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This memo to TAs has its origins in a version drafted by Chemistry’s Vice-Chair for Education and sent to all laboratory teaching assistants in September of 1987; it stands as official departmental policy. 

Safety Rules & Procedures in Laboratories

        The Chair, Vice-Chair, Safety Committee, Safety Coordinator and Executive Officer all feel the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry has an educational, moral, and legal responsibility to reinforce in the strongest possible language long-standing departmental policy on laboratory safety. More than that, it is necessary to take active steps to see that all persons, including staff, instructional personnel, and students, working in or even just visiting laboratories not only know the required procedures but comply with them.

        This memo will not list all the guidelines. You should know them from previous training. In any case, you either have received or shall receive explicit instructions before being permitted to assist in laboratory instruction and take part in research laboratory activities. All safety rules and procedures are important. As but one example, we can focus on eye protection. Sight is a precious gift, but one easily lost. Eye protection is instantly visible to your students, to inspectors, or to casual visitors. In the recent past there have been reports of failure to comply with the rule that eye protection must be worn at all times in all chemistry laboratories in York Hall. We must all work to assure that there will be no future violations of this or any other safety procedure. Regulatory authority dictates and liability law/court judgements in the United States have affirmed that it is not sufficient to warn students or employees about such mandates. They must be forced to comply or be removed from the danger. Similarly, you do not have the right to risk your own or of your students’ safety. The University must ensure that everyone complies with rules or is removed from risk. Carelessness or disagreement with the rules are not allowable excuses. As assistant instructors, you have two reasons to comply: for your own safety and as an example to students entrusted to your care.

        Non-compliance for any reason could lead to receiving an unsatisfactory grade in Chemistry 500.