Archive for the ‘Newsletters’ Category

January 12, 2015

Hello Students, Faculty and Staff,
Welcome back. Hope everyone had an enjoyable break and are ready for the New Year. The New Year brings changes to the EHS staff. Marcy Huey has taken a new position within financial affairs.
Due to the recent changes in personnel please contact, Andrea Davidson ( 205-348-5914 office or 205-361-0079 cell) for questions concerning chemicals of interest approval, chemical lab safety, chemical training, and chemical inventory.
If you are acquiring new students or students that will be working within your research lab please contact Andrea regarding chemical safety training.
Chemical inventory is about to be underway again starting with SEC. Please take the required action to prepare your space and chemicals for inventorying.
If you have lasers within your space please make certain to register those lasers. IF these items have moved, been discarded, or dismantled please notify EHS and/or Andrea Davidson regarding these changes.
The radiation safety program requires that all faculty and staff members who supervise labs that use radiation producing machines or materials must be approved prior to the initiating week. The approved process begins with an application that is available on the EHS web site. Following the completion of the application it is reviewed by the Radiation Control Advisory Committee (RCAC) and acting upon. Failure to follow this process can result in censure by the state regulatory agency and may jeopardize the entire program.
The program inspection by the Alabama Department of Public Health is due at any time. Part of the inspection will include rights to laboratories. Be prepared for an inspection in your lab
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has issued new recommendations for controlling worker exposure to engineered nanomaterials in manufacturing.
The recommendations are based on technologies now applied in the various industries that use nanomaterials, and on control methods that have been shown to be effective in reducing occupational exposures in other industries, according to NIOSH.
The recommendations are detailed in a new document called “Current Strategies for Engineering Controls in Nanomaterial Production and Downstream Handling Processes.”
The NIOSH guidance favors engineering controls over administrative controls and PPE for lowering worker exposures, “because they are designed to remove the hazard at the source, before it comes into contact with the worker,” the agency said in a news release.
There’s been little evidence showing the effectiveness of controls during the manufacture and downstream use of engineered nanomaterials in specific applications, NIOSH added.
“The NIOSH recommendations fill a gap for science-based guidance that employers and workers can apply now, as research continues for better understanding of nanomaterial characteristics, and ways in which workers may be exposed, that may pose the risk of adverse health effects,” the agency said.
Processes discussed in the document include reactor operations and cleanout processes; small-scale weighing and handling of nanopowders; intermediate and finishing processes; and maintenance tasks.
The document also includes recommendations for evaluating the performance of control technologies and control systems.
The consumer-products market has more than 1,000 nanomaterial-containing products, including makeup, sunscreen, food-storage products, appliances, clothing, electronics, computers, sporting goods, and coatings, according to NIOSH.
As more nanomaterials are introduced into the workplace and nano-enabled products enter the market, the NIOSH document emphasizes the importance of producers and users to ensure a safe and healthy work environment.

December 2, 2014


Hello Students, Faculty and Staff,
As we are wrapping up fall semester- and 2014 – here are some things to remember for your labs over the holidays:
• The University will be officially closed for the Christmas Break period from Wednesday, December 24th until Monday, January 5th. This means that access to UA facilities and staff may be limited during this time. Please be aware of these possible limitations and plan any potentially hazardous experiments accordingly.
• Please take additional precautions for safety and security if you will be away from the lab for an extended time during this break. Be sure all reactions are completed, chemicals are stored properly, water is turned off, lights are out, computers are off, and doors are locked.
• Unwanted chemical pickups should be submitted ASAP to guarantee pickup before the holiday break. EHS staff cannot guarantee a pickup after December 12.
• Contact EHS to make chemical receiving/delivery arrangements for any restricted materials orders that might be received between Wednesday, December 24th until Monday, January 5th.
As the semester is drawing to a close please prepare your lab(s) accordingly, please store your chemicals and properly prepare your equipment for dormancy.

