Bathroom decor to encourage chemistry lab safety

A few of Kent State’s science buildings have recently updated their bathroom decor, and the running theme is lab safety.  

Students may have noticed interesting comic strip-style posters in the Integrated Science Building bathrooms. The posters are part of the chemistry safety incident series.

“I am trying to grow a safety culture in the chemistry department,” said Chemical Health and Safety Coordinator Kara Barnett. “I’m educating people on safe practices, promoting and enforcing safety.”

The posters are in both the men’s and women’s bathrooms and each characterizes a reported incident, explains what went wrong and how to solve it. 

The September issue, A Blast From the Flask, featured a white coated squirrel accidentally exploding a glass dish and explained how improper training and unpreparedness can lead to serious accidents. 

The incidents are not from actual Kent State students, rather incidents reported in an American Chemical Society’s Journal.

Barnett said because safety is not an interesting subject, the posters, which she started in 2017, are a way to keep lab researchers engaged in safety. 

“If you’re not reinforcing (safety), complacency can take over,” Barnett said. “It’s important to know accidents can happen to anyone no matter what level of education you have.” 

The posters can be found in the Integrated Science Building, Williams Hall and the Science Research Building. Barnett plans to post a new one each month.

Contact Colleen Carroll at [email protected].