Seriously serious (7 Mar, 2017)

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Seriously serious (7 Mar, 2017)

Postby aardvark_admin » Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:42 am

This column is archived at: http://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2017/0307.shtml

Were we, as students back in the day, exposed to outrageous levels of toxic mercury during our science lessons?

Or did the Hawkes Bay school have no option but to grossly over-react or have its staff risk facing prison as a result of the new Health & Safety laws that apply a criminal penalty to those who endanger others in the workplace?

Given that a handful of sulphur thrown on the spill would have immediately negated the risk and allowed it to be properly cleaned up outside of school hours, why was such a fuss made?

Is this further proof that these H&S laws are doing a damned fine job -- of crippling the country?

Did you get to "play" with mercury when you were a high-school student back in the day? If so, don't you think you should be entitled to a huge payout for the pain, suffering and emotional distress you're now facing at the realisation that you were so close to certain death?
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Re: Seriously serious (7 Mar, 2017)

Postby latewings » Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:00 am

A storm in a teacup?


Category Five tornado in the Earl Grey receptacle, considering the diesel fumes emanating from the poorly maintained 4WD land yachts that drop the snowflakes off each day at this supposed place of learning.
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Re: Seriously serious (7 Mar, 2017)

Postby goosemoose » Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:25 am

What I would like to know is why the school still has such dangerous items there. You can get non mercury thermometers these days. Was the purchase of these mercury thermometers an accounting decision? Why was this not picked up on a H&S audit - wheres Work Safe NZ in this situation? This could be the tip of the iceberg in unsafe devices around the school. Someone is not doing their job. A special board meeting should be called, counselling for those affected initiated, some one needs to be found accountable, heads should roll, policies reviewed, lessons need to be learned etc etc. :roll:
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Re: Seriously serious (7 Mar, 2017)

Postby Kiwiiano » Tue Mar 07, 2017 9:04 am

latewings wrote:
A storm in a teacup?


Category Five tornado in the Earl Grey receptacle, considering the diesel fumes emanating from the poorly maintained 4WD land yachts that drop the snowflakes off each day at this supposed place of learning.

Or the ultra-fine and toxic metallic particles from disk brakes laying waste to the land and lungs of the nation.

It reminded me of working in the Electrolytes Lab at ChCh Hospital Pathology Dept back in the 60's. Stainless steel benches awash with mercury spilt from the Blood Gases apparatus, beads of mercury gleaming from cracks between the floorboards where the lino had worm through. The demolition crews must have shit themselves when the old hospital came down unless no-one noticed and the bulldozers just rumbled thru.
Of course, we weren't entirely oblivious to the risks, we reckoned that the two women who worked full time in that room were abnormally grumpy although it was often a pretty high pressure job at times. But no-one tested for mercury poisoning back then.

If you want a laugh, look up disposing of a broken CFL on the Net. Almost to the point of house demolition in some accounts. Blithely unaware that the Hg in a CFL is an amalgam block, as dangerous as the fillings in your teeth. Back in the day (50's) it was different, I still have a film canister with a few beads of Hg gathered from disposed fluorescent tubes, I suppose I had better get rid of it in case I cark it unexpectedly and my family don't realise it might be a tad dodgy.
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Re: Seriously serious (7 Mar, 2017)

Postby phill » Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:20 am

im putting it down to
overpaid under qualified teachers ( may spout the books verbatim but not understand any of them )
not allowed to say female .. but its a 90/10 money bet split

anyone that works with chemicals must know the MSDS and hazards assessment .. both would have referenced sulphur

alcohol thermometers are ok now for accuracy if they are calibrated before acceptance in the lab ( ISO 9002 ) ( from memory )
type k are now cheap as chips indeed all electronic now are

mercury long bulb long scale are still the most accurate but i cant see any school requiring anywhere near that degree of exactitude
maybe they were teaching meth cooking
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Re: Seriously serious (7 Mar, 2017)

Postby Logan Savage » Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:51 am

aardvark_admin wrote:Don't they teach science teachers basic chemistry these days?
Not as much as you might think. You know when the teacher pops out through a door at the back of the classroom and comes back with a tray loaded with the chemicals and equipment needed for that days lesson and says "here's the experiment I've prepared for today."? Chances are it wasn't the teacher who prepared it. I've worked as a laboratory technician in 3 NZ Secondary schools, and it always amused me to hear them say "I've prepared". Did they not know I could hear every word from my lab on the other side of that little door? Mind you, I could hear every word the students said to the teacher, and I have to say I much preferred being on the other side of the little door. I had to completely redesign the chemical storage system at one (decile 10) school I went too, because the teachers had done it alphabetically and put the sodium next to the sulphuric acid, bless their little university educated hearts. Of course I was paid less than the classroom cleaner.
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Re: Seriously serious (7 Mar, 2017)

Postby Logan Savage » Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:56 am

goosemoose wrote:What I would like to know is why the school still has such dangerous items there.
Oh you would be surprised at some of the things old schools have buried at the back of forgotten cupboards! :shock:
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Re: Seriously serious (7 Mar, 2017)

Postby aardvark_admin » Tue Mar 07, 2017 11:02 am

But a frail glass vial filled with a dangerous neurotoxin (ie: a mercury thermometer), surely that's the sort of thing that only a terrorist would have in their possession?
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Re: Seriously serious (7 Mar, 2017)

Postby roygbiv » Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:06 pm

Next related news item will be when a teacher rushes a pupil to hospital with lead poisoning after they spotted them sucking the lead in a pencil. :P
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Re: Seriously serious (7 Mar, 2017)

Postby phill » Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:22 pm

Logan Savage wrote:
aardvark_admin wrote:Don't they teach science teachers basic chemistry these days?
Not as much as you might think. You know when the teacher pops out through a door at the back of the classroom and comes back with


up to this point i was waiting for the teachers edition to appear

ie
most dont need to know what they are teaching .. they only need to interpret the teachers edition for that lesson before the class starts
and dont laugh
many do / have to
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