In this issue of the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Listserv, October 12, 2016:     


1.    Do You Use Compressed Gases?

2.    Grain Bin Safety

3.    NEW Safe Operating Procedure:   Compatible Chemical Storage

4.    NEW Safety Poster – Don’t Take Your Work Home With You!

5.    Safety Shorts – Cell Phone Contamination; Chemical Storage, Grain Bin & Auger Safety

6.    Situational Preparedness –  Supplier Showcase 

7.    Satisfaction Survey

8.    Revised Web-Based Training and Safe Operating Procedures



1.    Do You Use Compressed Gases?


The fall colloquium, Compressed Gas Safety, co-sponsored by EHS and the Office of Research and Economic Development, will be held on Wednesday, October 26, 2016.  This presentation by Tim Zoz and Greg Reeder, Matheson Tri-Gas, is relevant to anyone who works with compressed gases. 


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

                Repeated at Hamilton Hall (Room 104) from 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.    Grain Bin Safety


Working around grain bins presents unique and serious hazards of which farm workers must be constantly vigilant.  Following are some major hazards and mitigation strategies:


       Hazardous atmosphere (oxygen deficiency, toxic gases, allergens).  Store only adequately dried grain to reduce spoilage.  Keep insect/animal infestations to a minimum.  Regularly clean bin. Observe all restricted entry requirements.

       Fire/Explosion.  Accumulations of grain dusts can create flammable/explosive atmospheres, so make sure ventilation systems are in good working order.  Ensure grain dust accumulations are kept to a minimum with regular cleaning, especially near ignition sources.  Ensure electrical connections meet code requirements. 

       Falls.  Working at heights in and around a grain bin poses a fall hazard.  Ladders more than 20 feet high require cages steps.  When performing tasks at elevated heights, a worker may need fall protection. 

       Electrocution.  This hazard is often overlooked.  An auger may come into contact with overhead wires while being moved.  Poles to dislodge crusted grain can contact overhead lines unless care is taken.

       Entanglement.  Unguarded augers, PTOs, and other moving parts present an entanglement hazard, as does the sweep auger inside the bin.  Ensure all equipment is properly guarded, avoid loose-fitting clothes, and do not operate the sweep auger while inside the bin.

       Engulfment/Entrapment.  While loading/unloading operations present an obvious engulfment/entrapment hazard, stored grain is also dangerous.  Air pockets can shift and cause stored grain to flow like a liquid. Do not enter grain bins during active loading/unloading.  Entry in the presence of grain should be conducted only when there is no alternative and then only observing the following:

o   Grain is less than waist deep and applicable lockout/tagout procedures have been implemented to prevent grain addition, removal, or other movement.

o   The atmosphere in the bin is not hazardous, adequate ventilation has been established, and no work to be conducted in the bin has the potential to create a hazardous atmosphere. 

o   A co-worker is present outside of the bin, verbal communication is maintained, and the co-worker has a readily available means of summoning emergency help.

Entry when larger amounts of grain are present requires special annual training for entrant and attendant.  Restraint systems with secured lifelines and anchor points need to be used.  Consult with EHS to develop appropriate entry procedures that conform to UNL’s Confined Space Entry and Lockout/Tagout Programs.


In addition to observing grain bin safe practices, this harvest season be sure you consider the hazards associated with all tasks and equipment to be used so you don’t become a statistic!  Farming has the second highest annual number of injury incidents and deaths of all industries.  Harvest season can be particularly threatening due to the dangers posed by equipment used, human factors such as fatigue associated with long days, environmental conditions (rain, mud, heat, cold, etc.), and other risks.  Review applicable EHS Safe Operating Procedures (SOPs), in particular Harvest Safety.



  EHS Grain Bin Safety  SOP

  Grain Entrapment Prevention information

  Nationwide “Harvest Safety Tips”

  EHS Harvest Safety SOPs

  EHS Ag Safety SOPs

  NFU (National Farmers Union) Farm Safety series

  OSHA Quick Card “Protecting Farmworkers from Tractor and Harvester Hazards”

  OSHA Quick Card “Backing Up Farm Vehicles and Equipment Safety”

  EHS Elevated Work Surfaces SOP

  EHS Personal Fall Arrest Systems SOP


3.    NEW Safe Operating Procedure:  Compatible Chemical Storage

During safety and compliance audits conducted by EHS staff members, one frequently found deficiency is inappropriate storage of chemicals.  The Safe Operating Procedure, Compatible Chemical Storage, was developed to assist with segregation of chemicals by compatibility.  Chemical incompatibility refers to “two or more chemicals that, when mixed, react and create a hazard.”  One method for simplifying how to store chemicals compatibly is to focus on those chemicals known to cause problems. The SOP lists the following recommended storage groups/classes:

       Inorganic acids (I).  Commonly used at UNL are hydrochloric, sulfuric, and nitric acid. 

