In this issue of the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Listserv, June 8, 2015:

1.    Asbestos Facts - NEW SOP

2.    Dewatering - NEW SOP

3.    Promoting an Academic Safety Culture - Recap

4.    National Forklift Safety Day

5.    Safety Shorts

6.    Hazardous Waste Reminder

7.    Revised Training & SOP

1.   Asbestos Facts - NEW SOP

The Asbestos Facts Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) is intended to provide general awareness information to the campus community on the presence and hazards of asbestos-containing materials.  Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral mined from the earth.  Asbestos deposits are found throughout the world.  Asbestos fibers are created by processing asbestos-containing rock.  The fibers are then mixed with a binder or into a matrix and manufactured into various building materials and other articles.

Historically, asbestos was used in thousands of products, many of which were building materials such as wire insulation, thermal insulation, decorative finishes (e.g., ceiling texture), wallboard, vinyl flooring, mastics, sealants, laboratory countertops, ceiling tiles, roofing materials, and siding.  Asbestos was used in other products as well, such as fire/theater curtains, fire doors, thermal gloves, fire clothing, heating mantles, ovens, and electric motors.

The height of production and use occurred from the 1940s through the 1970s.  Use of asbestos in products greatly decreased in the 1970s as various bans took effect in the United States.  However, only certain uses of asbestos were banned.  While commercial mining of asbestos ceased in the United States in 2002, asbestos and asbestos-containing materials are still imported into the United States.  The most prevalent uses today include automobile clutches and brake pads, gaskets, cement pipe and corrugated or flat sheeting, roofing materials, and vinyl floor tile.

This SOP covers:

       How a person can be exposed to asbestos,

       The health hazards of exposure to asbestos,

       Who is at risk for an asbestos-related exposure,

       How building occupants are protected, and

       What building occupants can do to protect themselves
There is an EHS web-based training course titled Asbestos Awareness which should be taken upon initial employment and annually thereafter by all employees who conduct custodial and light maintenance activities and operations that, if done improperly, could disturb Asbestos-Containing Materials (ACM).


  Asbestos Facts SOP

  EHS WBT Asbestos Awareness

2.   Dewatering - NEW SOP

Certain provisions of the Clean Water Act and related federal, state, and local regulations and ordinances are intended to protect the quality of surface waters (e.g., lakes, streams, rivers, etc.) by regulating certain activities having the potential to discharge pollutants.

Dewatering has the potential to introduce contaminants into surface waters.  Potential contaminants include:  petroleum hydrocarbons, total suspended solids from sediment discharges, metals, organics and high or low pH based on soil and groundwater characteristics.  Therefore dewatering activities are subject to authorization by permit and compliance with permit conditions.

The Dewatering Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) discusses:

       Dewatering activities conducted by contractors

       Dewatering activities conducted by UNL employees

       Foundation drains, vaults, tunnels

       Stormwater dewatering

  Dewatering SOP

3.   Promoting an Academic Safety Culture - Recap

Over the past several months we have reviewed one-by-one the recommendations of the National Research Council (NRC publication titled "Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research."  Since the shift away from mere compliance and toward promoting a strong, positive safety culture has already yielded benefits in other industries, the hope is that the NRC recommendations help move academic institutions toward the adoption of a culture of safety that goes beyond inspections, standard operating procedures, and safety plans, all with the ultimate goal of protecting the lives and health of the campus community. While written from the perspective of chemical research laboratory safety, the principles/recommendations apply across all areas of work/research at UNL.  The recommendations may be reviewed through the EHS listserv articles or more in depth within the free online report:

Recommendation 1: The president and other institutional leaders must actively demonstrate that safety is a core value of the institution and show an ongoing commitment to it.

Recommendation 2: The provost or chief academic officer, in collaboration with faculty governance, should incorporate fostering a strong, positive safety culture as an element in the criteria for promotion, tenure, and salary decisions for faculty.

Recommendation 3: All institutions face a challenge of limited resources. Within this constraint, institutional head(s) of research and department chairs should consider the resources they have available for safety when considering or designing programs, and identify types of research that can be done safely with available and projected resources and infrastructure.

Recommendation 4: University presidents and chancellors should establish policy and deploy resources to maximize a strong, positive safety culture. Each institution should have a comprehensive risk management plan for laboratory safety that addresses prevention, mitigation, and emergency response. These leaders should develop risk management plans and mechanisms with input from faculty, students, environmental health and safety staff, and administrative stakeholders and ensure that other university leaders, including provosts, vice presidents for research, deans, chief administrative officers, and department chairs, do so as well.

Recommendation 5: Department chairs and principal investigators should make greater use of teams, groups, and other engagement strategies and institutional support organizations (e.g., environmental health and safety, facilities), to establish and promote a strong, positive, safety culture.
Recommendation 6: Department chairs should provide a mechanism for creating a robust safety collaboration between researchers, principal investigators, and environmental health and safety personnel.

Recommendation 7: Organizations should incorporate non-punitive incident and near-miss reporting as part of their safety cultures. The American Chemical Society, Association of American Universities, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, and American Council on Education should work together to establish and maintain an anonymous reporting system, building on industry efforts, for centralizing the collection of information about and lessons learned from incidents and near misses in academic laboratories, and linking these data to the scientific literature. Department chairs and university leadership should incorporate the use of this system into their safety planning. Principal investigators should require their students to utilize this system.

