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Lab & Safety

Colleague has no regard for lab safety

Started 12 months ago by Kimberly Peoples.


I am looking for advice or support.  I share a prep room with a colleague who has little respect for lab safety.  She was not a chemistry major in college, but only recently added chemistry to her existing teaching license by taking a few community college courses.  I know that it is not my place to comment on the fact that her flowing skirts and stilettos are not appropriate attire for lab, but it concerns me that she allows students to enter the prep room without supervision.  Just moments ago I went in there and encountered a student rummaging through the acid cabinet.  I am very uncomfortable with her lack of rules with regard to lab safety, but do not know whether I should just keep my mouth shut or speak my mind.  Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks.


3 Comments

  • Jeremy Wolf

    Posted 10 months ago

    Kim,
    I have another idea. If you are uncomfortable with confronting the teacher, then you can either talk to your department chair about the problem, or you can suggest that the two of you attend a safety seminar together. In my area, the department of environmental protection offers seminars about lab safety that are free for teachers. You can probably find out about them via the state department of environmental protection. Good luck

  • Matt Perekupka

    Posted 12 months ago

    Hi,
    I agree with Heather's comments, when it comes to lab safety you can not take a chance. It may be uncomfortable to confront your colleague but if a student gets injured while unsupervised in the prep room there could a strong negligence case against her. This is unfortunately a common issue when non chemistry majors teach chemistry. I had a colleague that would leave the prep room and absolute mess and constantly conducted labs that in my opinion were unnecessarily dangerous. I also agree with Heather that a face to face straight forward discussion would be most effective. I had a polite conversion with my colleague and has been much better ever since. If you are not comfortable confronting your colleague, I would inform your supervisor and let them address the situation. This method could cause some bad blood between you and your colleague, which is why I suggest a direct conversation. However, the issue needs to be address. Good luck!

    Matt

  • Heather Weck

    Posted 12 months ago

    Hi. Here's my two cents. When it comes to safety, it's important to speak up. Think of how you would feel if something bad happened due to unsafe practices--you don't want to have to "what if" it. You know your colleagues, so you know best how to approach them, but I'd be straight-forward (passive-aggression never works for me). Tell the person that you feel uncomfortable, what you've observed, and maybe provide her with some Flinn or other safety documents. Hopefully, she'll be receptive. Good luck!
    -Heather