In this issue of the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Listserv –August 23, 2019


1.    Chancellor’s University Safety Committee Open Forum 

2.    Survey:  Hazard Mitigation Plan

3.    Are Your Disinfectants Effective?  Are They Expired?

4.    Emergency Plans in Place?

5.    Situational Preparedness – Just One Second

6.    NOTE: Powered Industrial Trucks/Personal Fall Arrest Sysems – SOP Updates

7.    Safety Shorts – Forklift Safety

8.    Please Help Improve Our Service

9.    Revised Training & Safe Operating Procedures



1.   Chancellor’s University Safety Committee Open Forum


The Chancellor’s University Safety Committee (CUSC) will host the fall Open Forum meeting at Nebraska East Union 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 17, 2019. 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.



  Chancellor’s University Safety Committee


2.   Survey: Hazard Mitigation Plan


Efforts are underway by Emergency Management to develop a UNL Hazard Mitigation Plan. UNL faculty and staff are invited to participate in a survey to gather information on what the campus community considers the most critical natural or manmade hazards to be addressed by the Hazard Mitigation Plan in development. This plan will address the hazards faced on-campus and how we might better protect against them.  Please take the survey located at at your earliest convenience.  SURVEY CLOSES 9/3/19. Thanks in advance for your time!

3.   Are Your Disinfectants Effective?  Are They Expired?


EHS just published a major revision to the Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) on Chemical Disinfectants for Biohazardous Materials. In the SOP we provide guidance on the average shelf life of the major classes of disinfectants and go into detail about shelf life for common dilutions of bleach. Once you add water to concentrated bleach, the chlorine concentration starts to degrade and over time breaks down into salt and water. 

In an effort to make sure that the disinfectants used in labs are effective, disinfectants must be labeled with the name of the disinfectant and the concentration (as applicable) as well as the date the disinfectant was manufactured or dilution made and the expiration date.  EHS personnel will be looking for these labels as part of our annual safety and compliance surveys as we do with labels on other chemical containers. 

For more information, comments or questions call 402.472.4925 or email the Biosafety officer at [log in to unmask].


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  Chemical Disinfectants for Biohazardous Materials SOP


4.   Emergency Plans in Place?

September is right around the corner and is National Preparedness Month, a good time to ensure you have a building/department emergency plan in place. 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 facility itself during natural or man-made disasters.


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


The UNL Emergency Planning and Preparedness website contains a template (“Faculty, Staff & Depts.” tab, “Have a Plan” section).  Assistance and a fillable version are available upon request from [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.


Does your department/area/facility already have an Emergency Action Plan?  Emergency action plans should be reviewed at least once a year and more often if necessary to reflect changes in personnel or other specific attributes of the area/facility. 


All workers should be familiar with the emergency action plan, including how they will be notified of an emergency, at least two safe routes of escape from the building, and where they can shelter-in-place if needed. In an emergency, people tend to freeze, so they need to know what to do without having to think about it—that means training. If workers have additional roles to play in an emergency, such as shutting down equipment or assisting disabled co-workers, and so on, they must be trained in those duties as well. In addition to regular review/retraining, make sure that all new workers are trained in the emergency action plan.




  Emergency Planning & Preparedness: Building Emergency Action Plan

EHS Emergency Preparedness Safe Operating Procedures

EHS Emergency Preparedness web-based training


5.   Situational Preparedness – Just One Second 


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.  


Just one second of your attention when driving is all it takes to change a life forever. Cell phones and new vehicle technology distract our brains even when the driver is not aware of it.  Below are some common driver multi-tasking myths:


Myth #1: Drivers can multi-task

Reality:  Diving and cell phone conversations both require a great deal of thought.  When doing both at the same time, our brain is unable to do either well.


Myth #2:  Talking on a cell phone is no different than talking to a passenger.

Reality:  Adult passengers can help a driver by alerting them to traffic problems.


Myth #3:  Speaking hands-free is safe.

Reality:  Drivers talking on cell phones have slower reaction times to pedestrians, red lights, and other environmental conditions.


Myth #4:  Talk-to-text is safe to do when driving.

Reality: It’s actually still very distracting, mentally and visually.


Don’t let one second change YOUR life forever!




  EHS Safety Resources “Heads Up! Marketing Materials”

  The Great Multitasking Lie (infographic)


6.   NOTE: Powered Industrial Trucks/Personal Fall Arrest Systems -  SOP Updates

The Safe Operating Procedure, Forklift/Powered Industrial Truck Safety, has recently been updated.  Here is an overview of the changes:


         Added clarification to seatbelt usage on sit down style PITs.

         Updated personal fall protection requirements to allow only the use of full body harnesses and self-retracting lanyards with PIT use.

         Clarified that order pickers designed to raise and lower the operator while the machine is in motion are exempt from the requirement that a person on a platform may not be on board while a PIT is traveling.

         Updated Operator and Inspection Checklists to reflect use of Deadman Switches on machines so equipped and use of full body harnesses and self-retracting lanyards on order pickers.


The accompanying web-based Powered Industrial Truck Training has been updated to reflect these changes. Also, the changes that relate to personal fall protection with PIT use have been made to the Personal Fall Arrest Systems Safe Operating Procedure.


Now might be a good time to refresh your memory about the components of operating a Powered Industrial Truck.



  Forklift/Powered Industrial Truck Safety SOP

  Powered Industrial Truck web-based training

  Personal Fall Arrest Systems


7.   Safety Shorts – Forklift Safety


This series features links to short safety resource(s) each month. Provided this month are resources related to safe operation of forklifts.



         Forklift Safety – 8 Rules – Avoid Accidents & Injuries – Safe Forklift Operation Starts With You (Safety Memos      3:28 minutes)


         Basic Forklift Safety Training  (United Electric     20:48 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.


8.   Please 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. 


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.


9.   Revised Training and Safe Operating Procedures 




Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures (SPCC)

Changed the list of affected facilities and appropriate SOPs.


Safe Operating Procedures


Aboveground Petroleum Storage Tanks

Changed NDEQ to reflect the new name NDEE (Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy), Removed language that transfer operations are subject to documented inspections.  Updated list of sites subject to SPCC requirements.  Clarified spill response and reporting requirements.




Environmental Health and Safety

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

3630 East Campus Loop

Lincoln, NE  68583-0824

(402) 472-4925

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