[Taxacom] OSHA requirements

John Grehan jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Thu Feb 17 10:39:07 CST 2011

Well that's an example of one of the questions. Does one have to have them on while looking down the microscope or take them on and off as one moves back and forth between microscopic and macroscopic viewing. This may seen trivial, but Federal rules are serious stuff so I need to know how the rules work for specifics. I hope that some on this list will be able to comment on how they follow the Federal regulations, if not on this list, then to me privately.

John Grehan

-----Original Message-----
From: Robin Leech [mailto:releech at telus.net] 
Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2011 11:36 AM
To: John Grehan; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] OSHA requirements

And just how is it that you have safety glasses on while peering down 
through a dissecting microscope?
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "John Grehan" <jgrehan at sciencebuff.org>
To: <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2011 8:49 AM
Subject: [Taxacom] OSHA requirements

I have a question directed to those on this list who are involved in 
dissection work with invertebrates where one may be working with specimens 
stored in alcohol or being macerated in KOH (5%) and work in a facility that 
follows OSHA regulations in the US. Our institution is moving to being 
compliant with OSHA and so I am checking on the requirement for working with 
the above chemicals when dissecting bugs (moths in my case). I have been 
informed that when working with any chemicals that OSHA requires handing 
procedures to follow the specifications on the MSDS sheets for each 

According to the MSDS sheets for 70% ethyl alcohol I should be wearing 
appropriate protective eyeglasses or chemical safety goggles as described by 
OSHA's eye and face

protection regulations in 29 CFR 1910.133 or European Standard EN166, 
wearing protective gloves to prevent skin exposure, and appropriate 
protective clothing to prevent skin exposure. For 70% isopropyl alcohol the 
requirements are Safety glasses, lab coat, dust respirator and gloves loves 

The requirements for KOH appear to be similar.

I am new to all of this so please excuse my naiveté. In all my years I have 
never seen any entomologist working with dissections, even in federal 
institutions, wear protective gloves (not sure how that will work with 
handing forceps, micro scissors etc), eyeglasses, protective clothing etc. 
This being the case it would appear that the regulations are being ignored 
(which I would presume to be unlikely) or there is some kind of caveat about 
the use of these and similar chemicals when working with small amounts in 
this context. I would be very grateful if someone working in an OSHA 
compliant institution can explain how it is possible for researchers to 
dissect and examine preserved material without having to go to the lengths 
indicated on the MSDS sheets.

Thanks in advance,

John Grehan

Dr. John R. Grehan
Director of Science and Research
Buffalo Museum of Science
1020 Humboldt Parkway
Buffalo, NY 14211-1193

email: jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Phone: (716) 896-5200 ext 372
Fax: (716) 897-6723


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