Creating The Safest Classroom And Lab Atmosphere

Creating the Safest Classroom and Lab Atmosphere The Findings of the Legal/Safety Group After being dubbed the legal group, Chris, John, Jen, Jens, and Spencer began thinking about what this title meant. After talking about the meaning of our group, both to each other and to professor Sidebotham, it was concluded that the semantics behind legal formed the following definition. Le’ gal: Pertaining to safety, i.e.

anything that will keep Cooper Union out of legal trouble. We worked from there, and researched Uniform Building Code literature, OSHA manuals, and literature regarding the development of labs for chemical and biological use, as well as literature on the disposal of created waste.The following is an overview of precautions, safety measures, guidelines, and precedent which will theoretically create the safest, and most professional classroom and lab atmospheres. Information is presented on labs from the most innocuous, to the most potentially threatening. SECTION I THE CLASSROOM As simple as a classroom may seem, much thought should go into its design and construction. Seeing as how it will be the incubator of great minds, the classroom incorporated into room 643 should meet all safety regulations, while being a pleasant place to learn.

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Light, ventilation, exits, access, and fire safety must all be considered when building a classroom.The Uniform Building Code states that a classroom is a Group E occupancy, and follows that statement with a series of legislation. The legal aspects of a classroom begin with the basicslight and ventilation. An enclosed area designated as a classroom has to have natural light from windows which should have an area proportional to at least 1/10 the total floor area.

Ventilation from exterior openings should be proportional to at least 1/20 the total area. Where this is not possible, artificial light and mechanical must be implemented to accomplish the same effect, whereby ventilation would be achieved at 5 ft3/min.of outside air, and 15 ft3/min. per occupant.

Entrances and exits must also follow guidelines dictated by the Uniform Building Code. The exits of the proposed classroom cannot be more than 75 feet from an exit corridor, enclosed stairway or the building’s exterior. An exit through an adjoining room is also possible if the exit to exit distance does not exceed the specified 75 feet., and there are no obvious obstructions. Passage through a storage facility or haz-mat lab in the neighboring rooms would be unacceptable. The exit corridor walls and ceilings must be at least 1-hour-fire resistive construction with protected openings.

The width of exit lanes must also be proportional to at least the number of occupants divided by 50.Also, since the classroom requires only two exits, the distance separating them must be at least half the length of the room’s diagonal. As far as access to the room is concerned, it must acc essible to the physically handicapped.

This access should come in the form of a ramp or elevator. The classroom atmosphere must also follow fire safety guidelines. Walls floors, and partitions must all be of a material consistent with construction requirements, and must be more effective than smoke or draft stops. All of the door openings must be fitted with fire assemblies, and be at least self or automatic closing, tight fitting, and smoke/fire protective, with a rating of at least 20 minutes.The storage closets near the classroom must be of at least 1 hour fire resistive construction. As a new structure within Cooper, the classroom should also get up to code by having a sprinkler system, which is necessary in ALL occupancies.

SECTION II THE LABS One of the most important pieces of the lab building puzzle is the installation of an acceptable skeleton. The infrastructure of any lab is a key to its smooth and safe operation. Ventilation, plumbing, climate control, accessibility, stor age, electricity, and fire control should all be integral parts of a lab, not carelessly placed afterthoughts. The following few paragraphs touch on the basics required for safe operation considered “up to code.” Entrances and exits, as well as everything else in the lab, must be handicap accessible.Doors must have glass panels, and push outward in the direction of exit. Each lab must have two exits, each allowing for a different evacuation path. Air systems must be specifically designed to properly accommodate lab work.

Toxic fumes and contaminated air must be driven from the lab through a series of ducts, which vent the air via a powerful fan. Air intake ducts must also be carefully situated by a distance of at least 30 feet from discharge vents so as not to re-circulate contaminated air. Discharge vents must extend at least 10 feet from the roof, and any structures and vents existing on it.

