We are having a re-evaluation here at Liberal Arts U. about safety apparel. I am reminded of a discussion I had with a British professor who had come to Canada just after the Second World War as part of the large contingent of second tier academics that came to teach the North American boomers. In a comment to me he said (referring to Canadians) “We first had to talk them out of the trees and teach them to wear clothes before we could teach them chemistry”. Lovely sentiment that, Rule Britannia!
Anyway, I cannot convince the Biologists that wearing safety clothing is like wearing a car seatbelt … 99% of the time it is an unnecessary inconvenience and 1% of the time it is the only guarantee that there will be a next generation of Liberal Arts Biologists. And the cavalier way they handle chemicals like acrylamide and ethidium bromide makes me despair. I have persuaded them to wear disposable gloves most of the time (but I think CSI convinced them more than I ever did that someone could look hot, do science and wear gloves).
In any event the current argument is over goggles and I am seriously thinking of making a pragmatic retreat on this one. The uber-safe, clamped to the skin, scuba goggles just will not fly with the Biologists and we have agreed that we will not make the students purchase separate safety gear for the different Science labs so it looks like we are heading towards a lightweight, polycarbonate clear vision safety goggle that does not touch skin around the perimeter.
The convincing argument that the Biologists gave me was that if we went for the safe goggles the students (actual meaning: the Biology professors) would not ever wear them but if we go for the second option there is a good chance that they at least would wear them propped up on their foreheads or dangling on lanyards. Sigh.
- ▼ November (5)
- ► 2008 (13)