In this issue of the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Listserv, October  9, 2013:     


1.    Now Online:  PPQ Permits Colloquium 

2.    Outdoor Storage of Materials

3.    Elements of Creating Safety Cultures in Academic Institutions #12:  Publish/Widely Share Case Studies 

4.    DOT/IATA Designated Shippers

5.    Hoists And Cranes

6.    Reminder - Used Oil and Fuel Filter Management

7.    New Resource and Revised EHS Safe Operating Procedures      



1. Now Online:   PPQ Permits Colloquium


Did you miss the most recent Laboratory Safety Colloquium, Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) Permits, jointly sponsored by EHS and the Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED)?   On September 18, 2013, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Safeguarding Specialists explained WHEN you need a permit, WHY you need a permit and HOW to apply when working with and importing or transferring soil, plants, plant pests, plant pathogens, or other regulated articles.  A video and the presentation are now online.

Previous colloquium presentations (most with a video) are maintained online for periodic review as applicable to current and changing research needs.  Check out the list of previous sessions to see if one or more might be of value to the safety of you and your students and staff. 


  Laboratory Safety Colloquium Series

o   EHS web site:

o   ORED web site:


2. Outdoor Storage of Materials


Recently there was an incident on campus that required emergency evacuation of a building.   In this instance there was a large quantity of combustible materials stored on a dock which was part of an exit route from the building.  Having such items stored next to a building not only creates a potential fire hazard from stray sparks or improperly discarded smoking materials but it also impedes emergency egress from doors in case of a fire or other emergency evacuation incident.  Luckily there was not a fire in this immediate area and evacuation was not impeded. 


Fire code does not permit outdoor accumulations of ANY combustible materials outside of a properly designed, noncombustible dumpster or other refuse container.  This includes trash, cardboard, scrap wood, pallets, excess shipping containers, etc. If there are such items in your dock area or in proximity to the building, contact Landscape Services through the Facilities Service Desk (402-472-1550 or [log in to unmask]) and request pickup of the material(s).


  Fire Safety – General Prevention and Extinguishers SOP


3.  Elements of Creating Safety Cultures in Academic Institutions   #12:   Publish/Widely & Share Case Studies  


As you may recall from previous issues of the EHS listserv, there has been a great deal of national attention given to the topic of laboratory safety in higher education following investigations of serious incidents at UCLA and Texas Tech.  As a result, the American Chemical Society (ACS) recently issued a report, Creating Safety Cultures in Academic Institutions.  While this report focuses on laboratory safety, its content is applicable to all campus settings. 

This report contained seventeen specific recommendations for creating vibrant, strong safety cultures in academic institutions.  Each of these recommendations will be highlighted individually and presented as a series in the EHS listserv.  The twelfth recommendation in the ACS report is:  

Publish or share the stories of incidents and lessons learned (case studies) to your institution’s Web site, a public Web site, or an appropriate journal where students and colleagues from other institutions may also use these as case studies for learning more about safety.

EHS strives to disseminate information to assist in sharing of lessons learned from incidents at this institution as well as other colleges at universities.  The EHS listserv is one tool that is used to share recent audit findings, near-miss incident reports, and injury/illness information.  Regular reports are also sent to safety committees.  It is hoped that persons receiving this information will reflect on possible similar situations that may exist in their reporting units and take action to abate unresolved hazards or reduce associated risk. 


You can assist in this process by:

       Reporting and encouraging your colleagues to report “near misses/close calls” through the EHS Near Miss/Close Call Reporting System!

       Reporting and encouraging your colleagues to report “student (non-employee)” injury incidents through the EHS Student Injury/Illness Reporter!

       Visiting with your department/area safety committee about ways to disseminate the anonymous “near miss” and other injury incident and safety audit findings department-wide.

       Sharing information with students.  Documenting and sharing incidents and lessons learned throughout the undergraduate and graduate learning experience provides an opportunity to capture the interest and imagination of students while forcing them to think about how safety measures could have prevented or minimized these incidents.

       Discussing with your department the possibility of including injury, near-miss, and safety audit information as a regular part of department seminars, perhaps as a “five-minute” opening topic.

       Encouraging your co-workers to subscribe to the EHS Listserv if they do not already receive this monthly email.


Engaging personnel at all levels in incident investigation/review will help foster within a department the proper attitude toward safety as reflected in the “Safety Ethic,” espoused by the Safety Culture Task Force of the ACS Committee on Chemical Safety:

       Value safety:  Safety is an integral part of what one does, its automatic, and it does not change its priorities. It is never questioned and never compromised.

       Work safely:  One continues to learn about safety, learns to recognize hazards, assesses the risks of hazards, manages the risk of hazards, and prepares to handle emergencies.

       Prevent at-risk behavior:  One does not cut corners or bypass safety measures in the laboratory (or other work environment) and shares this information with others, as needed.

       Promote safety:  One encourages and acknowledges others in working safely.

       Accept responsibility for safety:  One takes steps to work safely, setting a positive example for others, and being accountable for safety. 


  Creating Safety Cultures in Academic Institutions

  EHS Student Injury/Illness Reporter!

  EHS Near Miss/Close Call Reporter!


4.      DOT/IATA Designated Shippers

In accordance with both Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations and International Air Transport Association (IATA) standards, all “hazmat employees” must have current (within the past 3 years) documented training.  A “hazmat  employee” is anyone engaged in any pre-transport or transport function of hazardous materials/dangerous goods, such as:   packaging; labeling; signing transportation documentation; loading or unloading; transporting in commerce. 

