Chemistry and Materials Science R&D laboratories are some of the most dynamic and groundbreaking environments to work in; however, for employees with specific chemical sensitivities or allergies, it can present unique challenges. Women who are pregnant are particularly at-risk, as they may be more sensitive to certain substances in the labs, and exposure during critical periods of development could pose risks to fetal health. Ensuring proper safety measures and protocols are in place is crucial to minimize potential risks; however, this can be tricky for most labs. But not for labs that use Albert.
“As a pregnant employee in the lab it was a painstaking process to pull inventory reports for hazardous substances and I rarely felt confident that the reports were accurate and up to date. With Albert, it’s totally different. Within minutes, you can pull an employee’s tasks, see what she’s exposed to, and know exactly where these substances are every moment of every day.
Without Albert: Challenges for EHS Managers
Once a female employee notifies her manager that she is pregnant, the company’s Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) manager becomes extremely important in ensuring her safety, wellbeing, and compliance with medical advice and relevant regulations. Typically, the employee’s doctor will ask for a thorough risk assessment of the pregnant employee’s work environment so they can recommend the right safety protocol. This requires the EHS manager to conduct several interviews and dig through records that are often scattered across multiple systems and spreadsheets to identify potential hazards and evaluate the risks associated with her specific tasks and exposure to chemicals. Then, the EHS manager needs to implement the recommended safety measures to protect the pregnant employee and her unborn baby, including controlling exposure to hazardous substances.
While it’s relatively easy to determine which substances are hazardous, it is often extremely difficult and tedious to know exactly where these substances are in the lab at every moment so the employee can stay away from them. If there are any question marks during this process—which there usually are—the employee’s doctor and EHS manager are likely to err on the side of caution and remove the pregnant employee from the lab and give her a desk job until after the baby is born. This outcome, while safe, can cause disruption to the lab’s workflow, not to mention demotivate the pregnant employee.
With Albert: An EHS Manager’s Best Friend
However, if that same employee worked for a company that uses Albert, the EHS manager’s and doctor’s jobs would be much more straightforward. Within minutes, the EHS manager would be able to pull a thorough risk assessment for the doctor to review, including all tasks and hazardous materials the pregnant employee is working on and with, so they have an accurate picture of her day-to-day activities. Then, Albert makes it very simple for the EHS manager and employee to follow her doctor’s recommendations and safety protocols.
As a result, not only does the EHS manager save significant time and resources, but everyone feels more confident in the risk assessment. This, in turn, could make it possible for the pregnant employee to continue doing the work she loves to do in the lab while also ensuring she and her unborn baby stay safe.
As a mother with EHS, and regulatory compliance experience with organizations such as Lubrizol and Sherwin-Williams, I understand what it’s like to navigate the challenging waters of working in a chemical lab while pregnant. If I were expecting again, I would feel so much more confident with Albert about my safety in the lab during this special time.
Albert’s Regulatory reporting feature can also help EHS managers support employees who have specific allergies or sensitivities. It can also come in handy during an OSHA inspection, where inspectors often want to know, for example, how many flammable liquids are in a building. A few clicks in the Albert system will produce a clear and accurate report that shows the location of all flammable substances, proving the company is complying with code.