I'd go one step further. Spandex, polyester and similar materials should never be in any lab that handles flammable liquids – which I assume is most labs – even with scrubs over them. If a flammable liquid gets on cotton scrubs, it will burn through in seconds. At that point the rubber/plastic clothing will melt to the skin and probably ignite. I've investigated accidents where victims have died because they were wearing that stuff, and would probably have lived were they wearing cotton or wool. I'm not saying they should all be wearing Nomex (although it's not a bad idea), but at least they shouldn't be wearing clothes that will make the problem worse.
Michael J. Wright
Director of Health, Safety and Environment
See us on the web at www.usw.org
Larry has the right idea, your department is responsible for training these students for the work place. You do not need government regulation to make it institutional policy. Be sure it is in writing, perhaps add it to your chemical hygiene plan, safety lectures, and safety rules and then have you chairperson announce the amended policies in a memo. Scrubs are a great and students do not have to change, just put them on over their street clothes and they will work like a lab coat does. You can have you book store carry an inexpensive set of scrubs for student to purchase for $10-20 they roll up nicely and fit in the lab locker or book bag for use each week. There are many solutions if you and your Faculty want to see them.
The lab is NOT an ordinary environment. Right? That's what I ask students, and then I tell them that their conduct in the lab can NOT be ordinary, this includes dress code. Some may trivialize this issue, but you are doing a disservice in training and education. Consider what happens when someone drops a glass vessel of liquid (hazardous or not) on the floor, you get splashed with the liquid and small fragments of glass, I also like to use the example of getting bleach or gasoline on your skin, how it is so quickly absorbed that repeated washing does not remove the odor because it has penetrated to the lower epidermal layers. I would also consider telling them that attire like that is not tolerated in the science, healthcare, and other industries, so you want them to start doing the right thing now.
James Saccardo, CHMM
Environmental Health and Safety Officer
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
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From: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety [mailto:DCHAS-L@PRINCETON.EDU]
On Behalf Of Lawrence J Tirri
Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2016 10:43 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Lab PPE Question
We observed the same fashion choices among our students too. We established a departmental policy that skin may not show. Legs, ankles a d feet must be completely covered and protected. Students must provide surgical type scrubbs, sweat pants, socks, and closed shoes to change into before entering the lab. If skin on legs, ankles or feet show, the student is not permitted to enter the lab. Same goes for lab coats and eye protection.
This is explained in first lab discussions and enforced. Students not acceptably prepared for lab are allowed to turn in prelab assignments but are then turned away. There are no makeup labs. After one or two students are turned away, word spreads and it is no longer an issue. We do not cite any regulation, just departmental policy.
During the first lab discussion, you can also describe the possibility, that even with lab coats, an accidental spill could splash onto slacks or whatever is being worn to protect their legs, ankles and feet, so you can suggest wearing or changing into older clothing so if a splash were to occur, new and/or expensive clothing would not be ruined.
I hope this helps.
Dr. Larry Tirri
Dept of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Univ. Nevada Las Vegas
On September 29, 2016, at 6:59 AM, "Tambasco, Aniello" <email@example.com> wrote:
I need help with a lab concern about proper lab PPE. I had a question about yoga/ spandex pants. Some of our undergraduate students use these pants and their ankles are exposed because they wear low cut socks and sneakers. Is there anything in the PPE language from OSHA, that these pants are prohibited? Thank you in advance for your time.
Lab technician and Assistant
Wilkes-Barre PA 18766
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