Recommendation 8: The researcher and principal investigator should incorporate hazard analysis into laboratory notebooks prior to experiments, integrate hazard analysis into the research process, and ensure that it is specific to the laboratory and research topic area.

Recommendation 9: Department leaders and principal investigators, in partnership with environmental health and safety personnel, should develop and implement actions and activities to complement initial, ongoing, and periodic refresher training. This training should ensure understanding and the ability to execute proper protective measures to mitigate potential hazards and associated risks.
Safety is a priority at UNL.  Make sure it is a priority in your individual work location, laboratory or otherwise.   To this end, consider adopting the following as your personal ethic:

       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 risks of hazards, and prepares to handle emergencies.

       Prevent at-risk behavior:  One does not cut corners or bypass safety measures and shares this information with others, as needed.

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

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


  NRC free download/read online: "Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research (2014)"

  EHS Listserv (past issues)

  American Chemical Society, Safety Practices and Recommendations (Publications):

  American Chemical Society, pages 3-6, "Increasing Safety Awareness: An Academic Imperative":

4.   National Forklift Safety Day

Powered industrial trucks (PITs) are an essential part of many operations and forklifts are used widely at UNL.  The term PIT can refer to a motorized, power-driven vehicle used to carry, push, pull, lift, stack, or tier materials.  This definition generally includes vehicles that are commonly referred to as high lift trucks, counterbalanced trucks, cantilever trucks, rider trucks, forklift trucks, high lift platform trucks, low lift trucks, low lift platform trucks, motorized hand trucks, narrow aisle rider trucks, high lift order picker rider trucks and counterbalanced front/side loader lift trucks.
June 9, 2015, is National Forklift Safety Day, sponsored by the Industrial Truck Association. In 2011, 66 workers died as a result of operating or working near a forklift.  A forklift was a secondary source of fatal injuries for an additional 23 workers. The focus of National Forklift Safety Day is to emphasize the safe use of all powered industrial trucks and the importance of operator training.

PITs may be electrically (battery) powered or internal combustion engine (gas/LPG/diesel) powered.  There are a wide variety of different configurations and attachments.  Each type presents different operating hazards. Workers must be trained for all types of PITs they will be operating.    Workplace type and conditions are factors in hazards commonly associated with powered industrial trucks. Workers are often injured when lift trucks are inadvertently driven off loading docks or workers are struck by a lift truck.  Many workers incorrectly assume that operating a PIT is like driving a car and that assumption can lead to injury.

Daily, pre-shift inspection of PITs is required.  Each type of PIT is unique. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides a general checklist and daily checklists are available from the truck manufacturer. Refer to the owner's manual, specifications and manufacturer's recommendations to modify any checklist for trucks being used in your workplace.

Forklift operators should be 18 years of age and be properly trained, evaluated, and certified before independently operation a PIT.  EHS provides online Powered Industrial Truck training for UNL workers, to be paired with an on-site competency demonstration. This training is required upon initial assignment and every three years thereafter.


 EHS Powered Industrial Trucks web-based training

 Forklift/Powered Industrial Truck Safety SOP

 OSHA Sample Daily Checklists for Powered Industrial Trucks

5.   Safety Shorts

This series features links to short safety resource(s) each month.  Regardless of format - video, PDF, other - these short features cover various topics and are intended as resources for safety committees, faculty/staff/students, as well as individual laboratories/work areas.  This month's features are:

       Forklift Safety - 8 Rules - Avoid Accidents & Injuries - Safe Forklift Operation Starts with You! (Safety Memos, duration 3:28 minutes). More than 11% of forklifts in use are in accidents each year. Following these rules will help avoid accidents.

       Forklift Safety Video - EDG Safety Series (EDGweb, duration 7:06 minutes).  Daily safety inspection overview.
NOTE: Resources are provided for informational purposes only.  Publication does not in any way endorse a particular company or product or affect current UNL policies and procedures.

6.   Hazardous Waste Reminder

UNL's hazardous waste management activities were recently inspected by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).  To a large extent, UNL's operations are in compliance with the hazardous waste rules.  However, there were two violations cited related to waste container management.  These violations were a result of open waste containers, a waste container in poor condition, and waste containers not labeled to identify the contents as "used" or "waste".  Please remember to implement to following regulatory requirements when managing your waste containers. Waste containers must:
       Be closed when not directly adding to the container;
       Be made of material compatible with the contents;
       Be in good condition; and
       Be labelled with words "used" or "waste", and a description of the contents (e.g., "waste acetone").


  Waste Management SOPs

  Hazardous/Radioactive Material Collection Procedures SOP

7. Revised Training & SOP

The following three targeted training courses have been updated to provide enough asbestos awareness information so employees can recognize items they should not handle and should report to their supervisor if encountered during the course of their work.

  Custodial Services:  Chemical and General Safety training

  Housing Custodial Operations: Chemical and General Safety training

  Maintenance Operations: Chemical and General Safety training

  Lentoviral Vectors SOP
Revised to correct the URL of reference document, "Biosafety Considerations for Research with Lentoviral Vectors," on the National Institutes of Health web site.


Environmental Health and Safety
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
3630 East Campus Loop
Lincoln, NE  68583-0824
(402) 472-4925