Archive for the ‘Newsletters’ Category

Newsletter – August 21, 2014


Welcome back Students, Faculty and Staff,

EHS has been busy over the summer!  The UA Chemical Hygiene Plan and the UA Biosafety Manual have been updated to better reflect current regulations and practices.  The required training is being updated to include this information as well.  You can find both of these on the EHS website,

We have several training courses that will be offered face to face this semester.  Information about those is forthcoming – as they are scheduled, updates will be posted on the Lab Safety Calendar

We are working on the Lab Ventilation Management Program to be in compliance with current requirements for fume hood testing and training.  Several courses for fume hood training have been scheduled for the fall semester.  You can see the dates for these on the lab safety calendar.  Please register to attend one of these classes if you will be working in a fume hood.

We would like to congratulate Marcy Huey for earning her RBP. RBP means Registered Biosafety Professional which is a certification earned by an individual with university education plus specialized training in relevant biological safety disciplines.


Please remember that chemical inspections are coming to a close. Also we are updating the fume hood and chemical safety training courses with changes in either delivery method or information. I will be offering face-to-face chemical safety training here at EHS however; the dates have not been confirmed at this time. I will post this info to the website once these dates and times are set in stone. Potentially the website will be a reference to see training times.


All sublicenses will expire at the end of August and the new ones are on the way. Also Annual Training is due in September.


We are currently working on updating the inventory records for Class 3B and Class 4 lasers.  Please make sure EHS has your updated information regarding the usage or storage location of your laser or laser system.  If you have a laser of any class that has never been registered, you can find the laser registration form on the EHS website at


Welcome back faculty, staff and students.

I hope that everyone had a great summer and more importantly you and your loved ones remained safe. As we enter into this academic year we return with a lot happening on the world front as it relates to biosafety. Between the Anthrax, Small Pox and now Ebola, we are reminded that our world is full of small things that can pose more of a threat than the daily risk we run just driving in traffic.  That being said, I want to keep us reminded of some simple things that we can do to keep our labs safe and minimize our risk in research.

1.      Remember to wash hands before leaving a lab space. Something so simple can save you a lot of discomfort later.

2.      Dispose of gloves after biohazardous procedures and definitely after each use. Re-use of disposable gloves should not occur and is a violation of UA Biosafety Policy.

3.      Make sure that lab doors are kept closed and locked (when lab staff is not present). The propping open of lab doors effects fume hoods and BSC’s reducing their effectiveness.

4.      Flush eyewash stations weekly. This insures that they are functioning properly and helps to remove deposits that may build-up in the lines.

5.      Wear closed toed shoes while in lab. We don’t want spills, fires or broken glass, but if research is happening these will always be possible.

6.      Wear appropriate PPE. Consider the risk involved in each procedure and make sure that your PPE matches the hazard.

These are six simple practices that can save use a lot of heart ache in the long run.

Have a great semester and I hope you are successful in all your research goals this academic year. Remember EHS is always here to help; do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.

April 16, 2014


The annual College and University Safety Professionals Conference will be hosted at Auburn University on May 14. If you are interested in attending this conference, please register here. This conference will feature speakers talking about different areas of the healthy and safety world and is a great opportunity to meet with other campus safety professionals and talk about best practices for campus safety.

Please remember that you need to register for fume hood training if you have not yet. You can find this registration information here. Also, if the fume hood in your lab won’t be in use for three months or more, please submit a hibernation request so that we can decommission the hood for that time.

With summer coming, we need to start preparing for summer research programs now. Please make sure that anyone who will be involved in summer research is set up for the proper training as soon as possible. Also, please let us know of any students who are graduating or will no longer be working in your labs so that we can remove them from our systems.


We have been working on updating, improving and simplifying the Biological Use Authorization form. It is almost complete, and, pending committee approval, should be released in the next two months. We will contact you when it becomes available.


Lab inspections will continue for a few more weeks. Please contact Andrea Davidson with any questions or concerns regarding inspections.


