After a research group has moved or left the University, the department may be faced with handling a variety of hazards. There may be chemicals, radioactive materials, biological materials, and equipment containing hazardous materials that must be managed before a new group takes ownership of the space.
PPE is the last line of defense against hazards that are part of your work in a laboratory or research space. Most eye injuries that occur in the lab are due to lack of proper personal protective equipment (PPE).
You should always evaluate your workplace for potential eye hazards so you can select the appropriate safety equipment. Eyeglasses are never a substitute for safety glasses or safety googles. There are plenty of eye protection options that fit well over your eyeglasses.
Safety glasses versus safety goggles
UW Facilities hosted a Safety Symposium on November 28, 2018 in the FS Training Center to engage staff on safety issues facing today's workforce.
This was a UW Facilities-sponsored event in partnership with Environmental Health & Safety, featuring Kurt Stranne, who provided presentations on safety leadership shared by employees and employers. Lou Cariello, Vice President of UW Facilities, gave opening remarks.
Although bats are a key part of our ecosystem, it is important to remember that a small proportion of bats in Washington state carry rabies, a deadly disease in the saliva of infected animals.
You may have noticed bats flying around campus. They are commonly seen flying at dusk, which is normal and not a cause for concern. However, if a bat is found on the ground or indoors, it may be an indication of something wrong with the bat.
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.
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.