Latest News

 

Ladder safety at work and home

Injuries have occurred while UW employees were using ladders on the job. These incidents show that using ladders can be dangerous if not used properly. Before you use a ladder at work or at home, make sure you take the necessary safety precautions.

What went wrong in the recent UW incidents?

  • A person fell off a ladder when overreaching.

  • Someone could not find a step ladder for a job, and instead used an orchard ladder (tripod type ladder), and fell to the ground when it tipped over.

 

Changes to radioactive waste disposal rates

The cost of disposing radioactive waste is recovered via a cost center at the UW. Fortunately, the rates for disposing most radioactive waste streams decreased this year due to switching to a waste processing facility with thermal treatment capabilities. The new waste processor charges by the pound for thermal treatment so the new rates are calculated based upon weight as opposed to volume as in the past.

What are the new waste disposal rates?

 
 
 

Chemical Waste Container Explosion – Lessons Learned

EH&S staff were notified of a chemical spill on August 2, 2017, during which a waste bottle ruptured in secondary containment bin, spilling about 3 liters of liquid. The lab was evacuated and a hazardous material team cleaned up the chemicals and shattered glass.

The ruptured 4 liter glass bottle was manufactured for chemical waste storage and disposal purposes, and reportedly contained a mixture of organic solvents. EH&S staff noted that the hazardous waste label was incomplete and the actual contents were unknown.

 

National Biosafety Month 2017: Sharps Safety and Exposure Response

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.

 
 

Mercury Thermometers ‘Swap’ Program

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.

 
 

New Accident Prevention Plan (APP) Launched

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.