In this issue of the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Listserv, September 13, 2017


1.    Overexertion & NIOSH Lifting Equation App

2.    Situational Preparedness – Plan Ahead

3.    National Farm Safety Week

4.    Safety Shorts – Farm Safety Videos & Webinars

5.    Fall Colloquium:  Biosafety Cabinets

6.    Chancellor’s University Safety Committee Open Forum –Supplier Showcase

7.    EHS Requests Your Feedback

8.    Revised Safe Operating Procedure




1.   Overexertion & NIOSH Lifting Equation App


Workers in a variety of occupations are often responsible for manually lifting and moving objects on the job. Research shows that exposure to repetitive motion, force, vibration, and awkward positions puts workers at risk for developing musculoskeletal injuries.  One-third of work-related injuries resulting in missed workdays can be attributed to musculoskeletal disorders where lifting is part of the job.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed a Lifting Equation mobile application, NLE Calc. The application provides risk estimates to help evaluate lifting tasks and reduce the incidence of low back injuries.  The app is available for either iPhone or Android.

The app provides job design guidelines for manual lifting tasks so workers can make informed decisions and avoid the potential hazards. NIOSH recommends that single or multiple lifting tasks have a composite lifting index lower than 1.0.

In addition to calculating the lifting index, the app provides users with recommendations, some of which include:

         Bring the load closer to the body.

         Avoid twisting while lifting.

         Raise the load to waist height before lifting.

         Minimize the distance the load must be lifted.

NIOSH makes available online a number of other resources to help workers avoid overexertion injuries.  A few general tips to prevent overexertion are:

         Stretch and/or warm up before heavy lifting or strenuous activity.

         Lift with your legs bent and hold objects close to your body.

         Avoid bending, reaching and twisting when lifting.

         Ask a co-worker for help when lifting.

The National Safety Council has a number of resources as well, posters, tip sheets and more on this topic for free download.  These resources are suitable for sharing with co-workers, safety committees, in area toolbox talks, etc.


  NIOSH Lifting Equation App

  National Safety Council “Take It Easy – Your Body will Thank You.”

  EHS Safe Operating Procedure General Material Handling / Safe Lifting


2.   Situational Preparedness – Plan Ahead


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.  


September is National Preparedness Month.  The theme is “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead.  You Can.”   The web site exists to help you, your workplace and your family “be prepared.”  Resources include a “National Seasonal Preparedness Calendar” with links to a variety of resources relevant to typical disasters, month-by-month, toolkits, webinars, videos, and more. The weekly themes for the September Preparedness Month are:


         Make a Plan for Yourself, Family and Friends

         Plan to Help Your Neighbor and Community

         Practice and Build Out Your Plans

         Get Involved!  Be a Part of Something Larger


Many of the resources are suitable for sharing with co-workers at safety committee or other team meetings, regular workplace toolbox talks, etc.




  National Preparedness Month

  2017 National Seasonal Preparedness Calendar PDF

  2017 National Seasonal Preparedness Messaging Calendar Supplemental Resources


3.   National Farm Safety Week


There are a number of University of Nebraska-Lincoln “farm” operations throughout the state. The National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) is promoting September 17-23, 2017, as National Farm Safety and Health Week 2017. The purpose of this organization in general and the week in particular is to call attention to the hazards and risks of farm work and promote safe practices to mitigate those hazards. 

The theme for 2017 is “Putting FARM SAFETY into PRACTICE.” Daily Topics to focus in on particular hazard areas are:

         Monday – Tractor Safety

         Tuesday – Farmer Health

         Wednesday – Child/Youth Health and Safety

         Thursday – Confined Spaces in Agriculture

         Friday – Rural Roadway Safety

NECAS provides resources supporting each day’s theme, in addition to the vast resources always available online through their web site.

The AgriSafe Network, another group focused on farm safety, is participating by providing daily webinars.  The AgriSafe Network slogan is “Protecting the People Who Feed the World.” Review webinar topics and register at  The free webinars are from 12-1 p.m. Central Time.  AgriSafe is another excellent resource for all agricultural workers.

EHS provides resources on a variety of topics relating to safety while conducting agricultural operations under the Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) heading Ag Safety.  Topics include: 

         Nebraska Guide G1770 Cleaning Pesticide Application Equipment 

         All Terrain Vehicles

         Animal Feeding Operations

         Grain Bin Safety

         Harvest Safety

         Outdoor Power Equipment Safety

         Sharps Use and Handling with Livestock

         Skid Steer Loaders

         Tractor Safety.  

Other SOPs relevant to agricultural operations are found in the SOP categories Heat Stress, Landscape, Shops, and General/Other


EHS Ag Safety Safe Operating Procedures     

EHS SOP listing

National Education Center For Agricultural Safety

NECAS National Farm Safety and Health Week 2017

 NECAS Safety Training

AgriSafe Network


4.   Safety Shorts –  Farm Safety Videos & Webinars


This series features links to short safety resource(s) each month. Provided this month are resources accessible through the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) web site:


         Growing Safely Video Series

o   Grain Bin Safety

o   Chainsaw Safety

o   Tree Stand Safety

o   Farm Emergency Procedures

o   PTO Safety

o   Child Safety on the Farm

o   Farm Electrical Safety

o   Auger Safety

o   Rural Road Safety

o   Tractor Safety

o   Sun Safety

o   ATV Safety

o   Unloading and Loading Trailer Safety

         Webinars ( – webinars are through AgriSafe and require registration

o   Manure Pit Foaming Webinar

o   Confined Space – Manure Pit Entry Webinar

o   Confined Space – Grain Pit Entry Webinar

          Anhydrous Ammonia Safety (OffTheJobSafety, 5:31 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.


5.   Fall Colloquium:  Biosafety Cabinets 


The fall safety colloquium, co-sponsored by EHS and the Office of Research and Economic Development, will be on Wednesday, October 11, 2017.  Brian Garrett, Labconco Product Manager, will provide information relevant to those who use, intend to use, or select and purchase biosafety cabinets.  Two sessions are available to facilitate your attendance:


  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


6.   Chancellor’s University Safety Committee Open Forum & Supplier Showcase

The Chancellor’s University Safety Committee (CUSC) will host the fall Open Forum meeting at Nebraska City Union 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 19, 2017. The campus community is invited 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 bi-monthly meetings.


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


As part of their campus outreach, the CUSC will have a booth at the October 17, 2017, Supplier Showcase, sponsored by UNL Procurement, from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in the City Union Centennial Ballroom. 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

  Chancellor’s University Safety Committee Guidelines  SOP

  UNL Procurement Supplier Showcase


7.   EHS Requests Your Feedback


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. 


In order to effectively evaluate potential areas for improvement, please provide specific information or examples and your name and contact information.  The Director, Brenda Osthus, follows up on all submissions. 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.   


8.   Revised Safe Operating Procedures 


  Chemical Disinfectants for Biohazardous Materials SOP

This SOP, renamed to include “Chemical” in the title, has been substantially revised based on updated information on best practices and studies on disinfectant effectiveness.  The content has been expanded to include descriptions of each class of disinfectant, considerations for use of each class and examples of commercial products.  The comparison table has been revised to provide more useful information and to be easier to use.



Environmental Health and Safety

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

3630 East Campus Loop

Lincoln, NE  68583-0824

(402) 472-4925

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