In this issue of the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Listserv, March 4, 2014:     


1.    Spring Colloquium:  USDA – APHIS Veterinary Services Permits

2.    Laser Safety Training Online

3.    Mark Your Calendars:  CUSC Open Forum 3/18/14

4.    Biological Materials Need to be Registered with the IBC

5.    Elements of Creating Safety Cultures in Academic Institutions #15:  Establish  a Close Working Relationship with Emergency Responders  

6.    Revised Safe Operating Procedures/Documents

7.    NEW Laboratory Safety Posters Available      



1.    Spring Colloquium: USDA-APHIS Veterinary Services Permits

The spring Laboratory Safety Colloquium, Veterinary Services Permits, will be presented by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Assistant District Director of Veterinary Services, Kathleen Akin, D.V.M., on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. in the Nebraska East Union (check kiosk for room assignment) and will include an opportunity for questions at the end.  

Anyone importing or transferring from other states: live animals, materials derived from animals (e.g. RNA/DNA extracts, enzymes, blood, tissues, etc.) or livestock-associated microorganisms should attend to learn WHEN you need a Veterinary Services permit, WHY you need a permit and HOW to apply.  Mark your calendars for this important event!  Note that there will be one session only.  Pre-registration is NOT required. 

To suggest future colloquium topics contact Elizabeth (Betsy) Howe at [log in to unmask] or (402) 472-5488. To access past colloquia, visit the EHS or Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED) web site. 


  Laboratory Safety Colloquium Series

o   EHS web site:

o   ORED web site:


2.   Laser Safety Training Online


Laser Safety General Awareness Training is now available through the EHS web-based training web site. This general awareness training (or equivalent alternate training) should be completed by all UNL laser operators or others who routinely work with or around lasers used in research that are potentially dangerous (i.e., Class 3B or 4) prior to assignment of any task that could put them at risk of injury. After completing this module trainees should:


       Be familiar with the fundamental components of a basic laser system and their function.

       Understand the different types of laser reflections that can occur and how these laser reflections can be hazardous to your well-being.

       Know the different standard classifications of laser systems and how these relate to the relative degree of hazard.

       Understand that other non-beam hazards can also cause harm and must be considered and mitigated when using a high-power laser.

       Know the strategies that are available to mitigate beam and non-beam hazards.

       Be aware of the most common root causes of most laser accidents in order to avoid those risk factors.

       Know what actions to take in case of an emergency.


At UNL, there is no institutional laser safety program.  Rather, individual Principal Investigators (PIs) or other persons who oversee laser operations are responsible to administer their own laser safety program.  This web-based training will assist in meeting a portion of that obligation.  This EHS training must be supplemented with training specific to the tasks and lasers that a person works with or around.  Supplemental training is to be provided by the PI/Laser Supervisor.



  Laser Safety General Awareness Training

  Laser Classification and General Safety Control Measures for Lasers Used in Research SOP

  Laser Safety:  Hazards, Bioeffects, and Control Measures (Colloquium February 2009)


3.   Mark Your Calendars:  CUSC Open Forum 3/18/2014


The Chancellor’s University Safety Committee (CUSC) will host an Open Forum meeting on March 18, 2014, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. at Nebraska East Union (check kiosk for room assignment).  The campus community is encouraged to attend to share concerns or just observe the workings of the CUSC. 


The CUSC is a UNL committee established to assist the Chancellor by making recommendations on methods to reduce safety hazards at UNL.  The campus community may contact the CUSC Chair at any time with safety questions or concerns. The CUSC charter, as well as links to the CUSC Chair, upcoming Agenda, previous meeting Minutes and more, are available online.  



  CUSC information (Meetings, Agenda, Minutes, Link to email Chair)


4.   Biological Materials Need to be Registered with the IBC

Researchers working with any microorganisms pathogenic to humans, animals or plants; recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules; transgenic plants or animals; human or animal cell cultures; or potentially infectious human or animal-derived body fluids need to register their work with the UNL Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC).

A detailed list of all materials and work activities that require registration, as well as other information, is available on the IBC website. Researchers can register their work through the NUgrant research administration system.

The IBC oversees research, clinical and teaching activities involving potential biological hazards at UNL and its research and extension centers. Biosafety involves maintaining safe conditions in biological research to prevent harm to workers, non-laboratory organisms or the environment. Registering work enables peer review of research activities, institutional support and verification that procedures and facilities are safe for research staff, the campus and the community.

