One of the more interesting lab safety challenges I have run into over time is different ‰??dialects‰?? of lab safety terminology that arise in different sciences or within branches within a "single science" such as chemistry. For example, hazmat chemists speak a different language with the same words than research chemists or chemical educators or regulators (e.g. the words ‰??chemical‰??, ‰??oxidizer‰?? or ‰??toxic"). While GHS has gone some distance in addressing this challenge, the reason GHS is needed is that daily language about chemical safety concerns can depend on the situation under discussion.
I wonder if anyone has examples of situations where language confusion turned out to be the source of safety confusion, or, alternatively, if you know of any literature that addresses this challenge in either EHS or other professional situations. (One reason this questions arises is that I just came out of a meeting a lawyer on personal matter and he had to re-define many of the words involved away from my professional / regulatory / semi-informed public understanding of those same words in a different context.)
Thanks for any thoughts on this topic.
Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
Environmental Safety Manager
Keene State College
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