In this issue of the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Listserv, February 16, 2017


1.    Chancellor’s University Safety Committee Invitation

2.    Are YOU Prepared for an Emergency?

3.    Situational Preparedness –  Driving Distraction 

4.    Safety Shorts – Emergency Preparedness, Distracted Driving  

5.    Spring Safety Colloquium – Save the Date

6.    The EPA and You

7.    Satisfaction Survey

8.    NEW SOP:  Cold Stress

9.    Revised Safe Operating Procedures



1.   Chancellor’s University Safety Committee Invitation

The Chancellor’s University Safety Committee (CUSC) will host the spring Open Forum meeting at Nebraska East Union 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. The campus community is invited 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 of methods to reduce safety hazards at UNL.  The campus community may contact the CUSC Chair at any time with safety concerns or questions and attend bimonthly meetings.


The CUSC charter, as well as links to the list of members, upcoming agenda, meeting dates/locations, previous meeting minutes, the current year’s goal and more, are available online. Plan to attend the upcoming Open Forum meeting!



  Chancellor’s University Safety Committee

  Chancellor’s University Safety Committee Guidelines  SOP


2.   Are YOU Prepared for an Emergency?

The definition of “emergency” is, “a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action.”   Does your department/area/facility have an Emergency Action Plan?  If so, has your Emergency Action Plan been reviewed in the past 6 - 12 months? Are your employees familiar with an existing plan?  Do they know where to access the plan for periodic review? 


The purpose of an emergency action plan is to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies.  Well-developed emergency plans and proper employee training, such that employees understand their roles and responsibilities within the plan, will result in fewer and less severe employee injuries and less collateral damage to ongoing research or the facilities during emergencies. 


Putting together an emergency action plan that deals with those issues specific to your worksite/building is not difficult.  It involves describing how employees should respond to different types of emergencies, taking into account your specific worksite layout, structural features, and emergency systems. 


The UNL Emergency Planning and Preparedness web site contains a “Building Emergency Action Plan” template (under the “Faculty, Staff & Depts.” tab).  Advice on completion is available upon request by contacting [log in to unmask].  While the template is designed for developing a Building Emergency Action Plan, it can readily be modified to develop a facility or specific area action plan.


Once developed, emergency action plans should be reviewed at a minimum of once a year and modified if there have been changes in personnel or the area/facility that necessitate changes to the plan.




Emergency Planning & Preparedness: Building Emergency Action Plan



3.   Situational Preparedness –  Driving Distraction


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 has initiated a “Heads Up!” campaign to address concerns with distracted walking/driving/bicycling at UNL.


Ponder these fast facts to ensure they do not apply to you:


         Distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic on America’s roadways in general, not just at UNL. In 2015, there were 3,477 people killed and an estimated additional 391,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. 


         Distracted driving is any activity that diverts a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety.


         According to a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent of driving blind at 55-mph for the length of an entire football field.


         In 2015, there were 551 non-occupants killed in distraction-affected crashes.


         Ten percent of fatal crashes, 15 percent of injury crashes, and 14 percent of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2015 were reported as distraction-affected crashes.


         While not specifically related to drivers, of relevance is the fact that more than half (53%) of all adult cellphone owners have been on the giving or receiving end of a distracted walking encounter, according to a Pew Research study. 


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If you would like to have a PDF or JPG of this Heads Up! graphic commissioned by the Chancellor’s University Safety Committee so you can encourage safe practices and awareness in your department/area/facility, contact Elizabeth (Betsy) Howe, [log in to unmask] or 402-472-5488. 





  Chancellor’s University Safety Committee

  Website: Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks.


4.     Safety Shorts – Emergency Preparedness, Distracted Driving    


This series features links to short safety resource(s) each month. Following are video resources related article topics.


            UNL Emergency Preparedness: Really Obvious Playlist (A variety of topics - 31 short clips, about 1 minute each)


            Distracted to Death – Safety Training Video – Avoid Accidents Reduce Distractions (Safety Memos, 1.43 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.


5.     Spring Safety Colloquium – Save the Date


Dan Olsen, CHMM, will speak on Chemical Hazard Assessment and Risk Minimization at the spring Safety Colloquium.  How do you ensure that your work with chemicals will not result in harm to yourself, others, or result in a fire or other property damage?  Learning how to anticipate chemical hazards, and hazards associated with the operation (e.g., unexpected reactions, heat or gas generation, pressurization, etc.) and planning actions to reduce the risk is the topic of this colloquium. 

Anyone who works with hazardous chemicals should attend.  This colloquium will demystify the chemical hazard assessment and risk minimization process.  Faculty, staff, and students who work with hazardous chemicals, particularly those who conduct chemical reactions or work with varied and numerous chemicals will find this colloquium informative and are invited to attend.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.     East Campus Union
3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.         Hamilton Hall, Room 112

Select the time/location that best fits your schedule.  RSVPs are not necessary for this colloquium.   



  EHS Laboratory Safety Colloquium Series


6.   The EPA and You

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.  You should always be prepared.

To make sure you are and remain in compliance with any applicable regulations, review the EHS Waste Management Safe Operating Procedures (SOPs).  If you use/dispose of chemicals or any of the other items listed, YOU need to be prepared for a potential audit.  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.


If you have questions or wonder if this applies to you, contact Tony Lloyd, Senior Environmental Specialist, [log in to unmask] or 402-472-4942.


  State or Federal Hazardous Waste Inspections SOP

  Waste Management SOPs

  Items/Materials Prohibited From Trash Cans and Dumpsters SOP


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.   NEW Safe Operating Procedure:  Cold Stress

Cold stress is the body’s reaction to exposure to cold environments.  Cold stress occurs by driving down the skin temperature and eventually the internal body temperature (core temperature). This may lead to serious health problems, and may cause tissue damage, and possibly death.  Effects may include hypothermia, frostbite, chilblains, and even death.  Risks are greater when the skin is wet or damp.  Certain physical conditions can also put a person at greater risk, including poor physical condition, hypertension, hypothyroidism, and diabetes.

Cold stress injuries/illnesses reviewed are hypothermia, frostbite, and chilblains. Prevention tips and first aid information is provided.


  Cold Stress  SOP

  The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Workplace Safety and Health Topic:  Cold Stress

  Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) “Cold Stress Guide”

  OSHA Quick Card:  Protecting Workers from Cold Stress

  OSHA WINTER WEATHER: Plan. Equip. Train.


9.   Revised Safe Operating Procedures 


  EHS SOP Elevated Work Surfaces

    Updated to reflect newly published General Industry Standards.


  EHS SOP Ladder Safety

    Included specific instruction to refrain from trying to reposition a ladder when a person is on it and a few other minor wording changes.


  EHS SOP Tractor Safety

    Updated to add a few additional safety tips.




Environmental Health and Safety

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

3630 East Campus Loop

Lincoln, NE  68583-0824

(402) 472-4925