So we just wrapped up our lab inspection with our safety department and what a relief it is to be done with it. Now I can bring all my goodies that I had stashed away and put them back up on my shelves. They generally frown on you keeping even the most minute amount of flammables at your station and my mini-bottles of chloroform (which I use for phenol:chloroform precipitations but BrooksPhD tells me its convenient tool in his bag of tricks to get a date), methanol, and ethanol would draw ridicule and scorn, so I put them away.
Unfortunately trailing our safety inspectors was an administrator who had no clue what we do in the lab. He saw I was working with Proteinase K this morning and asked if I had a protocol for it and could I provide it to him. I told him I sure did and showed him the vendor's specification sheet. This apparently was not good enough for him and he asked did I have a specific protocol for what I was using it for, what exactly I did with it and that that was what he wanted. At this point I'm staring at him, looking at him like really?
So dutifully I took out a sheet of paper and scribble down this:
"Proteinase K Protocol
-Take vial of Proteinase K from freezer.
-Let it thaw.
-Add to stuff.
-Heat at 55 degrees Celsius for 4 hours.
This now concludes the Proteinase K protocol"
Then said administrative bureaucrat asks if I have an IBC for the Proteinase K. The Safety person and I both look at each other and say there is no requirement for that. This is but part of the series of exchanges that I have with Adminitard during the inspections. After the inspection is over, one of our safety inspector, a former technician who I get along with quite well, confides in me that Adminitard asked to tag along on these inspections along him and his supervisor, a zealous inspector who probably was a Marine Corp DI before doing this. They also took it upon themselves to go through our fridges and freezers asking what each item was and what it was for. By a certain point in time I had reached limit and told them that they had to close up the freezer, because the alarms were going off and the temperatures are rising. I am not losing my samples to these fools.
I understand that safety is an on-going dialogue and even brought up some issues that I had to them, but rooting through my stuff like this is the Spanish Inquisition is not going to make the workplace safer. Especially when you have no idea what we do or what our coded samples mean. And no I can't tell you what they mean, some of our samples are blinded.
I'd like to chat more but I'm having to relabel my NaCl and PBS bottles as Sodium Chloride and Phosphate Buffered Saline. Well at least we are good for another six months or so. I hope. Hell hath no fury like a safety inspector and a bureaucrat who have no lab experience or science training.
Fuck my life.