Formalin vapor etc

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From:"Barry Rittman" <> (by way of Histonet)
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There have been a myriad of comments regarding safety in the laboratory
including clothing, formalin fumes and so on. These are important
questions and we should all be concerned.
some additional thoughts

1.    Whatever clothing and safety precautions you have are useless
unless there is adequate training for the individuals who may be exposed
to these hazards and rigorous enforcement of these procedures.
There are always individuals who will not take the trouble to abide by
safety procedures but unless it is pointed out to them that strict
adherence to safety procedures is a part of their condition of
employment, they will continue to ignore these.
Many of the safety precautions mentioned should come into the realm of
common sense. Sometimes a safety procedure while well intentioned may be
so cumbersome that it will itself contribute to the possibility of an
accident occurring.

2. We cannot cut sections wearing chain mail gloves to protect us from
knife cuts. The bottom line is that you have to be careful around such
sharp objects. Knife guards will help but lets face it some individuals
can injure themselves with a sharp pencil (I include myself in this

3.    All chemicals should be regarded as potentially dangerous.

4.    Specific areas should be available where fumes from chemicals can
be safety vented.

5.    I think that lab coats should be worn in all lab settings. They
offer considerably more protection than scrubs (although my wife says I
look sexier in scrubs!). Lab coats are thick enough to deflect some
abrasives and also it takes longer for chemicals to percolate though.
Scrubs are often V shaped at the neck. Acids on the front of the neck
can remove hair really fast.
Shoes should be worn rather than sandals as these do offer some greater
protection from spills.

6.   Safety showers (that work), chemical spill blankets and so on.

there are of course many others.
The bottom line is training.

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