"Victimless" Safety crimes

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From:Tim Morken <timcdc@hotmail.com> (by way of histonet)
To:histonet <histonet@magicnet.net>
Content-Type:text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Unfortunately some lab workers (as shown below) are under the impression
that not wearing gloves (or ignoring other safety precautions) falls
into the catagory of a "victimless crime." That is, they feel that they
are only hurting themselves if infected or injured on the job, so the
institution should not force them to take precautions.

Of course, any injury to any worker causes all sorts of problems for all
concerned. The worker is injured and will miss work, if infected they
could spread the infection, the lab loses (even if only for a short
time) a necessary worker, lab work suffers, co-workers pick up the load
with no compensation. In serious cases the lab may be held accountable
and suffer some sanctions, the worker may sue the lab for allowing them
to work unprotected (happens all the time), the worker may lose their
job, just to bring up a few consequences.

In short, the lab admin has an interest and a right to protect workers,
even if it's against themselves!

Tim Morken, B.S., EMT(MSA), HTL(ASCP)
Infectious Disease Pathology
Centers for Disease Control
1600 Clifton Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30333

email: tim9@cdc.gov

FAX:  (404)639-3043

In "Laboratory Medicine" a little over a year ago (I can get
exact issue, if you are REALLY interested) there was a
"Question and Answer" question concerning safety issues.
The one answer I remember concerned an institution that had
a phlebotomist who was NOT wearing gloves while drawing
blood, right when OSHA came through.

When questioned, the phlebotomist assured the inspector that
the institution/lab had told her again and again that she HAD
to wear gloves and DID provide her with gloves, but that
SHE chose NOT to wear any gloves. The institution/lab DID have
a written policy that phlebotomists ARE supposed to be wearing
gloves while drawing blood. However, OSHA still FINED the
institution for NOT ENFORCING the policy, since they did not
do any correction action to make the phlebotomist wear the

I would think the same "thinking" would apply to this
----Original Message Follows----
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 05:28:44 -0500
From: lpwenk@netquest.com (Wenk, Lee & Peggy)
To: "Luke, Don" <don.luke@SGMC.ORG>
Cc: 'HISTONET' <histonet@pathology.swmed.edu>

Luke, Don wrote:
> "Bare naked" hands in the cryostat?  Besides sounding like a topic for
> the "erotic histology" workshop, the practice of not using gloves for
> frozen sections sounds crazy to me.  However, the persons who choose
> to glove up are adults and professionals and are, I hope, aware of the
> risks.  The administration, however, must be concerned about
> Make sure there is a policy regarding the use of Personal Protective
> Equipment during the microtomy of fresh, frozen tissue.

> Regarding open flames, we have used an alcohol burner for years and
> had a couple of flaming incidents.  My suggestion is to make sure
> is a fire extinguisher located nearby.
>  Don Luke, HT (ASCP)
> 2501 N. Patterson St
> VALDOSTA, GA 31603
> PHONE (912) 259-4830
> >----------
> >From:  sjrugby@juno.com[SMTP:sjrugby@juno.com]
> >Sent:  Monday, November 09, 1998 5:52 PM
> >To:    histonet@pathology.swmed.edu
> >Subject:       SAFETY ISSUES
> >
> >Histology comrades,
> >       I am "the new guy" to the lab and am concerned about the
> >following possible safety issues...
> >
> >-Open flame. (bunsen burner)  I personally haven't used an open flame
> >embedding since       1984...  If find several forceps in the heated
> >wells quite adequate.  We've already had one          flaming garbage
> >(that was hidden from the lab manager) and singed log sheets...
> >-Glove-less frozen sections - Currently one other tech (also new) and
> >myself are the only ones    to use gloves while cutting a frozen
> > The other 5 techs use their bare-naked hands.
> >-Glove-less coverslipping - Again the new tech and myself are the
> >ones to use gloves.
> >
> >Don't want to be a "tattle-tale" to the lab manager and I have
brought it
> >up to the "Team", but no one seems concerned except me.  Any
> >comments/suggestions?
> >
> >___________________________________________________________________
> >You don't need to buy Internet access to use free Internet e-mail.
> >Get completely free e-mail from Juno at
> >or call Juno at (800) 654-JUNO [654-5866]
> >
> >

Peggy A. Wenk, HTL (ASCP)
Anatomic Pathology
Wm. Beaumont Hospital
3601 W. 13 Mile Rd.
Royal Oak, MI 48073-6769

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