allowed for more discussions between departments, has aided in getting some much needed change moved from a we will get to it - to being completed. And, having worked with the service animal in the teaching laboratory, I can tell you that he has been helpful in identifying some situations earlier that I could have as the instructor and watching for the action. He notices sounds before I do, and he "senses" things prior to my recognition. Thus, when I see him "wake-up," I am looking for a potential hazard. (Note: the service dog that we currently have is a large pitbull, and he is a stability dog - not a pickup dog or a seeing eye dog, or hearing dog, etc. He is very "chill" and most of the time you don't know he is in the room. We position him in locations where he does not create a hazard nor could be exposed to a hazard (like broken glass). But I have had him alert me to hazardous behavior by students on more than one occasion both in the chemistry and physics laboratories.)
3) Finally, there is something that has not been discussed at all and that is the unintended consequence of a non-routine hazard - which can be very positive. I will use the HF example to explain my point. Having worked in the refining industry for over 25 years - I have been around both HF alkylation units, and the handling of HF acid. Additionally, I have been around sulfuric acid units and the handling of sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid units are considered "safer" due to evaluation of the potential catastrophic implications of an uh-oh with HF. (NOTE: I am not debating the safety of either type here and I am not defending one over the other - they both have substantial risks.) Yet, it has been my experience and review that there fewer incidents/injuries within the HF units than within the sulfuric, and I believe that part of the reason is a "healthier" respect for the potential hazards. Having something "different" in the environment does tends to "wake" us up to other and what we perceive as "acceptable" hazards. Thus, making the environment safe for the introduction of a service animal ultimately makes it safer for us all, and has the potential to even alter risky behavior by others.
So, it is not just blindly following the law - there has been a change and we are having to deal with the change. I am not sure how we would have dealt with an accommodation of a different type of dog such as a seizure alert dog, but then we have a different hazard as well. We dealt with changes related to hair styles, clothing, shoes, etc. We will deal with this one as well.
There is one thing that was said that we could use a little more of - individuals are striving to comply. While I know that those of us working in the are striving to comply - I also know individuals that think some of the efforts are just hindrances to getting research done. Some of these individuals aren't even participating in the discussion. After 25 years of the laboratory standard, an increased safety focus from industry, I wish we were further along than where we currently are.
"Roger McClellan" <roger.o.mcclellan**At_Symbol_Here**ATT.NET>To:
Tuesday, September 8, 2015 11:41:31 AMSubject:
Re: [DCHAS-L] Accommodations for a service animal in the lab
I have been following this discussion with interest. My perspective is that of a scientist who has worked with a wide array of chemicals, numerous radionuclides, radiation , blast over pressure and other potential hazardous agents and situations. I also was the senior manager of independent labs that had 150 to 250 employees and had what I viewed as a team of highly competent Health and Environmental Protection Specialists ( typically 4 to 6 full time individuals) The team leader reported directly to me as the CEO. Moreover, I suspect I am the only individual on the list who was trained in Veterinary Medicine. If their is another DVM or VMD on the list I will throw in that I am also a member of the Academy of Medicine and a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology and American Board of Veterinary Toxicology.
However, beyond this background,I always try to approach problems or issues with a practical orientation. I understand laws and regulations and strive to be in compliance.. However, they need to be interpreted and applied with a strong measure of common sense, they should not be followed blindly.
I have observed dogs and worked with dogs over most of my life. They are as unpredictable as Humans!!! I would never allow a dog in an active chemistry or other laboratory. To do so is putting every one else in that laboratory in potential harms way. We have enough difficult educating and training humans to work safely and be capable of responding to unexpected life threatening events. Can any of you predict how a dog would respond? If you claim to do so I want to know your basis of experience.
I think many individuals who been weighing in on this e-mail are focusing on the dog, the dogs owner, blind compliance with the law and/or your emotions.
