Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Don't ban my ipod!

We knew it was coming, there has even been altercations from health officers, but now it's official, headphones and ipods are banned in the lab. Here is a draft of the letter, we're planning to send to stop this madness. Please respond in the comments section if you have suggestions, or want to sign the petition.

Dear Mr. Health Officer,

It has recently been brought to my attention that headphones and portable audio devices will be permanently banned from the lab. The reasons put forth for this action are a perceived increased risk in bumping into someone while moving around in the lab, inability to hear fire alarms or someone calling for help after-hours. Let me address these concerns one by one. Firstly there are hearing impaired individuals working in the OHRI that might take offense to this. I propose instead that headphones should only be used when stationary, such has at the bench, computers or while at tissue culture stations. Safety is a question of comon sense, when working with hazardous material, one should wear eye protection, but clearly that is not needed when working on the computer. I feel this situation is analogous. Secondly, the fire alarm as you are well aware is actually very loud, and by design cannot be drowned by one of these devices. Thirdly, one should not be working with hazardous materials after-hours, and does so at his or her own risk. It is my conviction that the ipod is not only safe, but an essential tool in the lab, as i use it professionally to listen to scholarly publication podcasts. In fact no accounts of lab accidents caused by such devices has been reported here, in the litterature or any other research institution to date. If you want more information on the benefits of personal audio devices in a lab or hospital environment I recommend these ressources :
iPOD, iSAW, iCONQUERED "In general, music ‘at low levels can improve performance of … tasks, especially in an unstimulating environment or in an unmotivated individual’1 and music of any type has not been shown to affect anaesthetist’s psychomotor performance in a simulated environment".
The effect of music on anaesthetists' psychomotor performance "We undertook a laboratory-based study of the effects of music on the psychomotor performance of 12 anaesthetic trainees. Using part of the computer-based PsychE psychomotor evaluation programme, we were unable to demonstrate any effect of self-chosen music, silence, white noise or classical music on their performance in these tests. "
Integrating and promoting medical podcasts into the library collection "Podcasts offer a way for medical professionals to listen to current information in medicine from an iPod, MP3 player, handheld device, or computer. As podcasts become more popular, libraries may be interested in integrating programs into the library collection. South Pointe Medical Library evaluated medical podcasts relevant to the scope of the library collection and explored methods for finding and organizing such programs in ways that are efficient for both the librarian and the patron.".

The bayblab


Laser said...

is there a link to the official statement?

Anonymous said...

Should we also ban sonicating in the cold room in case we don't hear the fire alarm...not that i'm against that too much...damn it's cold in there!!!

Anonymous said...

OK, here is my take on this ipod ban situation. The health and safety people are working their clever little brains trying to identify risks in the lab which can be eliminated by simple little rules and bans. Real risks from hazardous chemicals are covered by burying us with MSDS sheets. Now remember, you can still find MSDS sheets which recommend respirators and full protective gear to work with common table salt. How useful is that in our workplace? We can also thank the health and safety rules for preventing us all from going on a binge, drinking all of our buffers and solutions on the bench. I know that those labels that say "do not ingest" are the only thing stopping me from guzzling down those tasty solutions.

Finally, a greater risk than the ipods or the clinical centrifuges (apparently they are death traps that must be replaced!) is either tripping on the carpets when entering the centre or slipping on a wet floor. I got it! We should all wear helmets in the workplace. Why not? Tripping/slipping is a risk. Helmets can prevent serious head injuries. It all makes good health and safety sense, doesn't it?

Or maybe, just maybe, it would be ridiculous to set up rules to prevent all conceivable risks. Maybe it would be better to focus on serious threats in the workplace. Maybe the ipods were selected as targets not solely due to perceived risks, but rather certain people don't like this new trend of ipod wearing anti-social zombies. Food for thought...oops no food for thought allowed in the lab.