Please remember that completing basic radiation safety training does not allow you or your lab personnel to work in any of the labs on campus. Certain labs require additional training, and we need to know if you are planning on working in a new lab. You may request to work in a new lab and the RSO will review the request, but we need to have this request prior to you entering a new lab space to work. Each lab has a list of people who are allowed to work in that space, so please contact Hal Barrett if you would like to work in a new area.


The laser committee is meeting on April 17, 2014 to review the new ANSI standards, which will allow us to move forward with training, registration and inspections. More information will be passed on as it becomes available.

April 4, 2014


As the semester winds down, we are looking forward to summer. With summer coming, we need to start preparing for summer research programs now. Please make sure that anyone who will be involved in summer research is set up for the proper training as soon as possible. Also, please let us know of any students who are graduating or will no longer be working in your labs so that we can remove them from our systems.

The Department of Homeland Security will be here next week for a compliance assistance visit. This is not an inspection, but it is a preparatory measure for our upcoming inspection. They will be reviewing security practices including physical lab security, so they may be walking through labs.

The annual College and University Safety Professionals Conference will be hosted at Auburn University on May 14. If you are interested in attending this conference, please register here. This conference will feature speakers talking about different areas of the healthy and safety world and is a great opportunity to meet with other campus safety professionals and talk about best practices for campus safety.


If you have biological work from this academic year that you haven’t submitted a BUA form for, please do so before classes end.  A BUA needs to be submitted for any work that will be conducted over the summer by this deadline as well.

Please review the autoclave safety policy, which can be found here. If you need to update your tracking records, you can find that template here. Also, please remember that all lab personnel and teaching assistants who teach in labs must abide by the hand washing policy and wash hands after using the autoclaves and before leaving the lab.


An email was sent out about summer training programs. If you need to attend one of these training sessions, please contact Andrea Davidson.

The following information was taken from a blog written by Jyllian Kemsley from the American Chemical Society in regards to the differences in chemical safety terms. Please review this information for your future reference.

Chemical safety is the application of the best practices for handling chemicals and chemistry processes to minimize risk, whether to a person, facility, or community. It involves understanding the physical, chemical, and toxicological hazards of chemicals.

Chemical health is a subset of chemical safety that focuses on toxicology and health risks.

Chemical hygiene is essentially the same as chemical safety. It is the collection of best practices used to minimize chemical exposure, whether to workers or the community. It is one part of occupational or industrial hygiene, which broadly focuses on controlling biological, chemical, physical, ergonomic, and psychosocial stressors to ensure the well-being of workers and the community.

Chemical security involves preventing illegal or antisocial use of chemicals, often by restricting access.


The laser committee will meet on April 17 to review the new standards. It appears that the new regulations are not as strict as they have been in the past in some areas, so please be aware that changes will be coming soon. Laser inspections will start after the committee meeting. Please make sure that your laser registration is up-to-date. You may contact our department if you aren’t sure if your laser is registered correctly, and you can fill out the laser registration form here. 





February 28, 2014


120611_JH_CampusAll of our staff members received new Financial Affairs email addresses this week. Our staff listing has been updated to reflect these changes, so please update your information for us.

Our lab safety calendar is the best way to see what’s going on in our office and what will impact you and your lab. All trainings, inspections, committee meetings and testing dates are listed. Please contact us with any questions regarding dates.

Our staff is constantly working to improve our campus safety program, and this is accomplished in part by improving their personal knowledge and skills. Recently, Darren Moss attended the CDC Symposium.  Andrea Davidson, our chemical safety manager, recently submitted a technical session to CSHEMA that was accepted for presentation at the summer conference. Mitch Yerby recently became a certified crane operator after passing his certification tests. We are proud of the accomplishments of our staff and are happy to share this news with you.


The Institutional Biosafety Committee meets next Tuesday, March 4, to review submissions. The next meeting will be held on April 8. The submission deadline is Friday, March 21, which is the Friday before Spring Break.

