From: "Wilhelm, Monique" <mwilhelm**At_Symbol_Here**UMFLINT.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Shorts/skirts in Research Labs
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2016 16:00:12 +0000
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Message-ID: 1109037139E1524980CF9CBEB2476618010ACD5C12**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <7D5B5FDA-A536-4E73-87B7-DF959CA2AAE7**At_Symbol_Here**>

Because I am in a Chemistry dept, our dept policy whenever there is work with hazardous chemicals (undergrad teaching labs, grad labs, and research labs) is as follows:


á       Proper attire that covers the body from the chest to the toes must be worn at all times!  Any exposed clothing or coverings should not be allowed to hang loose or be made of synthetic fabric.


If not working with hazardous chemicals, their risk assessment can give an exception.


Monique Wilhelm

Laboratory Manager

Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

University of Michigan - Flint


From: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety [mailto:DCHAS-L@PRINCETON.EDU] On Behalf Of Chance, Brandon
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2016 10:46 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Shorts/skirts in Research Labs




I figure its about time to dredge up this old topic again. After scrolling through the listserv archives, I am curious to how all of you handle shorts/skirts in the research labs.  I know most of you have policies either requiring, or at least recommending long pants.  Some may even be a bit looser and be okay with shorts/skirts as long as a lab coat is worn that covers to the knees.   From personal experience, shorts were allowed (although not "recommended") while I was in grad school in undergrad teaching labs and graduate research labs (early-mid 2000s). 


Enforcement in undergradaute labs is relatively easy in my opinion - if a student is not following procedures outlined by the instructor, they donŐt participate in the lab.  I am curious as to how you enforce a "no shorts" rule in an academic research labs.  I train to a "risk assessment" approach and try and teach students, postdocs, and PIs to make good decisions based on the hazards present within their work spaces by performing cursory risk assessments on everything they do.  Blanket "lab threshold-type" policies I do not think are that effective and call into question EHS credibility - hence my risk-based approach to PPE.     


Closed toed/top shoes and eye protection requirements for researchers are usually met without much argument.  However, the shorts/skirt seems to draw a lot more debate.  






Brandon S. Chance, M.S., CCHO

Associate Director of Environmental Health and Safety

Office of Risk Management

Southern Methodist University 

PO Box 750231 | Dallas, TX  75275-0231

T) 214.768.2430 | M) 469-978-8664


"… our job in safety is to make the task happen, SAFELY; not to interfere with the work…" Neal Langerman



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