From: Frankie Wood-Black <fwoodblack90**At_Symbol_Here**GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Seizures and lab safety
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2018 16:59:37 -0500
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Message-ID: CAEPFAxUqO9mO4vRZATvw-2btNq+hTSKZv+vi1PW8vv6JrSzTug**At_Symbol_Here**

Here are some thoughts on this:

1) General seizure first aid training is something that may need to be included across the board. Seizures can happen without a pre-existing or identified condition. Seizures are being seen due to drug interactions, encounters with unknown substances (I have seen recently several reports where someone came into contact with an unknown substance later identified as a street drug and had adverse reactions), injury, and due to other conditions such brain tumors. Thus, it may be something that one needs to consider.

2) While there are issues associated with ADA - reasonable accommodation is the requirement, and safety is an issue. Back in the 1990's companies had to look at how we were dealing with pregnancy, and those trying and how we could ask or address the potential issues. Many put in policies that had the same impact as a "failure to follow known safety rules" for not informing, thus changing the culture into one of more openness about the environment and concerns. Thus, if it is or was a prior known condition there are some conditions that give an indication or warning, hence the use of seizure alert dogs. And, thus reasonable accommodations can be made. There are issues about driving and public safety. Colorado and New York have motor vehicle regulations regarding driving and thus, these may be able to be looked at for policy determinations.

Frankie Wood-Black, Ph.D., REM, MBA
Principal - Sophic Pursuits
NOTE - ADDRESS CHANGE - Mailing Address - PO Box 433, Tonkawa, OK 74653


On Mon, Aug 20, 2018 at 10:55 AM B Acs <bcba082018**At_Symbol_Here**> wrote:
Hi. I apologize for the rather anonymous posting. There is some sensitive HR stuff, that while I tried to keep identifying data out, if my real email address were out there, a quick search would ID the company and since we are so small, other employees could figure out who I am talking about.

I found a thread in the archive about a student with epilepsy in the lab. The conclusion, as far as I could tell, was that if it was controlled with meds, it was OK with some policies - no working alone, etc. However, I could not find anything about if a seizure actually happened and people's experiences..

Over the weekend, a new employee (1 week) had a seizure, fell, hit head, and required stitches. We were not told by employee about the potential for this (and from what I have seen on the internet regarding ADA and discrimination, I can understand why the employee did not disclose). I will be contacting employee today to get employee's statement of what happened. I think the employer has the right to know how often this may happen and what to do in the employee's specific case.

I read about shifting duties away from the lab as being discriminatory, but there was also something about if driving is required for the job that 3 months without a seizure was a reasonable requirement. I would think public safety and the potential for causing an accident that could harm others is certainly an issue if a company knowingly required an employee to drive with this potential. How does lab safety of the employee and coworkers factor into this?

Technician role requires use of chemicals, including nitric acid, peroxide, flammables, and glassware. Microbiology side runs the risk of contaminating employee or samples. Autoclaves, other heated surfaces. Not to be heartless and deviate from employee safety, but samples are valuable and limited (as in, we may not have enough to repeat experiment if compromised). Loss of samples could mean loss of client.

Has anyone dealt with this? Internet says that employers unintentionally discriminate in the name of safety. The first link I found on a search is from RSC.

Today, I have to start workers comp paperwork. I have to look at it from that perspective, too. Will that drive up our rate? Small company - <20 employees covering 2 shifts, 7 days a week. So, hard to shift responsibilities and keep coverage for safety and duties.

I cannot tell other employees these details without employee consent.. I can't pressure the employee to give consent, but how do I explain the issue or provide training on what to do if a seizure happens again? If I just suddenly give a module on seizures and blood-borne pathogens, most people would be able to put 2 and 2 together. But I have to protect my other employees too.

Employee has already stated a fear of losing job over this and had even requested not contacting parents, even though they were on the emergency contact list.

What safety precautions are people implementing to protect the employee, people around them, and the lab?
While I understand that no meds are 100% effective, what policies are in place if an employee does have a seizure in regards to future work duties?

Thank you!


Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone
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