Some very useful comments have been offered on this topic, but the basic question has not been directly addressed. That basic question, slightly paraphrased, is - is the institution or the instructor obligated to train the aid provided for a person who can neither read nor write.
I would say that the answer to that question is a big fat “YES!!!”
Now, the subsequent question is, can that training be adequate for a lab? I suggest that that depends on why the student cannot read or write. If the student is blind and therefore cannot see markings and labels on reagent bottles, simply training the aid may not be adequate for safety. However, if the student can see but cannot read because of some cognitive condition, for example, perhaps it is possible to help the aid show the student (or to show the student directly) how to recognize standard warning symbols and phrases. Many illiterate people, for example, were able to tell the difference between the men's and women’s restrooms, even before the icons for those facilities were adopted in the US.
Peter Zavon, CIH
From: Gmurczyk, Marta
Sent: Thursday, October 4, 2018 3:35 PM
Subject: FW: Assistance in the classroom
I would appreciate very much you reading the question below and sharing your perspective. ACS does not have any guidelines related to the situation described in the message, but I promised to ask the safety community in case you may have any wisdom to share. I will compile your responses (but will make sure to remove the names) and forward them to correspondent.
Very many thanks for any help you might be able to provide.
Dear Dr. Gmurczyk,
I received the ACS document "Undergraduate Professional Education in Chemistry" yesterday. I truly appreciate you sending this.
Granted that in the short time I have it, I have only taken a cursory look, but I am wondering if you can more directly put me in the direction of guidelines/laws/ regulations/ best practices with regard to having students in the chemistry classroom/laboratory who can not read or write. I am very concerned for a situation in which I am presently involved as the instructor.
There is an aid (a student not enrolled in the class) in the lab to assist this student "read the lab sheets" but I believe that there is a safety concern in that if the aid does not read all, or at least the pertinent safety components, other students, in addition to the disabled student, will be at risk. I have specifically read section 4.5, as you recommended, and I am wondering if my institution (or me) has an obligation to "train" the aid I mentioned above. Any additional guidance you can provide would be so greatly appreciated.
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