The IBC recently revised the UNL Biosafety Guidelines to provide more information about the responsibilities of principal investigators, researchers and department heads/chairs. The IBC also has adopted a new policy regarding noncompliance with the UNL Biosafety Guidelines and the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules.


  Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) website

  NUgrant Research Administration System

  UNL Biosafety Guidelines

  IBC New Noncompliance Policy

  NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules

  Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acids – IBC and Other Review Requirements SOP

  NUgrant IBC Protocol Form Instructions SOP

  NUgrant IBC Protocol Form Instructions for Field Collection &Wild Animal Sampling Procedures SOP



5.   Elements of Creating Safety Cultures in Academic Institutions   #15:   Establish a Close Working Relationship with Local Emergency Responders.


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) 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 is being highlighted individually and presented as a series in the EHS listserv.  The fifteenth recommendation in the ACS report is:  

Establish a close working relationship with local emergency responders, so they are prepared to respond to emergencies in laboratories.  

At UNL university-wide planning and response falls primarily under the authority of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Police Department (UNLPD).  They are responsible for establishing most campus-wide plans and procedures and support agreements with state and local emergency response agencies.  The next level of emergency planning is departmental.  Department planning is important so critical aspects unique to the individual department are identified and mitigation plans developed to minimize the impacts resulting from emergencies.  Department planning facilitates all facets of response in an emergency, including efficient and informed response by local responders.


To assist departments in these efforts, UNLPD has developed two guidance documents, both available online:

       The Business Continuity Planning Template is designed to guide departments to identify their unique and critical operations so that effective plans can be established to ensure the continuity or quick recovery of critical operations during or following a disaster or emergency.  The template requires consideration of essential functions in the department, leadership succession, communication systems, mitigation strategies, internal and external dependencies, and recovery actions.

       The Building Emergency Action Plan Template is a customizable template for campus buildings designed to document building emergency action personnel, emergency actions specific to a particular building including critical/hazardous locations, assembly/shelter-in-place locations, etc.


The University Police will, upon request, provide detailed instructions and more information to assist with completion of these two templates. In addition UNLPD will assist with training and drills related to Building Emergency Action Plans.   The Police Department requests completed plans for both contingency planning and building emergency action be submitted to [log in to unmask].  Completed plans should be reviewed at least once a year to ensure any changes in personnel, facilities, and/or hazards are accurately reflected.

Always “think safety” and help foster 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

  Emergency Planning and Preparedness web site

  UNLPD Business Continuity Planning Template

  UNLPD Building Emergency Action Plan Template

  Emergency Preparedness Web-Based Training


6.  Revised Safe Operating Procedures/Documents 


  UNL Biosafety Guidelines

Revised to provide more information about the responsibilities of principal investigators, researchers and department heads/chairs, and to reference newly adopted policies. 


  General Electrical Safety

Updated “Safe Practices” section regarding use of restraint devices and a reminder that re-locatable power taps, power strips, etc. are designed for low power usage.

  Laser Classification and General Safety Control Measures

Significantly rewritten to conform to revised ANSI Z136.8-2012, Safe Use of Lasers in Research, Development & Testing


7.  NEW Laboratory Safety Posters Available


EHS is pleased to offer several new laboratory safety posters at no charge!  These posters are professionally printed on card stock and serve as eye-catching reminders on critical aspects of working safely in laboratories. 


Contact EHS today to order posters for your laboratory!  Available topics include:

    Safer Science Today Begins With You! (Reminder of proper lab attire & PPE)

    Preventable Eye Injuries Hurt the Most (Reminder of importance of safety eyewear)

    Excellence Happens Safely (Reminder of general laboratory safety rules)

    We Can Do Better (Reminder of importance of avoiding aged chemicals)

    Working Alone? (Reminder to avoid working alone or to establish a plan)

    Replace Your Gloves Before They Let You Down! (Reminder of importance of glove integrity and how to identify deterioration)

    If It Glows, We Should Know (Reminder that work involving GFP or other fluorescent markers in microorganisms must be registered with the IBC)


View posters and additional information at:




Environmental Health and Safety

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

3630 East Campus Loop

Lincoln, NE  68583-0824

(402) 472-4925