Analyse why you think it is important that procedures and practices stated in tasks 1 and 2
should be communicated clearly to other laboratory personnel and what might happen if they are not
Procedures and Practices in a scientific workplace should be communicated clearly because this will improve the safety of the people who are working in the lab and it ensures that the employer is helping them understand what procedures and practices are important in the lab. Also, communicating procedures and practices prevents accidents from occurring as warnings are addressed earlier. Below is an example of when procedures and practices were not communicated clearly which lead to consequences.
The lack of communication, lack of knowledge and lack of regulations in the lab are the main reasons as to why Sheri’s death occurred. This study is an example of a case of bad communication which ultimately lead to fatal consequences as there was no organisational structure of communication.
It is clear through this case study that there are many errors in communication. Firstly, it states that Sheri Sangji went to the laboratory alone. This is highly dangerous as students should not be conducting such experiments that involve hazardous substances alone without a senior member guiding them. Secondly, another error is that there were no health and safety regulations implemented into the lab which is a significant error because if students are not aware of how to stay safe, accidents like these are very likely. It also says that Sheri did not receive any safety training from her supervisor which emphasises bad communication and catastrophic consequences.
It is prevalent that the main consequence of the breakdown of communication is that Sheri died because the supervisor did not have protective clothing in the lab which is vital in safety of employees in the lab, he also did not have important rules that could prevent incidents from occurring. Eventually, it was found that employees were not wearing protective lab clothing which emphasises the lack of health and safety regulations in the lab.
Better communication could have potentially saved the laboratory personnel’s life because she did not receive the right training or knowledge. Had the supervisor done an enhanced check on how to use safety gear or on the handling of different substances/ chemicals Sheri would have probably survived. For example, he could have demonstrated to her how to handle irritant chemicals that sensitive to air which in this case is tert-butyllithium.
The people responsible for this accident are mainly the supervisor and the man who let Sheri conduct her experiment alone. The supervisor is at fault because he did not follow the right procedures and practices such as the way of handling materials, storage management etc. The man is partly at fault because he did not know what she was doing and whether she was working with anybody.
Good communication is important because it ensures that everyone is sure about the health and safety rules such as using gloves when using any materials. In addition, good communication prevents incidents and accidents from happening because the employees have knowledge about specific risks that could occur. This ensures that procedures and practices are followed in the right way. Therefore, if these rules were implemented into the lab terrible accident like this would have likely not happened.
The additional training needed to prevent incidents like this from occurring again is training the students. They should be informed of how to handle and store different materials, how to dispose hazardous substances and of the safety gear they should use whilst conducting experiment. One way of avoiding laboratory personnel’s conducting experiments alone is by keeping a log of people who are entering the lab and using specific chemicals. This is a highly effective approach because it ensures that the people in the lab are aware of what everyone is doing.
In conclusion, in the scientific workplace it is important that scientific workplaces provide information on how to handle chemicals and identify hazards. Effective communication ensures that the right information is passed on to others; which avoids mistakes being made as people are more confident on what they are doing.
Sheri Sangji was a research assistant in the University of California working under the supervision of Harran. Sheri was working in the laboratory alone after being let in by a man who did not know what she was doing. Sheri was dealing with a highly volatile and irritant chemical called tert-butyllithium 1.7M. This chemical is very dangerous and Sheri was not wearing a lab coat.
As she was transferring a solution using a syringe. The syringe came apart in her hands and the solution spread. By the time she starting dealing with it her clothes caught fire and half of her body was burned. She died within days as the accident was severe. Eventually, the supervisor confessed that he did not assist Sheri in any safety training that could make her and others safer. It was also found out by UCLA inspectors that people were not wearing appropriate protective lab clothing and storage of chemicals was very poor. The university also did not have clothing that was fire resistant. When Sheri was using the chemical she did not take into account how dangerous it was.