As always if you have any safety training needs that have changed due to research progress please notify us so we may update your student training.

If you have a list of students who will be needing training for next semester please go ahead and submit this to our office.

Thanks for your dedication to safety.

Happy Holidays.

A Model for Creating a Safety Culture

Citing former MIT professor and organizational-culture guru Edgar Schein “leaders manage and measure the climate, not the culture”.

“If you manage it well enough and long enough, it turns into the culture,”

“Climate changes quickly, and culture changes slowly.” —Jim Spigener

With that in mind, here is a model illustrating how a leader’s behavior shapes a culture. It looks like this:

· If a leader behaves differently, it affects the climate.

· The climate affects follower behavior.

· Follower behavior affects follower beliefs.

· Follower beliefs create the culture.

To create a safety culture, leaders must behave differently. To do that, leaders must get connected to their value for safety.

Often when research leaders are asked what safety means to them personally, the No. 1 answer is, ‘People get to go home the way they came in,’

When I ask what safety means to you, what does it mean to the makeup of you? When you look in the mirror, what does safety really mean to you?”

Human Life is the primary concern

Safety is not some abstract thing, it’s not about numbers. It really is about your connection to the sanctity of human life. Because that is the most important thing that we own as a human race – nothing else comes close to it.

October 7, 2014

Hello Students, Faculty and Staff,
Don’t forget to attend the UA Employee Health Fair on October 8, 2014. Health fair participants can take advantage of the opportunity to receive free health screening tests. In addition, the University Medical Center will also be providing free flu shots to current UA employees, to their spouses, and to UA retirees.
Fume hood training online has now been uploaded and is available on the academy. If researchers/P.I.s etc. are interested in having this training assigned to their students or employees please feel free to contact Andrea or submit a request via the website.
-We also have UA-specific Chemical Safety Training available now.
– During recent inspections I noticed a large number of unsecured gas cylinders. Please check these and make sure everything is secure.
– If you need safety training for your students, please contact us.
Annual training is over. Please check your lists and if you are missing anyone let us know. We will check our records to make sure they have completed training.
Biosecurity: Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) is life sciences research that, based on current understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, information, products, or technologies that could be directly misapplied to pose a significant threat with broad potential consequences to public health and safety, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment, materiel, or national security. The United States Government’s oversight of DURC is aimed at preserving the benefits of life sciences research while minimizing the risk of misuse of the knowledge, information, products, or technologies provided by such research.

September 16, 2014

Hello Students, Faculty and Staff,
We are updating the lab registrations for all faculty research spaces. The lab registration form has been moved online and is available here. If you have not submitted an updated registration within the last 90 days, please do so. Beginning next week, we will be contacting anyone who has not submitted an updated lab registration to make sure our records are current.

As we expand the scope of the Laboratory Ventilation program to be in compliance with current standards, we have expanded the sections of Fume Hood Training. While this training is mandatory for all TAs and graduate students in the Dept. of Chemistry, it is strongly recommended for anyone working with a fume hood in a laboratory. Current sessions and registration information are posted on the Lab Safety Calendar.

In addition to the Fume Hood training (above), we are currently re-formatting the online training. This will not replace the in person training. Also be on the lookout for in person chemical safety training offered at the EHS conference room. You may sign up for this training via the website by using the Lab Safety Calendar.
Question for the students—-do you know where your SDS information is stored and how to access that information?

Attention all persons who work with radioactive sources, you must complete initial and annual training. Initial training is provided by the Skillport system. To sign up for training contact the RSO Hal Barrett by email at or by completing the Training Request form at

If you order a new laser, remember to register it so we can verify the space requirements for a new system. The registration is available here

EHS, ORC and the IBC are working together to raise awareness this month about issues related to biosafety, and increase resources available to the research community. In keeping with this, we recently posted a special newsletter about the National Biosafety Stewardship Month (see Sept 10 newsletter). Be sure to review this information and let us know if you have any questions.

