Very valid points as usual. I have also seen numerous cases where the researcher just does not think that what they are doing has any safety implications. And despite code and organizational requirements, the quantity and quality of hazard analysis and risk assessment that occurs when a safety professional is not involved is usually minimal, poorly done, and grossly wrong.
As a long term laboratory designer and research support engineer, I think I understand how hard it is to predict what will actually needed during the operations that will occur at least 3 years after design (a typical start of design to start of operations cycle for a new lab) much less 5-10 years down the road. I have always fought hard to get clints and researchers to provide enough hoods, enough ventilation, and spend enough time thinking through things they might need to do down the road and what they will need to provide now to allow it to happen then. Sadly few want to spend the time and effort, many are dismissive of the process, and not a few are really clueless and don't understand how a lab ventilation system really works. And since, as a good friend of mine reminds me frequently, "lab safety is spelled V-E-N-T-I-L-A-T-I-O-N" this usually means systems are grossly undersized for what is required 2 years after construction is finished.
Trying to convince researchers and management that they need to spend a lot more up front to make sure they can do what they want/need down the road safely is very hard and often fails. I continually find myself I the position of having to say if you can't afford what you need then you need to plan on doing less to align with your budget. Too often it does not work.
Pilot plant and laboratory consulting, safety, design, reviews, and training
Richard P Palluzi LLC
72 Summit Drive
Basking Ridge, NJ 07920
From: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**Princeton.EDU> On Behalf Of Stuart, Ralph
Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 2021 8:17 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Lab Ventilation
> >If you accept the premise that work involving hazardous materials in
> >a laboratory
In my mind, this is the crux of the issue. The acceptance of the premise about the use of "hazardous materials" varies by discipline, lab and lab worker.
For example, in my experience, many biologists do not believe that they work with chemicals, much less hazardous chemicals. So when they are involved in lab fit-up discussions, they may be satisfied with a single fume hood in the corner of the lab. They then find out that other people down the hall consider their bench top use of mercaptans a hazard. I have a memory fragment of a saying that the more one benefits from a risk, the harder it is to understand how other people perceive that risk. Unfortunately, I didn=E2=80™t write down the precise quote or its source.
I do sympathize with lab designers and engineers who need to make working assumptions about what will be happening in the lab in order to do their work. But I know of lab buildings where design work occurs long before the occupants for the building have been identified. And even if the occupants are known, predicting the specifics of their science in 5 years is quite unreliable. On the other hand, if there was no human factors involved in laboratory work, there wouldn't be a need for Environmental Health and Safety support for that work.
Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
Environmental Safety Manager
Keene State College
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**acsdchas
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**acsdchas
Previous post | Top of Page | Next post