Stockroom personnel, secretaries, researchers and others who only sign for incoming shipments of hazardous materials are NOT “hazmat employees” and therefore are not subject to training requirements.  In order to maintain this exclusion, these individuals must abide by the following requirements:  


       Do not perform any function related to shipment of a dangerous good/hazardous material in commerce (e.g., signing of transport papers, placarding, labeling, packaging, etc.); and

       Do not perform any unloading functions for or with the delivering entity. 


Hazmat employees must receive initial instructor-led training BEFORE conducting any transportation-related function.  EHS offers regular DOT/IATA training sessions for infectious substances, biological substances and patient (animal or human) specimens, and dry ice.   Recurrent training can be achieved by completing the appropriate EHS web-based training module. 

Employees who successfully complete the EHS DOT/IATA training program will be listed as “designated/qualified shippers.”  Employees who have completed training through other programs can be listed as “designated shippers” after providing sufficient documentation of training and a demonstration of competency to the EHS office.

Persons who do not have current training qualifications can arrange for packaging and shipment of dangerous goods through UNL’s Mail and Distribution Office.  Some departments have trained employees who prepare shipments of dangerous goods for departmental faculty and staff. 

Arrangements can be made for training on all types of dangerous goods/hazardous materials by contacting Anthony Lloyd, Senior Environmental Specialist               (402-472-4942 or [log in to unmask]).  


  Shipping SOPs

Web-based DOT/IATA Recurrent Training (Shipping Dangerous Goods)

      Dry Ice  (only)

      Biological Substances, Category B or Patient Specimens with or without Dry Ice (online soon)

      Infectious Substances, Category A (online soon)


5.  Hoists and Cranes


EHS recently updated the Hoists and Cranes Safe Operating Procedure (SOP).  This SOP applies to stationary hoists and cranes used by UNL personnel.  The information provided is based on Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and other applicable standards. The fundamental aspects of crane and hoist safety are reviewed, specifically related to the following categories:


       Appropriate equipment selection and installation;

       Regular inspection to ensure good condition of the crane/hoist and accessories;

       Operator training, and;

       Adherence to safe operating procedures.


Cranes, hoists, and all ancillary equipment (e.g., hooks, slings, etc.) must meet ASME/ANSI (American National Standards Institute) design and installation standards and have sufficient rated capacity for the intended load.  Cranes, hoists, and all ancillary equipment must be maintained in accordance with manufacturer recommendations.  Defective or damaged components must be removed from service.  Replacement of defective or damaged components, rather than repair, is often advised.  Annual inspections are conducted by qualified outside contractors and are coordinated through UNL Building Systems Maintenance (BSM). 


All operators must be appropriately trained in the use, controls, limitations, inspection, proper rigging/loading, maintenance, and site operating conditions/characteristics of the specific crane or hoist that they are assigned to use.  Operational considerations are found within the SOP.  If you have not already done so, notify BSM if there is a hoist or crane in your area to ensure that it is included in the annual inspection inventory.  



  Hoists and Cranes SOP


6.  Reminder - Used Oil and Fuel Filter Management


The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) recently conducted a hazardous waste management compliance inspection of UNL’s East Campus operations.  One item of focus during the inspection was management of used oil filters.  UNL’s management practices were deemed in compliance.  Nevertheless, this is a good opportunity to remind the campus community that all used oil and fuel filters should be “bagged and tagged” for collection by EHS.  Do not discard these items as ordinary refuse, even if you have punctured and hot-drained the filters. 



  EHS SOP, Used Motor Oil and filter Management and Disposal


7.  New Resource and Revised EHS Safe Operating Procedures  

A Building Emergency Action Plan template is now available on the UNL Emergency Planning and Preparedness web site.   This template complements the existing Business Continuity Planning template.    

While the Building Emergency Action Plan template may not apply directly to every building, it will provide assistance for basic emergency planning efforts and includes suggestions such as:

       Designate building and/or floor coordinators to assist in evacuation.

       Identify personnel that might need assistance in the event of a building evacuation.

       Define assembly areas in the event of an evacuation.

       Document building emergency warning systems, e.g. voice warning, alarms, etc.

       Identify secure areas and hazardous locations within the building.


The template is in PDF format, but can be provided in Word format upon request to Mark Robertson, UNL Emergency Preparedness Coordinator ([log in to unmask]).  Koan Nissen, UNLPD Community Service Officer ([log in to unmask]) or Mark Robertson are available to provide consultation to those working on completion of the new Building Emergency Action Plan template.  Mark requests that completed plans, whether using the UNLPD template or another format, be sent by email to him as part of the overall university preparedness planning. 

All emergency plans should be reviewed at least annually and updated to reflect changes in operations and personnel.  One suggestion is for the BMR, safety committee chair, or department chair/director to calendar a reminder to review all contingency and emergency plans so this task does not get “lost.” 

  Building Emergency Action Plan (Template)

Emergency Planning and Preparedness web site:  “Have a Plan”


Revised EHS Safe Operating Procedures include the following:

  Laboratory  Hood/Cabinet Identification and Use

Updated to include information about the UNL controllers for fume hoods and general laboratory ventilation


  Laboratory Decommissioning

Updated with further details to assist with this process and use the SOP as a checklist, including references relevant related SOPs. 


  Preparing a Laboratory Biosafety Manual

Clarified instructions for completing the checklist in Appendix A and a link to the Virtual Manual Profile page was added.




Environmental Health and Safety

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

3630 East Campus Loop

Lincoln, NE  68583-0824

(402) 472-4925