You wrote "Well-meaning teaching assistants, who do not have instructions on what action to take depending on the size of a spill..." That's the problem, not the SDS. SDS's are one part of the Hazard Communication Standard which covers labeling, SDS's and employee training, (and SDS's do double duty as part of the training). I am sure some here will report that their laboratory training includes spill response, but in my academic experience (which is a bit dated now, but involved 5 major universities) I was *never* given any training in spill response. None. Never saw a spill kit, in fact. And that's just Plain Bad. I am sure our peers here will happily point us to their resources for such training, though!
On Jan 8, 2020, at 11:57 AM, Ben Ruekberg <bruekberg**At_Symbol_Here**URI.EDU> wrote:--- For more information about the DCHAS-L e-mail list, contact the Divisional membership chair at membership**At_Symbol_Here**dchas.org Follow us on Twitter **At_Symbol_Here**acsdchasHello and Happy New Year,
Imperfect as they may be, we rely on SDSs for guidance in dealing with chemicals.
For student laboratories, problems arise that are different from industrial scale problems. SDSs seem to be concerned with the industrial scale. Take for examples, what to do in case of a spill. Would it not be helpful if SDSs were to designate size-appropriate actions? It seems to me that, generally speaking, spilling a milliliter of sulfuric acid should require a different response from that for the spill of a tank car full of sulfuric acid. Well-meaning teaching assistants, who do not have instructions on what action to take depending on the size of a spill, will tend to act on the side of caution (we would hope) which may involve unnecessary expense and disruption. Would there not seem to be practical value in an SDS saying something along the lines of "This amount is a small spill and you should do this, that amount is a medium spill and you should do that, more than this sized spill means you should evacuate and call 911!"? Clearly, what constitutes the various categories of spill size differs from substance to substance, which is why the SDS would seem (to me) the appropriate place for this information. There might even be the benefit of making some SDSs less scary.
This might be asking a bit much from documents that say to wear appropriate gloves without saying which gloves are appropriate. Should I just put this in my next letter to Santa?
Thank you very much,
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