Magazine article Occupational Hazards

A Safe State of Readiness

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

A Safe State of Readiness

Article excerpt

The DuPont Co. research facility in Wilmington, Del., is the nerve center for the firm's new product and procedure development worldwide. Employing more than 4,800 workers, it is the site where products such as Kevlar and nylon fabrics, for use in consumer and industrial applications, were developed.

Last year, Russ Kilmer, the safety and occupational health technologist for DuPont's Polymer Products Dept., decided the time had come for a full accounting, analysis, and if needed, updating of emergency safety equipment. Charged with responsibility for 480 research people in that department, Kilmer supervised a joint project between VWR Scientific, a vendor of safety emergency equipment, and safety shower and eyewash station manufacturer Speakman Co.

"We had Speakman come in and they went through our safety showers and eyewashes to make sure they were up to our specifications and standards," said Kilmer. "Some of the facilities had been in place for 30 years."

Speakman sales and product manager Ted Ziegler said that while all the DuPont safety equipment met or exceeded manufacturing and government codes and was inspected on a weekly basis, the group project had an additional target.

"Russ wanted to get a grip on just what he had in his department. We reviewed his building #323 and inspected every single laboratory," said Ziegler.

That inspection included 71 labs containing an assortment of eyewashes, safety showers, and drench hoses. Each piece of equipment was tested, recorded, and had inspection tags checked. A further step included interviewing research personnel about what they liked about their safety equipment and what had outlived its usefulness. …

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