All ducts must also be carefully tested for leaks after installation.When dealing with high toxicity, or contamination possibility, branched duct work must be stopped at the lab, and it must have its own comfort ventilation, supply air systems, and health and safety exhaust ventilation systems. Temperature and humidity can be worker controlled, or situation dictated. Electrical systems also face safety considerations. Emergency secondary power service (in the form of a diesel generator) must be allocated in the instance of a primary building power outage. Fire systems, emergency communication systems, lighting, signs, fire pumps, refrigeration, exhaust fans, heating and air supply systems, and smoke evacuation systems must all be connected to the secondary power source.

Plumbing safety measures also play an important role in the creation of a good lab. Sinks must be constructed of chemical resistant materials. Drains should have built in solid waste strainers. Water pressure must be able to meet the needs of the high pressure safety systems at any time.

Lastly, drinking wat er lines must be separate from lab sink lines. Safety considerations heavily concentrate on fire control.Fire walls must be erected along the perimeter of a lab. Halon 1301 sprinkler systems and heat sensitive detection systems must be installed. The primary electrical system of the lab and entire building should have an automatic power-down switch in the event of an electrical fire, or potentially threatening short circuit. Fuel gas must have the same sort of shut off capability.

As far as hazardous waste is concerned, it includes anything other than paper, plastic, glass, and non-hazardous refuse. It must be stored in its own room with explosion venting glass windows, exhaust, and fire suppression systems.The room should have a divider in the event of the necessity to store incompatible chemicals. This is also where cadaver refrigeration should be located. The room must have an eyewash, fire extinguisher, shower and fire blanket in, or right outside of it. This is only a basic trea tment of hazardous waste, however. To go into more depth, proper disposal techniques must be discussed.

After waste is stored in the ultra-safe storage room, what does one do with it? How is it removed from the school? As an example of the particularity of proper waste disposal, a case study of the procedures for disposing of infectious waste (found in bio-med labs) through a contractor is presented. If infectious biohazard waste was simply thrown out with the trash, and found its way to a landfill, it would present a major health risk to all in the immediate area. If the local vermin went swimming about in the trash and found a sweet little infection, they would become carriers, and spread the infection to pets or directly to us. This happens and is solely the result of irresponsibility and careless business practices. Anytime lab work is done with cells, blood, fluids, carcasses, or microorganisms, there is a strong possibility that some sort of infectious waste will be produced. L ab officials are responsible for developing and implementing safety and waste-management programs, but the one who is experimenting is responsible for following the guidelines and immediate disposal.S/he must also know who the contracted disposal company is, and be aware of all regulations pertaining to the waste at hand.

Some of the produced waste can be treated on-site. Requirements for this include an autoclave and an incinerator. The incinerator needs pollution control permits to exist in the lab, or anywhere else.

The solid waste which is treated in the autoclave or incinerator can be thrown out as trash after it is heated, and all bacteria are killed.Objects that are too big for the autoclave can incinerated in a proper incinerator– not an open bonfire. Waste which cannot be treated in either of the manners listed above should be packaged in sturdy bags. Liquids must be placed in leak-proof containers. Anatomical specimens must be placed in rigid shipping containers. Typicall y, contracted disposal companies will treat waste with liquids, and or gases to decontaminate them. Waste having more than one danger attached to it (radioactivity, infectivity, toxicity, etc.

) must be very specially treated by professionals.Animal specimen cages must be cleaned regularly, and bedding material can be incinerated. Cadavers and anatomical parts must be refrigerated until disposed of. When packed for disposal, they should be surrounded by absorbent material. “Sharps” are needles, glass, probes and other objects capable of piercing tissue.

They must be placed in their own containers and packed in such a way hat will disallow puncture.In conjunction with such procedures, designed to keep society at large safe, there should be programs designed to assure those working in the lab that they will be safe. A medical program is an offshoot of any good safety program. The objective of the medical program is to prevent disease and injury. It is recommended that the medical progr am do four important things. It must educate lab technicians and workers about hazards and protective measures necessary to reduce the possibility of the hazards.It should also identify specific health problems in the particular environment.

Thirdly, it should encourage frequent medical checkups to ensure early detection of diseases, or other changes in health. Lastly, the medical program should encourage necessary immunizations. The program, however, should not replace a regular physical examination. Biological monitoring is a specific type of medical program intended to follow a group of workers who are exposed to known hazards.It should determine any health changes caused by that hazard.