I’m not personally aware of any resources or studies, but I can definitely contribute personal experience. I can think of three specific instances where I walked through a synthetic chemistry lab, asked someone why they weren’t wearing their PPE (particularly lab coats, in one case just wearing shorts!), and they directly cited temperature. I spoke with the building manager, they adjusted the temperature, and the researchers were happy to wear proper PPE. Regarding moving flammables to refrigerators, I would recommend showing them the cost of a refrigerator rated for flammables storage. If they say to use a normal refrigerator, there are a number of case examples of why that is a very unsafe idea (I found this one from a quick search: https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2015/msu-police-investigating-small-explosion-at-giltner-hall-lab)
From another angle, any number of professors at Stanford could testify to the havoc wrought on experiments. Several years ago the university’s cooling system was overwhelmed by a major heat wave and temperatures in labs were allowed to rise significantly. Any experiment that relied on steady temperature over time was ruined, condensation caused water damage and in some cases standing water near electronics, and all sort of other havoc.
Jack Reidy (he/him)
Research Safety Specialist, Assistant Chemical Hygiene Officer
Environmental Health & Safety
484 Oak Road, Stanford, CA, 94305
Tel: (650) 497-7614
I am looking for resources, personal experience, anything that will help me with talking to facilities about maintaining an appropriate temperature in a science building. Obviously temperature (and humidity) are a concern. We can all agree that climate change is a thing and that we are going to get fluctuations in temperature. I’m having a difficult time convincing some people in facilities that having high temperatures in a science building is more than just an inconvenience. I’m looking for documentation, anything that will help my cause in convincing them that when we reach high temps (we were at 89.6 F last week in my flammable storage room) something needs to be done.
I’ve been searching the DCHAS website but not finding what I am looking for. I’ve looked at SDS’s until I am blue in the face, but they tend to say “keep in a cool, well-ventilated location”. What does “cool” mean? Facilities tells me I should move all my chemicals to a refrigerator when it gets hot. Obviously that is not feasible.
Any insight you can provide is a appreciated.
Rose Rakers, Ph.D.
Director of Chemical Laboratories & Chemical Hygiene Officer
5700 College Rd
Lisle, IL 60532
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