Conservation Lab safety in the Zone

BY CAROLINE ROBERTS, Conservator, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

Conservators in the Kelsey Museum Conservation Lab sometimes use chemicals and other potentially harmful materials to carry out treatments. Like other research laboratories at the University of Michigan, our lab must comply with OSEH health and safety regulations. This means maintaining an up-to-date inventory of chemicals and other hazardous materials, supplying a ready set of safety data sheets, and filling out a compliance log in our official lab safety “Blue Book.” This also means making sure that our emergency equipment is working properly.

Last month three members of the LSA Zone Maintenance team visited the lab to inspect our shower and eyewash station. Yep, the Kelsey lab has its very own shower. Bet you didn’t know that! However, we only use this shower if a harmful material is accidentally spilled on someone and needs to be immediately washed off. The same goes for the eyewash station. This isn’t equipment we use regularly, but it needs to be functional 24/7, because you never know when an accident could happen.

This is an inspection the guys and gals at LSA do regularly — I mean, U of M’s got a lot of labs! For our inspection, they rolled in a special bin rigged up with a spout and a shower curtain to prevent water from spraying over the entire lab (not something you want with fragile artifacts lying around). I confess I was a little nervous about it all, having witnessed another inspection resulting in an indoor deluge (this was at another museum — a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away). But needless to say our inspection went off without a hitch, and we can rest assured that our emergency equipment is up to scratch. All in a day’s work for the folks at Zone Maintenance. Thanks, guys!

LSA Zone Maintenance Team in action.

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