A project review flow chart is posted on Biosafety page that clarifies how the review process works. If you have further questions about this process, contact Darren Moss.


Fume hood training is listed on the lab safety calendar if you need to sign up. Inspections are also ongoing, and you can find those dates listed on the calendar as well.


The initial training course is now on Skillport, so you are no longer required to come to our office to complete that training. However, you will still need to contact Hal Barrett to have the training session opened. Once the training session has been opened for you, you can complete the training course from anywhere via Skillport.


Our laser registration and inspections are still on hold due to some problems with the release of the new ANSI standards. The organization said that the new standards should be out within the month, so we will release that information when we receive it. We will post inspection dates on the calendar when they become available.


February 14, 2014


Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s hoping we’ve overcome the winter weather that’s been plaguing our campus and can get back into a normal routine.

Just a quick reminder!  Inspections and certification schedule dates can be found on our lab safety calendar. Other information is listed on this calendar as well, so please check it if you have questions about activities in your area.

We have expanded the time we dedicate to reviewing grants that have been awarded and submitted.  This is to assist you with compliance and us with understanding your research. We know that the frequent regulation changes have caused some confusion, and we want to clear up as much of that as we can. As we review, we are going to identify items that need to be addressed in an effort to assist with research activities.

Also, we have noticed an increase in shipments.  Remember, if you ship hazardous materials away from UA, you must to be certified to do so. Since most of our researchers are not certified, EHS personnel are available to provide this service to our campus. If you are need assistance shipping hazardous materials away from campus, please fill out the Request to Ship form.


Darren Moss is still doing annual lab compliance inspections. Inspections will end in April, so if your lab hasn’t been inspected yet, please be aware that Darren will be in to inspect sometime soon.

Upcoming!!  The deadline to submit Biological Use Authorization for the next IBC review is February 18. You can submit these protocols to our office.


Andrea Davidson is doing annual compliance inspections. These inspections should be wrapping up by the end of the semester. If you have any questions about the inspections, please contact Andrea.


The initial training course is now on Skillport, so you are no longer required to come to our office to complete that training. However, you will still need to contact Hal Barrett to have the training session opened. Once the training session has been opened for you, you can complete the training course from anywhere via Skillport.


We are going to delay the self-audits and inspections that were originally due in March.  ANSI is issuing a new laser standard that should be out in the next week or so, and we want to assess the changing requirements before we begin audits and inspections. We will update everyone once we receive more information regarding the new standards.

January 27, 2014




We’re already a month into the semester! Hopefully the start of the semester has gone well and will continue to go smoothly.

Our lab safety calendar has been updated with all the events, trainings and inspections that are going on in the Spring semester so you’ll know what’s going on in our office. If you need additional information about any of the events, please let us know.

If your lab has a fume hood, you can fill out a fume hood service request through the Quick Links section on the righthand side of the website.

As always, we are here to help you and we want to ensure open communication with everyone on campus. If you are ever unsure about a procedure or what you need to do, please let us know.


Just a reminder!  The IBC has moved to an annual review of all biological materials in use at UA.  If you have not had a review of your work within the last twelve months, you should submit a Biological Use Authorization (BUA) to the IBC.   Call Darren Moss for assistance with this new process.


You can register online for the new fume hood training. The link is on the lab safety calendar, and you can contact Andrea Davidson if you have any questions or if you need to know if this training applies to you.


Sublicense renewals are coming up in March. You need to register lasers before then, and this process can also be done via a link on the website on the Laser Safety page.

Have a great week!

January 15, 2014


This year, our department is taking measures to more effectively communicate with our faculty, staff and students. We have assessed the results of the survey that was administered at the end of the year and have taken the responses under consideration.  Where we can, we will work diligently to address these concerns. However, please be aware that there are certain areas of information that are restricted by government regulations. However, we will work hard to make sure you will be informed of anything that might impact you as soon as it comes to our attention.

