Laboratory Safety

K N and P J Harris ecoli at cix.compulink.co.uk
Wed Oct 15 16:36:03 EST 1997

Laboratory Safety.
Hi Peter, Long time no hear,

We also go for our sucrose at the supermarket (for the same reason and 
purpose). I can't wait to see my technician's reaction when I tell her 
to put explosive stickers on the bags.

The topic is very close to my heart as I have just completed "risk 
assessment" forms for the micro lab classes I have been running for 
getting on for 30 years.The reason is always the same - fear of 

I would never suggest that hazardous practices were condoned but I (like 
many others I suspect) am very worried at the effect of "warning 
fatigue". Some things are very dangerous, others pose a tiny risk , but 
our current obsession with labelling EVERYTHING as dangerous, toxic, 
hazardous (just to be on the safe side) is degrading the whole process.

My best contribution to lab safety is in the method of enforcing 
the wearing of laboratory coats. Students are simply told that if I 
suspect an article of clothing (of any kind) of having been contaminated 
the student must remove that article of clothing, in the laboratory then 
and there, and go home without it ! Everyone is wearing a lab coat the 
following week.

 Best wishes,
  Peter Harris,

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