Lab Safety

Shelley Matthews matthewss at holmes.bed.ns.doe.ca
Fri Jun 24 07:57:58 EST 1994


I'd like to comment on the following excerpts from the lab safety 
discussion:

>>The assumption here is that violations have occurred, that laws were 
>>broken, that crimes were committed.
>>Did any violation occur?  I see no evidence.  Were laws broken?  I 
>>seen no evidence.  Were crimes committed?  I see no evidence.

>Whoa--no one's *really* assuming anything.  But when a student asks for
>help on a public forum because she feels that her mentor doesn't seem to
>take her safety concerns seriously, it doesn't seem unreasonable to ask
>if he could be giving her poor guidance.  Nobody is really talking about
>*crimes*, but about occupational hazards to a student that might be caused
>by her advisor's unwillingness to comply with what he might consider
>'overcautious'.  No one's putting him on trial in the real world...

Well, someone should be putting him on trial in the real world. Or the 
responsibility should be placed on the educational centre. 

I went through a typical undergrad bio degree and got a job in a private 
lab. Although I have an average amount of common sense, the possibilities 
for harm are innumerable. Eventually there was an incident caused by 
insufficient training-luckily not permanently damaging.

Who is to blame? The university I attended, the individual professors or 
lab instructors, the employer, the employee? 

Compare this situation to construction work, etc...
If I had been hurt, what are my prospects for medical support or 
disability? Even worse, what if I had hurt someone else? 

This issue is much larger than whether mentors are fulfilling their role. 
It illustrates a weakness in the entire profession that must be changed. 
These students are not always going to have mentors-very soon they will be 
mentors.



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