Our website has been a work in progress since October 2013. We are nearing completion on updating all the linked materials. Once that is done, our new site will be linked on the official university pages.

We are currently working on a calendar of events for the Lab Safety Program.  This will include committee meetings, inspection dates and the dates of fume hood checks. If you are the sponsor for a student organization or for any other group on campus, we would be happy to add those meetings dates to the calendar. You can submit any pertinent dates by using our social media outlets or by emailing Marcy Huey. The calendar is posted on the EHS website and will be updated monthly.


The IBC has approved a proposal that we hope will assist with the review of biological materials.  Beginning January, 2014, BSL1/RG1 agents can be reviewed/approved by the Biological Safety program without submission to the full IBC.  Monthly updates on these items will be provided at each committee meeting.  Additional information on this process will be posted on the EHS website.

The Biosafety manual is being updated and will also be submitted for the committee’s review and approval. The tentative date for its release is March 1.


The training information for the chemical inventory system has been provided for you on the Skillsoft Academy. Once the training has been assigned to you, you can save the PowerPoint training session to your computer so that it’s always accessible to you for refresher information or further review. Once you have completed the training, you should still be able to access the program.  However, if you need help accessing the presentation or if the training session needs to be opened for you again, email Andrea Davidson.

The Chemical Safety Manual is currently being written and revised and will be published on our website once it’s done. It will be reviewed by the Lab Safety Committee and its tentative release date is also March 1. 


The radiation training session should be published to the Skillsoft Academy later this semester.  Until then, anyone who needs to complete the training will need to come to our office. If you are unsure about whether or not you need to complete the training, email Hal Barrett.


Inspections and sublicense updates start March 1, so registrations for new lasers need to be completed by then. The form for laser registration is now a web form, which can be found here.   More information about sublicense renewals will be in the February newsletters.

The ANSI standards that govern the Laser Safety Program have been revised and are due to be released in February.  We will update our program to be in compliance with those regulations once they are released.  You can submit any questions via our social media outlets or by emailing Marcy Huey.

Our Year in Review

Over the past year, several members of the Environmental Health and Safety Department (EHS) have received special recognitions, and we are proud to acknowledge these efforts.

Marcy Huey was elected to the Campus Safety Health and Environmental Management Association (CSHEMA) Board of Directors in July.  Huey, who has served as the Assistant Director of Compliance at EHS since October 2012, provides support in planning CSHEMA’s annual conference. She is also the task force leader for lab safety, and serves on both the special education task force and the professional development committee.

CSHEMA exists to provide support for EHS professionals across the country, and Marcy is one of only eight Board members. The group provides networking opportunities, forums and regional conferences, one of which was hosted at the Bryant Center earlier this semester.

Adam Nix received his Lightning Protection Journeyman Installer certification at the end of last year. This certification is given through the Lightning Protection Institute, and Adam is one of only nine people in the state to have this title.

The title is awarded to those who undergo a series of tests. The first two tests result in the Journeyman certification, and the next two result in the Master certification. Adam will take the tests for his Master Installer certification in February. These tests assess the installer’s knowledge of lightning protection systems, industry standards and the rules and regulations that apply.

Our team of fire technicians all reached the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) Level 2 certification last year, but some will be working to obtain the next level by the end of the year. There are four levels and different divisions within the levels. The NICET is a national certification that recognizes a superior knowledge of fire codes, fire alarm installation, life safety codes, electrical codes and international codes.

Our staff strives to be the best in our field and to keep our campus safe. The Office of Environmental Health and Safety is proud to recognize the accomplishments of our highly qualified staff over the past year and we are looking forward to what will be accomplished next year.

November 18, 2013


The semester is quickly winding down! Fall 2013 will soon be behind us and we will be celebrating the holiday season. With that in mind, please observe the following safety tips when leaving your lab for an extended period of time:

  • Lock up all chemicals, equipment and labs as applicable.
  • Ensure that equipment is properly stored and/or shut down.
  • Make sure all water and lights are turned off in your area.

