Education: Initial Course Available

Education: Initial Course Available

There have been efforts in developing nanotechnology safety courses.  This week will be about a course that was sponsored by OSHA.  The purpose of the development effort was to create sufficient material to provide enough material for an 8-hour training session for people who work with nanotechnology or are interested in working with nanotechnology.  The contract was awarded to Rice University in Houston, Texas in collaboration with Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas and the University of Texas at Tyler in Tyler, Texas.

The course was divided into seven modules, which are: 1) Introduction to nanotechnology and nanomaterials 2) What Workers Need to know about Nanomaterial Toxicology and Environmental Impacts; 3) Assessing Exposure to nanomaterials in the Workplace; 4) Controlling Exposure to nanomaterials; 5) Rick Management Approaches for Nanomaterial Workplaces; 6) Regulations and Standards Relevant to nanomaterial Workplaces; and, 7) Tools and References for Further Study.

The purpose of Module 1 is to provide workers with introductory information about nanotechnology and nanomaterials.  This provides a baseline of knowledge for all the students to move forward with the other modules.  Module 2 will provide workers with information on the environmental, health and safety impacts of nanomaterials and provides the students with the knowledge on how to find the latest regulations through sources available on the web. Module 3 provides workers with a basic awareness of sampling and analytical approaches being used for nanoparticles, the limitations of the results and the viability of alternative hazard assessment methods.  This module compares existing testing methods and provides a basic understanding of the various methods employed.  Module 4 provides workers with a basic awareness of the hierarchy of controls and its application to eliminate or reduce exposures to engineered nanoparticles. Every level of the hierarchy is addressed in this module: elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls and personal protective equipment. Module 5 provides workers with a basic awareness of the hierarchy of controls and its application to eliminate or reduce exposures to engineered nanoparticles. Every level of the hierarchy will be addressed in this module: elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls and personal protective equipment.  Module 6 provides workers with introductory information about OSHA and other standards and regulations relevant for nanomaterial workplaces.  Background on some of the organizations are provided as a means of understanding their purpose and scope.  The last module, 7, is designed to provide the worker with the ability to understand where trusted sources are located on the web and to understand what tools are available for future learning. [1]

As mentioned earlier, the contract was awarded to Rice University with Dr. Kristen Kulinowski as the Principal Investigator.  The original material was completed in March 2011.  A number of test courses were offered at technical conferences and a comparison of the eight-hour course and a four-hour shorter version resulted in a strong preference for the eight-hour course.

Next week’s blog will start an overview of an NSF award to Professor Jitendra Tate at Texas State University for the development of two courses in nanotechnology education that is aimed at college level students.

 

References:

[1]   This material was produced under grant number SH‐21008‐10‐60‐F‐48 from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. It does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

About Walt

I have been involved in various aspects of nanotechnology since the late 1970s. My interest in promoting nano-safety began in 2006 and produced a white paper in 2007 explaining the four pillars of nano-safety. I am a technology futurist and is currently focused on nanoelectronics, single digit nanomaterials, and 3D printing at the nanoscale. My experience includes three startups, two of which I founded, 13 years at SEMATECH, where I was a Senior Fellow of the technical staff when I left, and 12 years at General Electric with nine of them on corporate staff. I have a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, an MBA from James Madison University, and a B.S. in Physics from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

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