Chemical Safety Violation in Litho

Mary Tang mtang at
Tue Aug 17 10:02:12 PDT 2004

Hi all --

Needless to say, I've received a lot of email responses about this...  In
answer to the most frequently asked questions:

1.  Who did this?  No, I don't know who did this.  Actually, I do not think
this individual's actions in this specific incident is really the problem.
The problem is that four people wrote to say they noticed a strong solvent
smell and three decided not to do anything about it, not even mention it to
other people in the lab.  It's easy to take for granted, but EVERYONE is
responsible for safety.  Especially after hours and on weekends.  Don't be
shy -- it's YOUR lab, not ours...  If you don't or can't take action, the
very least you can do is to inform someone -- an email to
safety at

2.  I didn't do this, do I still receive the penalty?  Yes, please either
take the safety test (if you haven't ever done so -- it was implemented over
a year ago) or provide a question that we can use on the  safety test.  I
know that it's likely that none of you was specifically responsible for the
incident, but again, see #1 above.  The penalty is small, but meant to be
annoying rather than onerous.  I suggest that the length and thought that
went into several of the emails I've received so far would probably have
just as well been spent in coming up with a good question...

3.  As for the safety test question:  please provide a question in the form
of multiple choice.  If you haven't seen the safety test (i.e., you're an
old-timer), please drop by Maureen's office to pick up one.  Yes, the
questions are difficult, several of which don't have answers -- most were
real questions from labmembers and real life situations.   And you too can
contribute to the safety awareness of future labmembers!

4.  Why am I singled out for punishment?  No one person is singled out.
EVERYONE who enabled manual coaters during the time frame that we suspect
the violation occured. And yes, some people will get hit up multiple times,
simply because they've happened to enable equipment during the suspected
time.  Claudia has been hit up twice, but Daesung is the winner at 3 times,
so far I think.  Yes, it seems unfair -- but again, I'm sure that the
culprits in this and other incidents did not do these things intentionally,
and again, in each and every one of these incidents, I've received emails
from people who said they noticed these things, but didn't say or do
anything about them....  EVERYONE is responsible for safety in the lab.

5.  Why have I received this email, though I haven't been in the lab?  This
is because you are listed as members of the two me342 groups which used a
group enable on one of the manual coaters.  Your group can collectively
provide a question.

Again, I am sorry to do this -- I can't describe how much I dislike policing
-- but these chemical safety violations are not acceptable and we all need
to share responsibility for them.  This is repeated many times in Uli's
all-litho training, but we all need to be reminded of things we may take for
granted...  Please help by spreading the word:  "Everyone is responsible for
safety in the lab."



Mary X. Tang, Ph.D.
Stanford Nanofabrication Facility
CIS Room 136, Mail Code 4070
Stanford, CA  94305
mtang at

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