Do-it-yourself repairs or projects that disturb walls, floor tiles, ceilings, fixtures and other building materials can expose you to substances that pose serious health risks.
University policy prohibits any “do-it-yourself” construction, renovation or modification of University buildings. Even simple projects, such as hammering a nail into a wall, can expose you to hazardous chemicals and result in regulatory fines.
On a recent Friday morning, the phone rang at the Environmental Health & Safety office where an emergency on-call staff person was ready to respond in the event of a fire, explosion, chemical spill, radiation leak or other hazardous material incident.
Does your biological safety cabinet (BSC) have an ultraviolet (UV) lamp in it? If so, it may not be as effective for sterilization/decontamination purposes as you need it to be.
Ultraviolet radiation is a form of non-ionizing radiation, and biological effects from it vary with wavelength, photon energy, and duration of exposure. The 100-280 nm wavelength band is designated as UV-C, which is used for germicidal purposes.
The sterilization/decontamination activity of UV lights is limited by a number of factors, including:
Are you involved in planning or hosting a science, technology, engineering and math focused (STEM) program for youth at the University? EH&S, in conjunction with the Office for Youth Programs Development and Support, recently released new safety considerations for youth in STEM environments as a resource for UW faculty and staff.
Home Safe 4 the Holidays video from UW DEOHS Continuing Education Programs
As the end of the year quickly approaches, we are often preoccupied with holiday planning, year-end deadlines and work commitments. As a result, many employers see an increase in workplace injuries just before and after the holiday season.
EH&S reminds the UW community to be mindful and maintain your focus on safety at all times, especially during the holiday season.
Be mindful while working.
Eliminate as many distractions as possible:
The National Safety Council reminds us to take precautions while decorating for the holidays.
The 12 Steps of Safety include:
1. Never use lighted candles near trees or boughs.
2. Keep poisonous plants out of reach of children and pets.
3. Keep trees away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources.
4. Make sure your tree has a stable platform.
5. Choose an artificial tree that is lableled fire resistant.
6. If using a natural tree, make sure it is well watered.
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).