460347 Nmsu Guide to Laboratory Safety

Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Grand Ballroom B (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Richard L. Long Jr., Chemical Engineering, NMSU, Oklahoma City, OK

The chemical laboratory safety guidelines were nonexistent at NMSU in 1981 when I arrived. After I published the"Guide to Writing and Problem Solving for Chemical Engineers" used at 8 universities, it was apparent to me that we needed a laboratory guide to laboratory safety. Because I read in CEP that George Whitmyre, Laboratory Coordinator at University of Delaware, had drafted a safety guide, I wrote to him asking if I could use it. He graciously allowed me to use it in writing,and allowing me to modify it as requiredin New Mexico and so I drafted the "Guide to Safety in the Laboratory for Chemical Engineers" and it was apporoved by the general counsel at NMSU in writing for use in our department at NMSU. Some time later, the Vice President for Economic Development, AverettTombes, asked me if I would draft a Laboratory Safety Manual for the University. I agreed to do so and I put together a committee for the Environmental Safety and Health that was a broad committee of expertise across the university.The meetings held subseqently drafted the composite document as appropriate, though it was strongly based on the Departmental Laboratory Safety Guide in Chemical Engineeringdrafted by me. It did include guidelines on laser safety an a very brief section on Radiation safety(because radiation safety was already covered in the radiation safety manual through the the environmental safety office drafted by Prof. A. Burr.The committee completed the task and it was completed and distributed to all Deans and Department Heads in October 1995. The manual was adopted by the Board of Regents and adopted online in 1995 an it remained online until 2015. The Environmental Safety Training Office then removed it as "Obsolete". It is my contention that it should be updated and left online because the first item in the Code of Ethics for Chemical Engineers is that the health and safety of the public should be held paramount in the practice of chemical engineering. The point is that when the laboratory safety manual is removed the tendency naturally becomes one of complacency. And when complacency develops, the hazards tend to come back.

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