From: "Chance, Brandon" <bchance**At_Symbol_Here**MAIL.SMU.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Shorts/skirts in Research Labs
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2016 17:36:16 +0000
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Message-ID: 89F4265B-6132-43D5-994A-CAE87781102A**At_Symbol_Here**smu.edu


Monique,

The synthetic fabric issue spurs a whole other dilemma.  While I definitely agree in principle – almost any modern tennis shoe/trainer/sneaker (terminology depends on region of USA) is going to have synthetic fabric components.  The only option to truly apply "chest to toes" would be to require all cotton (Keds and Converse) or all leather footwear.  Anything “dri-fit” will be synthetic – meaning most of the performance university t-shirts available at any bookstore would also be off the table.   All-cotton garments with leather boots was a requirement during my time in industry, but the feasibility of enforcement in an academic setting would be very challenging.   I understand the policy and most of our members probably have similar policy – its the enforcement and feasibility that I have been pondering. 

I once had a fire instructor tell me, "if the fire burns through your turnouts, then your synthetics underneath should be the least of your worries." I would wonder if the same logic applies here – as long as the students are wearing the proper rated lab coat (FR in pyrophoric and heavy flammable load labs and cotton in medium to low hazard), would regulating what is completely covered by the coat be reasonable?  

Does anyone have any case studies of injuries or burns that resulted from a flash fire where the person was wearing proper PPE, yet their synthetics caused further injury?  I know of military and firefighter examples of this (Under Armour developed their “charged cotton” line after the military banned their synthetics on the front lines) – but was curious on the lab side. 

http://archive.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=15478 for military reference
http://www.fs.fed.us/t-d/pubs/pdfpubs/pdf08512348/pdf08512348dpi72.pdf – interesting paper comparing cotton to Under Armour undershirts for wildland firefighters wearing an FR outer layer.  

I didn’t plan on hijacking the shorts thread into a synthetic thread so early on – but synthetics are just another piece to the puzzle. 

From all my southern and beach states, how was your shorts situation this summer?

Regards,

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
bchance@smu.edu

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



From: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety on behalf of "Wilhelm, Monique"
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety
Date: Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at 11:00 AM
To: "DCHAS-L@PRINCETON.EDU"
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Shorts/skirts in Research Labs

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:

 

Š       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
To: DCHAS-L@PRINCETON.EDU
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Shorts/skirts in Research Labs

 

DCHASers, 

 

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 don’t 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.  

 

Thoughts?

 

Regards,

 

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

 

 

This e-mail is from DCHAS-L, the e-mail list of the ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety. For more information about the list, contact the Divisional secretary at secretary@dchas.org

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