RE: laboratory safety issues

From:"Morken, Tim"

My feeling is that they are greatly stretching the limits of your job
description. Many job descriptions will include a line like "...and any
other duties assigned." Managers will often use that to load up on people
without having to change job descriptions. I was at one lab that tried to
get me to be the defacto supervisor simply because I was in a job
description that paid more than the general histotech. They thought since I
was being paid more, I wouldn't mind taking on supervisory duties. I set
them straight on that.

Hosptials generally have a lab safety officer, although many times that is a
med tech/safety officer, ASCP has made a whole new certification
specifically for safety officers, and many labs have made that a postion
distinct from other med techs. I would expect a histology person to be
assigned as a part-time safety officer for their specific part of the lab,
but not for the whole lab. A position that entails covering safety issues
for the whole lab deserves a new job description and either lesser duties in
the histology lab or higher pay. My understanding of your situation is that
you are a part-time employee. It seems very odd to me that this project
would be assigned to a part-time employee.

I know it's hard to buck management. There are a couple of options I can
think of. If your immediate manager won't listen to you, you should go up
the chain of command. It could be that upper level doesn't know what the
lower manager is doing. You could also go to your personnel office. They
should be able to compare what you do and what your job description says and
see if something is out of whack.

Something to think about in the future. I am all in favor of improving the
lab, learning new things and adding to my ability to do various types of
jobs. Those will always help you in the future. If that task is for my
immediate section, I would consider it part of my job. However, if someone
comes to you with a proposal to work on a project for the "whole lab" you
should nail down exactly what you will get out of it. There should be a
reward for doing something of that scale, either pay bonus, pay increase (if
you will keep those duties), promotion, etc. Although most of us feel
loyalty to the job, that doesn't mean we are so altruistic that we should do
anything for nothing.

Tim Morken
CDC, Atlanta

-----Original Message-----
From: Maria Mejia []
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2002 2:50 PM
Subject: laboratory safety issues

Hello Everyone!

I need some advise and assistance regarding laboratory safety issues and
the role of the Safety Officer. I'm a neurohistologist that works 75%.
For several
months, I've been working on a detail chemical hygiene plan for our
institute in
addition to my histology work. I even started a library of various
safety books and
safety videotapes for everyone to use at the institute. In addition to
my histology
duties (which currently dip and peak depending on the research project &
PI), I've
also been assigned the safety duties for the institute, that includes
providing safety
training sessions for EVERYONE at the institute.

I was told by administration that all this is all part of my job as a
histologist. I say it's
above and beyond and my salary should be adjusted to reflect this. Am I
Please any assistance or suggestions you can provide will be greatly
Now, I've gone through all my safety literature and no one talks about
salary for the
Safety Officer they only list and it's a long list of duties.

Maria Mejia
Smith-Kettlewell Eye Res. Inst

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