In this issue of the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Listserv, May 10, 2017


1.    Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

2.    Situational Preparedness – National Bike Month  

3.    Safety Shorts –  Bicycle Safety

4.    Vector-borne Diseases

5.    National Electrical Safety Month

6.    Help Improve Our Service

7.    Safety Poster – Spill Kit

8.    Revised Safe Operating Procedures - Training



1.   Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month 


May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. During spring and summer, the number of motorcyclists on the road increases. The purpose of designating an awareness month is to remind both motorists and motorcycle drivers to practice safety on the road. Motorcyclists are much more vulnerable to crashes than passenger car occupants. Reported death rates per mile are 37 times greater for motorcyclists than for passenger car occupants. 

Many crashes occur because motorcycles are hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot. Passenger car drivers should be extra cautious checking mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes and at intersections.  Drivers should leave extra space – at least four seconds more, when following a motorcycle.  Motorcycle drivers need the full lane width to maneuver safely on all types of road and in all types of conditions. 

Here are a few safety measures specific to motorcycle riding:

         Be seen by wearing reflective clothing or put reflective tape on your protective clothing and motorcycle.  Wear face or eye protection and a DOT-approved helmet.

         Use common sense by riding sober, obeying all speed limits and allowing enough time to react to potentially dangerous situations.

         Position your motorcycle to avoid a driver’s blind spot.

         Obey all speed limits and traffic laws, including the use of turn signals for every turn and lane change.

         Know your motorcycle and conduct a pre-ride check.

         Practice safe riding techniques and know how to handle your motorcycle in adverse road and weather conditions. 



  Valentic, S. (2017, May 02). Share the Road: May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Retrieved May 08, 2017, from

  Walter, L. (2012, May 15). 6 Tips for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Retrieved May 08, 2017, from

  Walter, L. (2011, February 09). Researchers Debunk Myth that Motorcycle Helmets Can Increase Injury Risk in Crashes. Retrieved May 08, 2017, from


2.    Situational Preparedness – National Bike Month


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. 


May is National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists.  Established in 1956, this month is a chance to showcase the benefits of cycling, encourage more people to give it a try, and emphasize safe bicycling.  With growing cultural awareness around health and wellness, sustainability and economic savings, bicycling is being embraced by new and broader audiences.


As the number of bicyclists increases, so do safety concerns.  The article above, Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, is a great resource for bicycle safety.  Simply substitute the word “bicycle” for the word “motorcycle!”  The League of American Bicyclists publishes a number of resources on “smart cycling.”  Featured are:


         Quick Guides, primers on riding safely in and around traffic.

         Smart Cycling Tips to learn more about how to ride safely and perform maintenance on your bike.

         Smart Cycling Videos to help you understand how to ride safely, improve comfort, find the right bike and gear, and your rights as a bicyclist.

         Information on how to find bike clubs, classes and more.


The Chancellor’s University Safety Committee has initiated a “Heads Up!” campaign to address concerns with unsafe walking/driving/bicycling at UNL.

The focus of this quarter is multitasking hazards, with a special emphasis on bicycling. 



If you would like to have a PDF or JPG of this Heads Up! graphic commissioned by the Chancellor’s University Safety Committee in order to 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

  The League of American Bicyclists “Smart Cycling”


3.     Safety Shorts –   Bicycle Safety


This series features links to short safety resource(s) each month. Provided this month are resources related to bicycle safety.


         NHTSA’s Bicycle Safety Tips for Adults (AAA, 7:23 minutes)


         Bike Safety - Safe Cycling Tips for Adults (AAA, 2:03 minutes)


         Bike Safety - Sharing the Road (AAA, 2:42 minutes)


NOTE: Resources provided are for informational purposes only.  Publication does not indicate endorsement a particular company or product or affect current UNL policies and procedures.


4.     Vector-borne Diseases

It’s that time of year when there is alternating wet weather and hot weather in the transition from spring to summer.  That weather pattern creates standing water that is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and other insects.  With an increase in ticks and flying insect populations comes an increased risk of exposure to the diseases that these insects can carry. 

Mosquitos or tick bites can transmit vector-borne diseases such as West Nile Virus (mosquitos), Lyme Disease (ticks) and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (ticks). These diseases are called “Vector-Borne Diseases” because they are transmitted through an insect or “vector.”  Vectors are living organisms that can transmit infectious diseases between humans or from animals to humans.  Many of these vectors are bloodsucking insects, which ingest disease-producing microorganisms during a blood meal from an infected host (human or animal) and later inject it into a new host during a subsequent blood meal.

