ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center awarded David McCaskey and John Carpin, two scientists within the Research and Technology Directorate's Operational Toxicology Branch, the 2013 Excellence in Safety Award for their design of the McNamara Glove Box Facility.

The award recognizes a team, office or individual that has made significant contributions to the prevention of accidents and injuries, implemented safety management system initiatives, or taken other actions that promote and improve a culture where safety is a core value.

ECBC Safety Director George Collins said, "We see ECBC employees deliver innovative and cutting-edge solutions to their customers every day. What is remarkable is when employees are able to deliver innovative and cutting-edge safety solutions across the Center to protect themselves and other employees. It is obvious that safety is at the forefront of our daily work and I am excited to see us continue to grow in that respect."

Director of R&T Joseph L. Corriveau, Ph.D., shared similar sentiments. "Safety is one of our values here and part of the ECBC culture. We recognize those folks that go the extra mile," he said. "David and John have made it their careers to develop safe ways to aerosolize chemical warfare agents, and we are grateful for the work they have done and continue to do in keeping employees safe."

McCaskey and Carpin have worked together as a team to solve problems that improve the safety in their every day work. By designing the first and second generations of the McNamara Glove Box Facility, which include the "Little Mac" and "Big Mac" glove boxes, they have promoted the safe handling of non-traditional agent materials at ECBC. The safe generation of NTA aerosols has advanced the Center's toxicology and detection capabilities while keeping safety at the forefront of their mission.

"The McNamara glove box was a model in a sense. It is specifically designed to work with chemical agents whereas most glove boxes are set up to for microbiology work," said Carpin, Ph.D. and biomedical engineer. "One of the containment issues in working with chemical agents is that you have toxic vapors to deal with in addition to aerosols, which is a lot different than bacterial particles or viruses. We had to take that into account when we designed the glove box."

For example, one cutting-edge design feature is an isolation damper on the inlet, which automatically closes to prevent any vapor from escaping the glove box in the event of a power outage or malfunction with the exhaust fans.

According to McCaskey, engineering technician, inhalation research is essential for toxicity testing. "The chemicals we're aerosolizing are super toxic, and a method had to be developed to contain it to ensure that it was absolutely contained. The first line of defense in any chemical operation is the engineering controls. The last line of defense is your personnel protective equipment," said McCaskey. "With all of the engineering controls, my personal protective equipment and the people I work with--their knowledge and mine--and the steps that we take to minimize the risk, I feel very safe."

"Anything we do is governed by a standing operating procedure," said McCaskey. "When developing procedures for working with the highly toxic material we deal with, we had to try to foresee any possible hazard prior to it becoming a problem and alleviate it beforehand. You can't alleviate all the risk, but you can alleviate most of it and make the rest less hazardous."

Both McCaskey and Carpin said they were honored to receive the 2013 Excellence in Safety Award. It is a testament to the extensive safety protocols that make it possible for the Center to properly work with the world's most dangerous chemicals. Congratulations to David McCaskey and Dr. John Carpin!


ECBC is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers.

RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness -- technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment -- to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.