During 2017's National Biosafety Month, you are encouraged to focus attention on biosafety policies, practices and procedures. Investigators and laboratory managers should raise biosafety awareness, discuss the importance of safety, and seek input on ways to strengthen biosafety practices and procedures in their labs. This year, EH&S is focusing on sharps safety in research and exposure response.
It’s time again for the biannual Health and Safety Committee (HSC) elections. HSC members are an important component of the University’s total safety program. Nominations are now open for the next two-year committee term, which will begin on January 1, 2018. Don’t miss your chance to nominate a coworker or become a committee member yourself!
Environmental Programs, a section of EH&S, offers laboratories a system to recycle mercury thermometers. The mercury thermometer swap program is a valuable resource that supplies our research community with an environmentally safe option.
Broken mercury thermometers account for almost half of the spills that occur each year on the UW campus. A broken mercury thermometer wastes time and money. A lab risks loss of lab equipment, research and time due to mercury spills.
EH&S has published a new guidance sheet focused on working safely with dry ice. This useful resource reviews the hazards and appropriate precautions that should be used with dry ice, commonly used for the shipment of specimens and during power outages.
EH&S has developed a new Accident Prevention Plan (APP) for University of Washington employees with the exception of employees working at UW Medicine UW Medical Center or Harborview. This document replaces the template for Departmental Health and Safety Plans, and covers general health and safety information applicable to all employees. All employers in Washington State are required to have an APP that details the occupational hazards present in their work environment and how their employees are protected from these hazards.
The Employee Health Center provides scheduled preventive health care for UW employees who are at higher risk for occupational exposures to potentially hazardous materials. We provide physical exams, screenings, vaccinations and medical surveillance for personnel working in high risk areas, such as research labs, animal care centers, clinical settings and the UW Police Department.
EH&S developed a lab safety performance rating using 30 questions from the Laboratory Safety Checklist that focus on chemical safety, training and personal protective equipment. The 30 selected questions are common to institutions performing laboratory safety surveys and have been vetted by an advisory task force.
We often encounter cardboard when we visit biological labs. Unless you are using cardboard as part of your experiment, it doesn’t belong in a biological lab.
Cardboard and other porous materials cannot be decontaminated with a surface spray in the event of a splash, spatter or spill of biohazardous material. In the event of contamination, these items must be autoclaved.
Spring is the perfect time to organize, clean, and remove unnecessary and potentially hazardous clutter, such as cardboard.
EH&S is implementing a new Lab Safety Award program to acknowledge labs scoring 85% or higher in their safety surveys.
EH&S has developed a new online Hydrofluoric Acid Safety Training course to help those who work with or may be exposed to hydrofluoric acid (HF) in the workplace. HF exposures can lead to some serious injuries or fatalities.