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Lab Health and Safety

Develop a Safety Orientation Program

 All new employees, students, faculty, and staff should receive a specially designed introduction to your safety program.

James A. Kaufman

All new employees, students, faculty, and staff should receive a specially designed introduction to your safety program.

This orientation should cover the philosophy, policies, and procedures. It should explain how to deal with emergencies and how to handle emergency equipment. The new person should receive a set of rules or operating manual for the academic institution or company and be expected to sign a statement (rules agreement) indicating that they have read, understand, agree to follow, and realize the failure to do so can result in termination.

Some schools require new students to have a three day orientation program and then score 100 on a test before they can begin attending classes. One college in Minnesota turned the first five labs in general chemistry into a 15 hour, one-credit, lab safety course. Students have three chances to pass the final. If they don’t pass, they are done with science labs for that semester.

If you are involved in hiring new employees, consider asking the candidates the following question: “What is there in your background that suggests that you are both concerned and knowledgeable about issues of laboratory safety?”

You’ll never have the special opportunity again that you have on day one to make a lasting impression about how much you care about health and safety.

Want to start your “new employee safety orientation” sooner? Add the two words, “Safety Conscious” to your display ad looking for new lab employees. Why not tell the whole world that your organization wants “safety conscious” not “safety unconscious” employees.

Source: Kaufman, James A., Laboratory Safety Guidelines - Expanded Edition, The Laboratory Safety Institute, www.labsafetyinstitute.org