ONE RESPONSE TO A COLLECTION-WIDE MOLD OUTBREAK: HOW BAD CAN IT BE—HOW GOOD CAN IT GET?
DIANA HOBART DICUS
5 5. PROCEDURES
Procedures established during response work were clearly defined for all personnel associated with the project. Health and safety, artifact handling, and maintenance procedures needed frequent drill.
5.1 5.1 HEALTH AND SAFETY
Each crew member was trained in the safe use of all materials, including respirator, gloves, and cleaning chemicals, and instructed in hand washing and shoe cleaning. Antibacterial soap and fungicidal shampoo were provided for personal hygiene. Respirator fit was tested using positive-negative pressure and the irritant smoke fit test kit.
Crew members were instructed to enter the storage area only when fully protected. They also were instructed to remove all personal protective equipment and wash before entering the office and lunchroom areas. Workstations were to be cleaned with the 70% isopropyl alcohol only when wearing chemical resistant gloves and half-mask respirators. These safety rules required regular reinforcement.
The storage area was windowless and in the event of a power outage was totally dark. Each crew member had an operational flashlight at his or her workstation. There was a telephone in the storage area, and exit doors were marked.
All vacuum cleaners and workstation lamps were plugged into surge bars. Electrical overload was a potential problem.
The storage area has three entry doors for emergency use. There is a fire alarm system, and two fire evacuation drills were conducted during the duration of the project. The storage area has a wet pipe water sprinkler fire suppression system. There are also hand-held ABC fire extinguishers. No fire extinguisher use training was provided during the project.
5.2 5.2 ARTIFACT HANDLING
Printed artifact handling procedures were given to all crew members, and artifact handling demonstrations were presented throughout the project. Misunderstanding, fatigue, distraction, physical discomfort, tedium, and lack of concentration caused inappropriate handling. Occasionally a crew member designed housing or support systems that did not allow access to the object; some support systems were difficult or impossible to open or release. Sometimes handling techniques were inappropriate.
One-on-one consultation by the conservator with each crew member prior to the start of work with an artifact category and frequent visits to each workstation to answer questions proved to be the most efficacious training. Discussions about conservation principles as they related to a specific artifact helped involve the crew in problem solving for specific artifact housing. Individual crew members developed many creative housings and supports for artifacts. A cooperative exchange of ideas was encouraged.
5.3 5.3 MAINTENANCE
Workstation maintenance was the responsibility of each crew member. Disposal of all waste material was part of the daily maintenance. Each crew member was responsible for changing his or her vacuum cleaner bags and filters on a weekly schedule. Waste was put out of the building daily, in large, tied garbage bags. Maintenance of the work areas and the lunchroom was shared by all crew personnel on a rotating schedule.