       Organic acids (II).   Commonly used at UNL is acetic acid.  Many chemicals have the word “acid” in their name but are not necessarily strong acids.  Consult the Safety Data Sheet.

       Bases (III).  It is easiest to remember these chemicals by the last part of the name:   hydroxide or oxide. Commonly used at UNL are sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, and ammonium hydroxide.

       Oxidizers (IV).  It is easiest to remember these chemicals by the last part of their name (“ate” and “ite”):  nitrate, nitrite, chlorate, chlorite, hypochlorite, perchlorate, bromate, (inorganic) peroxide.

       Organic Peroxides (V).  Almost all organic peroxides say “peroxide” in the name.

       Strong Reducing Agents (VI).  This small group consists mostly of hydrides such as aluminum hydride and sodium borohydride.  Alkali metals such as sodium are also in this group.

       Everything Else (VII).  This class consists of salts of inorganic chemicals, such as potassium chloride, magnesium sulfate, and calcium bicarbonate and organic compounds such as sucrose, alanine, chloroform, and hexane. 

Please refer to the SOP for additional detail.  Also recognize that the compatibility SOP should be used in tandem with other relevant SOPs regarding proper storage of certain classes of chemicals. 



  EHS Compatible Chemical Storage SOP

  EHS Chemical Safety SOPs

  EHS Chemical Hazard Assessment & Risk Minimization SOP

  EHS Chemical Hazard Assessment & Risk Minimization web-based training

  EHS Chemical Safety web-based training


4.    NEW Safety Poster –  Don’t Take Your Work Home With You!


EHS provides a number of safety posters of relevance to the campus community. Now available is a poster to help raise awareness of the contamination hazard associated with using cell phones and/or other personal electronic devices at work, in particular in laboratories or other chemical use areas.


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Request your FREE poster(s) today.  Contact [log in to unmask] or 402-472-4925 with your name, campus mailing address, and quantity desired.  Review other FREE posters at:  If you have an idea for a safety poster you would like to become available, contact Elizabeth (Betsy) Howe, [log in to unmask], 402-472-5488.


5.    Safety Shorts – Cell Phone Contamination, Chemical Storage, Grain Bin & Auger Safety


This series features links to short safety resources each month.  The first resource, “Cell Phone Use in the Laboratory,” is the inspiration for the new poster highlighted above (images used with permission of Cornell University).  The other two videos provide additional information on chemical storage and grain bin safety.

       Cell Phone Use in the Research Lab (Cornell EHS, Duration 1:10)


       Chemical Storage Hazards (LabSafetyInstitute, Duration 11:16 min.)


       SAFETY ON THE FARM - Grain Bin & Auger (National Farmers Union, Duration 4:25 min.)


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.    Situational Preparedness –  Supplier Showcase


Situational preparedness is so important that we will be looking at various aspects over time, as well as providing resources to assist you to “be prepared” for whatever situations you may encounter at UNL. The Chancellor’s University Safety Committee (CUSC) has been reviewing situational preparedness concerns/near misses. The most recent focus has been hazards associated with lack of situational awareness while walking, biking, driving, in particular on and around campus.  The CUSC will have a booth at the October 18, 2016, Supplier Showcase, sponsored by UNL Procurement, from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in the City Union Centennial Room. Make plans to stop by for a “Heads Up” on how to stay aware and be prepared to maintain your personal safety. 




  Chancellor’s University Safety Committee

  Supplier Showcase 


7.     Satisfaction Survey 


Environmental Health and Safety is committed to excellent customer service and offers a Customer Satisfaction Survey as an easy method for the campus community to provide feedback on our services and staff.  By taking a few moments to complete the survey (, you will be helping us to identify areas where we might need to focus our attention.  Your participation is greatly appreciated.


Please feel free to contact Brenda Osthus, EHS Director, at 402-472-4927 or [log in to unmask] if you would rather communicate outside the parameters of this survey. 


8.    Revised Web-Based Training and Safe Operating Procedures 


  Door Postings for Potentially Hazardous Locations SOP

Updated to remove non-applicable codes from the white section of the NFPA diamond on non-laboratory door postings.


  First Aid Kits SOP

Updated to reflect recent changes in the reference ANSI standard.


  On-The-Job and Student Injuries SOP

Bloodborne Pathogens Web-Based Training

References to Walgreens removed and replaced with reference to enrollment in the Prescription Program for Work-Related Injuries.





Environmental Health and Safety

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

3630 East Campus Loop

Lincoln, NE  68583-0824

(402) 472-4925