From: Debbie M. Decker <dmdecker**At_Symbol_Here**UCDAVIS.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Shorts/skirts in Research Labs
Date: Fri, 16 Sep 2016 20:25:35 +0000
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Message-ID: BLUPR08MB534AB7E2A78C443A3C8DC8CC8F30**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <7D5B5FDA-A536-4E73-87B7-DF959CA2AAE7**At_Symbol_Here**>

It's in campus policy that those working in lab must wear long pants (covered legs) and closed shoes (covered feet).  Initially, there was some squawking but people are generally compliant.  There's zero tolerance in teaching labs – if the student isn't properly attired, they're sent away until they are properly attired.  It's in the course syllabus – no excuse.  We also require undergrads to wear 100% cotton lab coats and safety goggles.  Again – they're sent away if they aren't in compliance.  The bookstore sells lab coats and goggles, approved by the campus CHO.


Here's the campus policy:

Here's the systemwide policy:


One of my staff members who manages undergraduate teaching labs favors long skirts and (adorable) leather boots.  She is absolutely in compliance.




Debbie M. Decker, CCHO, ACS Fellow

Immediate Past Chair, Division of Chemical Health and Safety

University of California, Davis




Birkett's hypothesis: "Any chemical reaction

that proceeds smoothly under normal conditions,

can proceed violently in the presence of an idiot."




From: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety [mailto:DCHAS-L@PRINCETON.EDU] On Behalf Of Chance, Brandon
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2016 7:46 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 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.  






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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