Debbie Knight

A day in the life: August 17, 2011

In research log on August 17, 2011 at 1:37 pm


From time to time, I will give a glimpse into the “glamorous” life of a research associate and talk about what I’m doing in the lab on a particular day. These entries I will call “A Day in the Life…” 

Safety chick!

One of my various roles in the lab is as a “Safety Chick.”

Okay, officially the title is “radiation safety officer,” but I’m also the chemical safety queen as well. Basically, I make sure the safety rules are followed, whether those rules are for working with radioactive materials, biohazardous materials or chemicals.

Today, another lab was in a bind – they needed to harvest a radioactive experiment and their harvesting device was broken. They asked my boss if they could use the harvester in our lab.

No problem, what are lab neighbors for?

However, what my boss did not think about is that in order for someone to use our radioactive equipment, they need to be approved to use it in our lab by the University Radiation Safety. And these lab neighbors had not been.

My boss knew the rule, but just somehow didn’t think about it in this context.

So, after they were already in our lab using the equipment, my boss mentions in passing that these folks doing just that.


We quickly remedied the situation by having my boss take over the harvesting task for them.

I feel like we dodged a bullet — we’re due for an unannounced inspection from Radiation Safety any time now, and we could have gotten into some serious trouble.

Another crisis averted by “Safety Chick.” (Cue the wind blowing through the superhero cape). Good thing I take my job seriously when it comes to lab safety!


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