Zika virus that first started to emerge last year is still in the news.  The Zika virus spreads primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.  To date, there have been 224 cases of Zika virus infection acquired through presumed local mosquito-borne transmission in the US.  These cases have been isolated to Florida and Texas1.  Other reported cases of infection have been travel-associated1.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued travel notices for Brownsville, TX, Southeastern Florida (Miami), all Caribbean nations, Central and South America, Mexico parts of Africa and Asia and some Pacific Islands2.  Check the CDC webpages for advice if you are planning to travel to any of these areas3,4.  More information about Zika is available on the CDC website5.

Problems associated with vector-borne diseases:

         They are hard to predict, prevent or control.

         Only a few have vaccines.

         Some vectors are notoriously hard to kill and develop resistance to insecticides.

         Almost all vector-borne viruses and bacteria are zoonotic, meaning they can cause disease in animals as well as in humans.

To avoid “getting bit,” follow these prevention tips:

         Wear insect repellent. Yes, it is safe when used as directed.  Insect repellent is the BEST way to protect against insect bites—even children and pregnant women should protect themselves. Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer lasting protection.

o   DEET.  Products containing DEET include Cutter, OFF!, Skintastic.

o   Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin).  Products containing picaridin include Cutter Advanced, Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus, and Autan (outside the United States).

o   Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD).  Products containing OLE include Repel and Off! Botanicals.  Do not use these products on children under 3 years old.

o   IR3535.  Products containing IR3535 include Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition and SkinSmart.

         Cover up.  When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. Thoroughly check skin and clothing daily for ticks.

         Keep mosquitoes outside.  Use air conditioning or make sure that you repair and use window/door screens.

         Avoid areas prone to insect infestation and take action to eliminate or treat potential breeding grounds.


  Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services (NeDHHS) (phone: 402-471-2937)

  Centers for Disease Control (CDC) – Division of Vector-Borne Diseases     (email: [log in to unmask] or phone: 970-221-6400)

  CDC Prevent Mosquito Bites

  CDC Insect Repellent Use & Safety

  CDC Lyme Disease Prevention

  Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

  NeDHHS WNV (West Nile Virus) Surveillance

  General Information on WNV

  CDC Zika Virus Information:







5.   National Electrical Safety Month 

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) leads the way in promoting electrical safety across North America.  ESFI creates unique awareness and educational resources designed to meet diverse needs: workplace safety, home safety, seasonal safety, kids safety, and more.


         Workplace Safety.  Over the last ten years, more than 30,000 workers have been injured by workplace electrical hazards.  The ESFI recognizes each work environment presents different electrical hazards.  Their online materials provide valuable information to help employees make safe choices everyday whether work tasks take place in an office or other work setting.

         Home Safety.  Electricity is such an integral part of our lives we tend to take it for granted.  Many electrocutions and home fires can be prevented simply by understanding basic electrical safety principles and adhering to safe practices. ESFI has developed a number of resources to help educate homeowners, consumers, older adults, and children.

         Seasonal Safety.  Tips for all seasons, including how to minimize storm-related electrical hazards using the ESFI Severe Weather Safety Resources.

         Kids Safety.  Curiosity is a natural part of childhood learning, but it can be extremely dangerous when it comes to electricity. To teach children electrical safety it is imperative to teach about electricity itself. 



ESFI website

  EHS General Electrical Safety Safe Operating Procedure (SOP)

  EHS General Electrical Safety Awareness Web-Based Training

  Smith Sandy Smith, S. (2017, April 25). May Is Electrical Safety Month [Infographic]. Retrieved May 08, 2017, from



6.   Help Improve Our Service


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.  We greatly appreciate your participation.


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. 


7.   Safety Poster – Spill Kit


EHS provides a number of safety posters of relevance to the campus community. This poster is a reminder regarding Spill Kits.  Spill kits must be readily available in all areas where chemicals are used.  They must contain supplies appropriate for the type and quantity of chemicals used.  This poster provides a “fill-in” space for spill kit location to maintain awareness of all who might need to access the spill kit.




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


  Safety Posters 


8.   Revised Safe Operating Procedures - Training 


Safe Operating Procedures:

  Centrifuge Safety SOP

      Updated with additional general safety, procedural safety, and spill/breakage clean-up considerations.  An appendix was added with an “Out of Order” sign template for centrifuges awaiting service.


  Chemical Hazard Assessment and Risk Minimization SOP

        Updated to reflect the five categories of acute toxicity.


Web-Based Training:

  Powered Industrial Trucks

Updated information on the regulatory authority basis and battery hazards.




Environmental Health and Safety

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

3630 East Campus Loop

Lincoln, NE  68583-0824

(402) 472-4925

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