Re: laboratory safety issues

From:Paul Howard Lockwood

To All,
      While I enjoyed Munson's humorous dissertation on Managing One's Upline, I thought I would add my two copper coins worth.
      I worked for a company (that shall remain unnamed) in management, and as a bench tech. When I was in management, I was responsible for both the safety and 
organization of the area I was in charge of. Whenever I wrote proposals for changes, or suggested them, I always received a firm: "No." 
     One of the things I did implement, at the behest of the company nurse, was a training form for working with formalin, which I would have employees sign after I had 
instructed them in safety procedures. One employee hadn't paid much attentiion to the training, and later asked me why it was required to wear a respirator, safety 
goggles, protective sleeves, and an apron. (The company used copious amounts of formalin, far above what most hospitals or university labs would use.) I again 
explained the safety reasons. This time the employee paid attention. And prompty quit because of the fact that formalin has been identified as a carcinogen.
    The adminstrator for the pathology department wasn't happy, and told me to stop using the training form, and to cease training employees in safety procedures 
regarding formalin. Two weeks later OSHA showed up at our door for an inspection. At the end of the inspection, I was called into the histology manager's office, and 
was thanked for having devised, and used the form. The administrator never said a word about my efforts (which kept the company from getting dinged by OSHA).
     Sometime after this I was relieved from my duties. Competence can get you removed from a task quicker than anything else I know.
     Paul Lockwood

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