By Admer Rey C. Dablio
Various laboratories in Mindanao participated in the Training-Workshop on Chemical Safety and Security organized by the Northern Mindanao Laboratory Consortium Foundation, Inc., in collaboration with the Chemistry Department of Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, Rio Verde Water Consortium Foundation, Inc. and the Regional Standards and the Testing Laboratories of the Department of Science and Technology Region X (DOST-X). The event was held at the Limketkai Luxe Hotel, Limketkai Center, C.M. Recto Avenue, Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro City on 12-14 May 2014.
The three-day workshop aimed at increasing safety and security awareness of laboratories handling chemicals. This training was designed for all safety and security officers and laboratory personnel from private, government, and academic laboratories, processing plants, agricultural chemical producers or distributors, chemical transportation industry, inspectors for health, environment, customs, and higher education, and safety and security enforcement agencies. Participated chiefly by chemists and chemical engineers, nonetheless there were biologists, medical tech-nologists, food technologists, laboratory technicians, safety supervisor, disaster risk reduction officer, safety, health and environment officer, sanitation officer, licensing officer, and owner of a chemical distribution company.
Chemists who completed the Chemical Safety and Security Officer (CSSO) Training facilitated by Sandia National Laboratories under the United States of America Department of State, held in Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines were the resource speakers of this training-workshop.
Jomarie P. Enerio, M.S. Chem is currently a Chemical Safety Officer at Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan. She attended the CSSO Training in 2012 in Davao City. Faustino M. Tarongoy Jr., M.S. Chem is also a Chemical Safety Officer at Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan and Chairman of the Chemistry Department in 2008 to 2011 and 2012 to 2013. Tarongoy actively participated in the 2009 CSSO Training in Bangkok, Thailand and he shared his knowledge on the subject during the 2012 training in Davao City. Tarongoy represented the Philippines in 2011 in the Associate Program on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Germany.
The lead resource speaker of the training-workshop was Patrick John Y. Lim, Ph.D. of the University of San Carlos in Cebu City. He became involved in chemical safety and security through collaborations with experts from Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, U.S.A., culminating with his appointment to a U.S. National Academies Committee on Promoting Safe and Secure Chemical Management in Developing Countries from 2009 to 2010. His engagement in chemical safety and security included travels to conduct training in Pakistan and Yemen, and to attend workshops in Australia, Thailand, Switzerland, and the U.S.A. His latest travel to Spiez, Switzerland was as a discussant for the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) Workshop 2012, on Impacts of Scientific Development on the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Participants appreciated the productivities borne out of the training-workshop because these learning have practical upshot in the improvement of their laboratories and in the assessment of the hazards involved with handling chemicals and chemical wastes. Julebelle A. Eltanal from the Department of Health Region 10, a medical technologist assigned at the licensing division of the agency checking on the laboratories, facilities, and services for drinking water testing in the region, said that she is very thankful of this training because she is now more aware of what are the things she should check during the conduct of laboratory safety inspection or audit and she can now give inputs and suggestions for the improvement of the audited laboratory.
Participants similarly visited the Regional Standards and Testing Laboratories of the DOST-X where a laboratory inspection and chemical safety and security audit were conducted. They noted some good features and practices of DOST-X laboratories which they may adopt in their own laboratories.
Engr. Joffrey E. Hapitan, President of the Board of Trustees of NorMin LABCON and Senior Vice-President for Operations of Rio Verde Water Consortium, Inc., said that more training-workshops will be conducted by NorMin LABCON as the foundation’s desire to improve its capabilities is continually burning.