Campaign promotes laboratory safety

Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) in Carolina’s labs is the focus of a yearlong campaign produced by the Department of Environment, Health and Safety.

“Wearing gloves, safety glasses, closed-toe shoes, and a lab coat – or PPE – is critical to the safety of researchers and students working in laboratories,” says Mary Beth Koza, department director. “The purpose of the campaign is to improve attitudes toward laboratory safety.”

At the 2012 Campus Safety Health and Environmental Management Association conference, a keynote speaker talked about the death of a young lab researcher who was her daughter.

“Hearing a mother talk about the death of this young researcher was compelling,” Koza said. “Her description of a safety net, which we all cast every day, had an emotional impact on the audience. It demonstrated how each of us sets an example and attitude. We do not want to see anyone at our University harmed because he or she is not wearing the proper PPE.”

The campaign uses a series of testimonial videos, video interviews, print and digital board ads and direct mail pieces featuring principal investigators and others, all of whom will discuss why wearing PPE is so important to them.

Many University schools and departments are joining the effort to distribute the campaign messages. Supporters include the schools of medicine, public health, dentistry, pharmacy and nursing, and the departments of physics, chemistry, biology, exercise and sport science, marine sciences and geologic sciences.

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Published January 24, 2013.