Several universities in the northwest have been subjected to unannounced regulatory inspections recently by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or by the Washington State Department of Ecology. At least one university received a fine for non-compliance worth tens of thousands of dollars.
The General Health and Safety Course Selection Tool is a new comprehensive guide that will help supervisors and employees determine which health and safety courses to take. The guide is a task-based, accurate way to determine which courses are most relevant to address the hazards specific to an employee's individual work environment. After selecting the tasks specific to the employee, the tool will provide a list of required and recommended training courses that can be printed or emailed.
During National Biosafety Month, you are encouraged to focus attention on biosafety policies and practices. Investigators and laboratory managers can raise biosafety awareness, discuss the importance of safety, and seek input on ways to strengthen biosafety in their labs. This year, EH&S is focusing on ways you can promote a culture of safety.
1. Know your responsibilities as a principal investigator (PI).
Has an EH&S representative visited your lab lately? If not, chances are good that one of our safety ambassadors will visit soon to review the Laboratory Safety Checklist, a list of 78 questions addressing a variety of topics including chemical safety, training of personnel, personal protective equipment and emergency preparedness.
Many laboratories use hazardous chemicals that are purchased in large quantities and then transferred into smaller secondary containers (e.g., vials, flasks or bottles), or prepared as diluted solutions or mixtures for use.
If your laboratory uses secondary containers filled with chemicals, the secondary containers must comply with OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard for Labels and Pictograms.
The EH&S Shipping Regulated Medical Waste training course is now available online! This training is required initially and every three years for any personnel who perform the final packaging steps and offer shipments to the UW waste contractor. The online training includes hazard and security awareness, safety procedures, and function-specific shipping instructions. We hope that the online course makes it easier for personnel to complete the training requirement.
A UW employee’s feet became entangled with cords under a desk, causing them to lose their balance and fall, resulting in a bone fracture. This event triggered a response from the UW’s accident and injury network to prevent future incidents like this one.
How are accidents and injuries prevented at the UW?
All entering graduate students working in laboratories or other research space with hazards at any UW campus location are highly encouraged to attend the Graduate Student Safety Seminar. This seminar will orient new researchers to the University’s safety requirements, procedures, and expectations. It is an opportunity to introduce new graduate students to the established strong culture of safety that will support them in creating a successful graduate career.
The National Weather Service announced an air quality alert for Western Washington through 12 p.m.. on Thursdat, 8/23. The Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality index in the Seattle and Tacoma areas is in the “unhealthy” category, meaning that “everyone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more health effects.”