National Biosafety Stewardship Month

Recent reports of lapses in biosafety practices involving Federal laboratories have served to remind us of the importance of constant vigilance over implementation of biosafety standards.  These events potentially put individuals at risk, undermine public confidence in the research enterprise, and must be addressed to prevent their reoccurrence.  Efforts to strengthen biosafety oversight and practice must be supported and carried out by organizational leadership, biosafety programs, and individual laboratories.

As a measure toward preventing future lapses as well as promoting stewardship of the life sciences and biosafety awareness across Federal entities, Federal laboratories will reinforce their attention to safe practices in biomedical research.  In that regard, the NIH and other HHS agencies will be instituting National Biosafety Stewardship Month. NIH grantee institutions are also encouraged to participate in this important initiative.

Demonstrating a commitment to the responsible and safe conduct of research at The University of Alabama, EHS, ORC and the IBC are working together to raise awareness this month about issues related to biosafety, and increase resources available to the research community.

As part of this effort, investigators and laboratory staff are strongly encouraged to:

  • re-examine current laboratory-specific policies and procedures for biosafety measures and, if needed, modify to optimize effectiveness.
  • conduct inventories of infectious agents and toxins in all laboratories to ensure proper handling and documentation of those materials.  In the event of material changes, submit updated inventories to EHS.
  • reinforce biosafety training of all lab personnel.
  • review local training materials and update if necessary.

In general, we would suggest investigators consider increasing the frequency of laboratory-specific biosafety training requirements as well as implementing or expanding security measures designed to verify materials stored, labeled and disposed of as they should be.

September 2, 2014

Hello Students, Faculty and Staff,
Congratulations on a great start to fall semester, EHS is glad you’re back, and wants everyone to stay safe this weekend as football season gets into full swing.

Remember we need a lab registration for all new faculty or any time you move to a new location. The lab registration form has been moved online and is available at . If you haven’t submitted a registration via this electronic form, please send those in so we can get all the files updated.

Also, remember to update your personnel list with Andrea Davidson (Chemical Safety Manager) and Darren Moss (Biosafety Manager) to make sure your lab personnel all get their proper training. If someone leaves your group, please let us know that as well, so their training requirements can be changed.

We are currently wrapping up chemical lab inspections/follow up. In the past, we have offered Chemical Safety training online and in person. We will be offering in person training sessions for Chemical Safety again this fall. This training is equivalent to the online training – you do not have to complete both. You can see the schedule for these sessions and register to attend via the lab safety calendar at

September is here and its time to complete your annual radiation safety training. The training can be found on our website – please be aware that if it is not complete by the end of September then you are unable to continue work in the lab. If you have any questions about the completion of this process or these deadlines, please email Hal Barrett,

We are wrapping up the location updates for the Class 3B and 4 lasers. We will be verifying those locations and uploading that information into our system, along with making any necessary corrections to our information. If you haven’t sent a location update (for Class 3B and 4 lasers only), please email that to Marcy Huey ( ASAP.
If you order a new laser, remember to register it so we can verify the space requirements for a new system. The registration is available at

A variety of laboratory personal protective equipment is commercially available and commonly used in laboratories. However, for the equipment to perform the desired function, it must be used and managed properly. Laboratory supervisors and/or campus safety officers shall determine a need for such equipment, monitor its effectiveness, train the lab employees, and monitor and enforce the proper use of such equipment.
Here are a few reminders as it relates to PPE:
• Conduct a hazard assessment to determine if hazards present necessitate the use of PPE.
• It is best practice to certify in writing that the hazard assessment was conducted.
• PPE selection must be made on the basis of hazard assessment and affected workers should be properly trained.
• Defective or damaged PPE must not be used.
• Training requirements for lab personnel using PPE must be established. This should include requirements for lab personnel to demonstrate an understanding of the training.
• P.I.’s should make sure all lab personnel have been properly trained and print and file training certifications in their labs.

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.