We hope everyone has a safe holiday break!

Chemical Safety

Chemical lab inspections are underway and will continue through the end of the semester.  These inspections are unscheduled but if you would like to schedule yours, you can contact Andrea Davidson to set up a time.


Lab inspections started a few weeks ago and will continue for a few more weeks. Contact Darren Moss if you need to schedule a time or if you have any questions about the inspection process.

The submission deadline for the December IBC meeting is tomorrow. The meeting is December 3rd in 358 Rose. It is tentatively scheduled for 9 a.m., but that will probably be changing. We will keep you updated on that time change.

Radiation Safety

Annual inspections and training are done for the semester.  If you still haven’t finished your training, you will need to come by our office to complete your training. We are currently working on getting the training session onto the Skillsoft Academy and it will be completed before our next round of training requirements.

Laser Safety

We moved the registration form to an online form on our website due to some complications with the SharePoint page. Until those complications can be resolved, you can use the link on our website. Let us know if you have any further questions about the registration process.




Chemical Storage Group Systems

The Environmental Health and Safety Office is implementing a new chemical storage system. The goal of our new system is to decrease the chance of an accident while increasing efficiency and lab safety. Our system is based off the example system found in Prudent Practices in the Laboratory.  The following is an excerpt from the book detailing more information on the new system, which was found here.

Storage According to Compatibility

It is prudent to store containers of incompatible chemicals separately. Separation of incompatibles will reduce the risk of mixing in case of accidental breakage, fire, earthquake, or response to a laboratory emergency. Even when containers are tightly closed, fugitive vapors can cause deleterious incompatibility reactions that degrade labels, shelves, cabinets, and containers themselves. As discussed in Chapter 4, a far more detailed review of incompatibilities needs to be done when chemicals are deliberately mixed.

Figure 5.1  and Table 5.1 show an example of a detailed classification system for the storage of groups of chemicals by compatibility. The system classifies chemicals into 11 storage groups. Each group should be separated by secondary containment (e.g., plastic trays) or, ideally, stored in its own storage cabinet. According to this system, it is most important to separate storage groups B (compatible pyrophoric and water-reactive chemicals) and X (incompatible with all other storage groups). These two groups merit their own storage cabinets. The accompanying compact disc includes a spreadsheet of hundreds of chemicals listed according to these storage groups.

There are other good classification systems for storing chemicals according to compatibility. At a minimum, always store fuels away from oxidizers. In other systems, the following chemical groups are kept separate by using secondary containment, cabinets, or distance:

  • oxidizers, including peroxides;
  • corrosives—inorganic bases;
  • corrosives—inorganic acids, not including oxidizers or combustibles;
  • flammable materials;
  • reproductive toxins;
  • select carcinogens; and
  • substances with a high degree of acute toxicity.

Depending on the chemicals, their amounts, and the activities of your laboratory, it may make sense to separate these alternative storage groups. Also be sure to follow any storage information on the container’s label or on the chemical’s MSDS.

In seismically active regions, storage of chemicals requires additional stabilization of shelving and containers. Shelving and other storage units should be secured and contain a front-edge lip to prevent containers from falling. Ideally, containers of liquids are placed on a metal or plastic tray that could hold the liquid if the container broke while on the shelf. All laboratories, not only those in seismically active regions, benefit from these additional storage precautions.

Containers and Equipment

Specific guidelines regarding containers and equipment to use in storing chemicals are as follows:

  • Use of corrosion-resistant storage trays as secondary containment for spills, leaks, drips, or weeping is a good idea. Polypropylene trays are suitable for most purposes.
  • Use secondary containment (i.e., an overpack) to retain materials if the primary container breaks or leaks.
  • Provide vented cabinets beneath chemical hoods for storing hazardous materials. (This encourages the use of the hoods for transferring such materials.)
  • Seal containers to minimize escape of corrosive, flammable, or toxic vapors.


If you have any questions about the new system, please contact Andrea Davidson.