On Monday, Yahoo posted a news piece about “the 15 jobs that are most Damaging to your health”. This report identifies histotechnologists and histotechnicians as the most health hazardous job out of 974 professions. No wonder there are no histology technicians left to replace the baby boomers who are now trying to retire. There was a lot of commotion on the histology forum (histonet, http://www.histosearch.com/histonet.html) Tuesday and Wednesday about this controversial subject. Some were giving examples of the lab conditions they worked in the past. I’ve heard the stories from some of the older histotechs about them eating, drinking and smoking in the labs while performing gross dissection on patient tissues. They also told stories about how there were no fume hoods, MSDS sheets or safety precautions taken for any chemicals. Techs were encouraged to melt paraffin off their hands using xylene. In the past 25 years those safety precautions and regulations have been put into place but still do not mean much unless the lab adheres to them. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/the-15-jobs-that-are-most-damaging-to-your-health-155706120.html
The first histology lab I worked (2004-2010) in had little or no safety precautions set up for the workers. All the chemicals that did not go down the drain, went into the techs blood stream working in the lab. The owner a 30 year veteran of histology explained that he had been grossing tissues without gloves for 30 plus years and did not believe in any of the health risks associated with histology chemicals, because he did not exhibit any abnormal symptoms. That’s too bad for all the employees who have ever worked for him or continue to do so. This is a prime example of gross negligence by a professional employer.
The forum also talked about trying to set up a system like the nursing association, with all the histology technicians submitting their doctors yearly check-ups to categorize and identify possible health and safety issues associated with the profession of histology. After years of data was compiled on all the histotechs who completed the surveys, this would give rise to a database that might correlate and predict life expectancy for the average histology technician. The possibility for new safety regulations and precautions may also result.