In this issue of the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Listserv, January 22, 2015:     


1.    Electrical Safety for Everyone

2.    Safe Snow Shoveling

3.    Safety Shorts – Snow Blower Safety

4.    Are YOU Prepared for an EPA Inspection?

5.    Would You Like to Serve?

6.    Near Miss:  Falling Chemical Container

7.    Safety Poster – We Can Do Better

8.    Revised Document,Training and Safe Operating Procedures (SOPs)



1.   Electrical Safety for Everyone


The spring colloquium, co-sponsored by EHS and the Office of Research and Economic Development, will be on Wednesday, March 30, 2016.  Keven Booker, Chief State Electrical Inspector of Nebraska, will talk about electrical hazards and mitigation as applies across all areas of UNL.  This event is applicable to anyone. 


                East Campus Union @ 11:30 – 12:30 p.m.

                Hamilton Hall @ 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.


RSVPs are NOT required. For further information or to suggest future colloquium topics contact Elizabeth (Betsy) Howe, [log in to unmask] or (402) 472-5488.




  EHS Safety Colloquium Series


2.   Safe Snow Shoveling


According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, in a recent year more than 200,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms, doctors’ offices, and clinics for injuries that happened while shoveling or removing ice and snow manually. Since you don’t want to be a statistic, here are some tips to help keep you safe while shoveling snow.  



       Dress appropriately.  Wear water-repellent clothing, layered for best insulation and to allow removal of a layer to prevent overheating.  Cover your head, hands, and feet with weather-appropriate gear.  Wear shoes/boots with slip-resistant soles.

       Timing matters.  Start snow removal when there is a light covering and repeat.  Do not wait for the snow to stop/accumulate.  Do not plan to shovel immediately after eating and avoid caffeine before beginning. 

       Clear vision is important.  Be sure your cold weather clothing does not obstruct your vision so you can watch for icy spots/uneven surfaces. Maintain awareness of your surroundings so you do not inadvertently find yourself in a traffic path as vehicles may not have good traction on the snow/ice.

       Prepare yourself.  Shoveling snow can raise your heart rate and blood pressure.  Be sure your muscles are warmed up by stretching as you would for any workout.  Walking a few minutes or marching in place is one suggestion for a ‘warm-up.”  Cold, tight muscles are more likely to result in a sprain or strain.  If you have a history of heart or other medical problems or do not exercise regularly, check with your doctor before shoveling.


While shoveling:

       Pace yourself.  Snow shoveling is an aerobic activity.  Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. STOP shoveling immediately if you experience pain or difficulty breathing or become fatigued.

       Use proper equipment.  Use a shovel comfortable for your height and strength.  Sometimes a smaller blade is better as it avoids the risk of trying to pick up too much snow at once.

       Use proper technique.  When gripping the shovel position your hands 12 inches apart.  This increases leverage and reduces the strain on your body. If possible, push the snow rather than lift to avoid back strain.

       If you must lift, lift properly. 

o   Lift with your legs and tighten your stomach muscles.

o   Keep your back straight and do not bend at the waist.

o   Scoop small amounts and walk to where you want to dump the snow.

o   Never remove deep snow all at once, rather shovel an inch or two and repeat.

o   Do not twist your body to shovel or empty the load.  Never throw snow over your shoulder.


These are just a few tips to help prevent injury related to snow removal.  If possible, use a snow blower instead of shoveling by hand.




  National Safety Council “Snow Shoveling”

  Snow and Ice Management Association “Safe Snow Shoveling”

  American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons  “Orthoinfo: Prevent Snow Shoveling and Snowblowing Injuries”


3.   Safety Shorts – Snow Blower Safety


This series features links to short safety resource(s) each month.  According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, in a recent year more than 25, 000 people were injured using snow blowers.  One recommendation to avoid injuries during manual snow shoveling is to use a snow blower.  Each of the following reviews slightly different aspects of snow blower safety.


       Snowblower Safety (Grabow Hand to Shoulder Center, 2.47 minutes)


       Snow Blower Safety (Cleveland Clinic, 1.33 minutes)


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.


4.     Are YOU prepared for an EPA Inspection?

UNL is subject to unannounced inspections by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and/or Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ), to assess compliance with waste management regulations. These inspections typically occur every 2-3 years.  We anticipate an inspection sometime during the next several months.  Review the EHS Waste Management Safe Operating Procedures (SOPs). If you use/dispose of chemicals or any of the other items as noted in the SOP in the first bullet below, YOU need to prepare. 