I love animals in their place. I am very supportive of the role of dogs as service or therapy companions. They are frequently a source of "unconditional love". Think about that for a minute. They will respond in many situations without rational thought including situations that involve their human companion. Have you ever seen what a dog will do to protect its human companion. Is that the situation we want in a laboratory that is potentially hazardous. I do not think so.
If some one, including a lawyer, thinks we must comply with the law then I suggest you ask them how they plan to defend the institution against the law suit filed by the survivor of others who were in the laboratory when the accident happened and was aggravated by the service/ therapy dogs actions.
Let's remember that common sense should be applied in all situations.
Roger O. McClellan
On Friday, September 4, 2015 2:04 PM, "Frazier, Alicia S" <Alicia.S.Frazier**At_Symbol_Here**TSOCORP.COM> wrote:
The problem that I see with the waiver approach is that if the dog places other students in danger. The owner can theoretically waive the safety of the dog but the owner cannot endanger other students. Even if the dog is well trained one could question how well the dog will respond if say, splashed with a caustic substance.
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**med.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Ellen M. Sweet
Sent: Friday, September 04, 2015 12:42 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Accommodations for a service animal in the lab
I forwarded this thread to my husband who has a different perspective on the ADA rules. He provides contact information for other specific questions. Please see below.
I looked at the UGA policy contained in this thread and I do have some problems with it. Under the ADA, colleges and universities must allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas of the facility that are open to the public or to students. In the UGA policy they discuss prohibitive areas that are subjective to the opinion of the person making the decision. Under ADA there are very few instances where the animal can be denied. An example would be a sterile operating room or in a research setting a "clean" room. UGA seeks to broaden their policy so they have broader latitude in their denials. This is problematic in itself as the ADA allows for reasonable modification of policies and procedures that the student could seek and the university must consider under the law. You cannot "policy" away your responsibility under the law.
What needs to be looked at in a broader sense is reasonable accommodation. Universities and businesses need to look more broadly at what efforts could be made to modify their policies or practices to accommodate the individual. Certainly there will be instances where that may change the fundamental nature of the environment in which case a denial may be merited.
The one thing that ADA is clear on is that the responsibility of the care and safety of the dog is fully on the owner. It is understandable to worry about an animal's safety but that is never the call of another party. It would be acceptable as an accommodation to have the individual sign a waiver that states they were informed of all the risks prior to being allowed in the lab.
I have included a link to the ADA guide on service animals.
Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals | ADA National Network
(Printer-friendly WORD version| 1.98MB)
People can also call 1-800-949-4232 to talk to their regional ADA Centers for technical assistance.
Chris Sweet, MS
Northeast ADA Center
Employment and Disability Institute
ILR School, Cornell University
312 Dolgen Hall
Ithaca NY 14853
Disclaimer: The Northeast ADA Center is not involved in the enforcement of the ADA and does not provide legal advice.
ToVictoria and the group.
MyDaughter is disabled and uses aa service dog. She holds 2 batchelors degrees and 2 Master's degrees, one in specialEducation and one in Science Education. She hsa taught at various level in the public schools, including various laoratory classes.
I asked her about this issue and her reply is included here.
The things I have done with my dogs include use of a kennel out of the way of everything even if possible in a neighboring office to ensure safety.. At a minimum the dog should be given a place away from the center of activity where it is not likely to be stepped on, spilled on etc.
Think about areas where things are stored that are not part of the lab, backpacks etc where things are going to be relatively safe.
I am trying to make accommodations for a service dog in teaching labs at the university. The students are required to wear closed-toe shoes and safety glasses as a minimum. We have a policy for service animals on campus, however, it doesn't really have any safety measures for the animals when they are in labs. Does anyone know of ways to keep the animal safe or have any experience with this type of situation?
Thanks for any help you are able to give.
Laboratory Safety Coordinator, CAS/RSENR
UVM's Risk Management and Safety
Environmental Safety Facility
Frankie Wood-Black, Ph.D., REM, MBA
Principal - Sophic Pursuits
6855 Lake Road
Ponca City, OK 74604