EHS Open House: Learning Lab and Life Safety

By Brian O’Shea, Staff Writer; photos by Joe Meyer, Staff Photographer
A group of people talking at a table.

Vendors displaying laboratory safety equipment at the Environment, Health, and Safety Program’s Open House on May 19.

Attendees of the Environment, Health, and Safety Program’s (EHS’) Open House had a chance to learn self-defense techniques, as well as visit with vendors demonstrating the latest trends in laboratory safety.

“Working with sharps in labs is inherently dangerous, so EHS proactively focused on featuring equipment that would promote safer techniques,” said Siobhan Tierney, program manager, EHS.

Most labs run the risk of sharps injuries, and those labs that handle animals have an increased risk of injury. EHS also included vendors who showcased equipment that assists in the safe handling of lab animals. The vendors who participated in the event include Thomas Scientific, VWR International, and Total MRO.

The Open House was held in May in the lobby of Building 549. Tierney said attendees found the event worthwhile and noted that EHS received “positive feedback that people received valuable information from the vendors.”

Self-Defense Seminar Offered Important Advice

Besides promoting health and safety for the employees of NCI at Frederick, EHS provides crime prevention services and personal protection seminars, which is why the Open House also featured self-defense expert retired Captain Kirby Maybush. Maybush has been involved in Frederick County law enforcement for 45 years and has been teaching self-defense classes for 35 years. 

“I taught what one should do before, during, and after an altercation,” Maybush said. “Most of the self-defense classes I have attended almost always instruct [what to do] after or during an attack, but self-defense begins the moment one gets out of bed.”

He added that self-defense is not only about kicking and punching, but it is also about doing your best to avoid situations where an attack is likely to happen. Some of his recommendations are to always try to travel in groups, park close to your destination, do not allow people into your personal space, and never turn your back on someone you do not know.

“Body space is the area when you raise your arms, the space from the tip of your fingers to your body,” Maybush said. “Don’t let anyone you don’t know inside of your body space.”

Knowing self-defense techniques can be beneficial, but if you are attacked, one of the best defenses is to run away, he said.

This is not the first open house that EHS has organized. Over the past few years, the program has held an ergonomics fair, wellness events, and the annual Chili Cook-off. Tierney emphasized that these events are important and stressed the need for communication.

“We are always trying to promote the services that EHS provides to the NCI at Frederick community,” she said. “We are not just the safety police; we want to promote preventative measures to take to be safe.”

Tierney added that EHS has plans for future events similar to its recent Open House, and that the program is always open to suggestions for events that would be relevant and of interest to the NCI at Frederick community.

Kirby Maybush teaches a self-defense seminar at Environment, Health, and Safety Program’s open house May 19.