As a reminder, if you are the subject of such an inspection:

       Review the Items/Materials Prohibited from Trash Cans and Dumpsters SOP.

       Review your work area. Make sure that all containers are closed, properly labeled, in good condition, and located in the same area where the waste was generated.

       If an inspector visits your work location, answer their questions honestly, but answer only the question asked. There is no need to volunteer information. After you have answered the inspector's question, wait silently and patiently for their next question. 

       Avoid the temptation to keep talking because silence is uncomfortable. If you don’t know the answer to a question - don’t guess, just say that you don’t know. You may direct the inspector to your supervisor or someone else who may know the answer.



  State or Federal Hazardous Waste Inspections SOP

  Waste Management SOPs

  Items/Materials Prohibited from Trash Cans and Dumpsters SOP


5.   Would You Like to Serve?


The Chancellor’s University Safety Committee (CUSC) operates at a campus-wide level.  The CUSC was established to advise UNL administration on methods and means to minimize safety and health hazards at UNL to the extent feasible. The CUSC meets every two months for an hour, with dates and locations determined well in advance and published.  Any employee is eligible to serve on the CUSC.  More information and the CUSC Guidelines are available online. If you are interested in serving a two-year term on this committee, please contact EHS (402-472-4925 or [log in to unmask]) for more information.  


  Chancellor’s University Safety Committee

  Chancellor’s University Safety Committee Guidelines  SOP


6.   Near Miss:  Falling Chemical Container


In a chemical laboratory at UNL a worker opened a flammables cabinet to take out a large bottle of ethanol. The flammables cabinet was crowded, with small glass bottles stored near the front of the middle shelf for greater visibility. In the process of removal the large ethanol bottle came into contact with a small bottle of Anisole which fell to the floor and broke. 

Mitigation strategies:

       Rearrange items and/or discard unused chemicals to decrease crowding within the flammables cabinet. 

       Locate smaller items on a shelf near the floor and/or farther back in the cabinet.

       Place all containers within a secondary containment tray. 


Pre-Planning for and Responding to Chemical Spills SOP

  General Guidance for Chemical Ordering, Receipt, Distribution, Use & Storage SOP


7.     Safety Poster – We Can Do Better  


EHS has a developed a number of safety posters of relevance to the campus community. Every area using/storing chemicals should actively manage their chemical inventory, maintain awareness of container integrity, and dispose of time-sensitive materials before they become a problem.


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Order your FREE poster(s) today.  Contact [log in to unmask] or 402-472-4925 with your name, campus mailing address, and quantity desired.


  Safety Posters


8.   Revised Training & Safe Operating Procedures 



Training Needs Assessment for EHS-Related Topics

Updated so listing is in the same order as the web-based training selection list.



Custodial Services: Chemical and General Safety web-based training

     Updated to reflect the revised list of chemicals used by Custodial Services.



  Biosafety Containment Levels SOP

Updated to remove description of containment levels that do not exist at UNL. Tables reformatted/additional information added. References updated.


  Incident Reporting – National Institutes of Health (NIH) Guidance SOP

Improved clarity, corrected technical name of the referenced NIH Guidelines, and incorporated latest agency guidance.


  Necropsy Biosafety SOP

Updated to reflect current regulations on immediate notification of identified select agents.


  Security Advice for Biosafety Laboratories SOP

Added guidance for cybersecurity, threat awareness and actions to take if security is compromised


  Select Agents and Toxins SOP

Updated list of select agents to reflect changes in federal regulations.  Added information related to exceptions and clarification of regulations published by the government.


  Select Agents and Toxins – Clinical and/or Diagnostic Laboratory Activities SOP

Updated to reflect the current procedures for filing notifications with the Federal Select Agent Program.


  SPCC Inspections & Fuel Transfer Procedures SOP

Updated to clarify which emergency generator at the Stadium is subject to SPCC requirements and remove discrepancies in naming between the EHS SOP, Training, and the SPCC plan.

  Spill & Exposure Response – Biohazardous Materials (Including r/sNA)SOP

Updated to reflect the current procedures for filing notifications with the Federal Select Agent Program.


  Standard and Special Microbiological Practices SOP

Changed wording to be in line with regulatory document titles and changes in EHS SOP names.




Environmental Health and Safety

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

3630 East Campus Loop

Lincoln, NE  68583-0824

(402) 472-4925