In this issue of the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Listserv – January 12, 2022

  1. Safe Snow Shoveling and Snow Blowing
  2. Safety Shorts – Snow Shoveling/Snow Blower Tips
  3. Reminder to Prevent Eye Injury 
  4. New Heads Up! Graphics 
  5. Situational Preparedness: Driving in the Dark
  6. Safety in the Office
  7. NEW SOP:  Anaerobic Chambers



1.   Safe Snow Shoveling and Snow Blowing

Snow shoveling and use of a snow blower present a number of hazards.  Here are some tips to help keep you safe while shoveling snow.  




While shoveling:

·         Use proper equipment.  Use a shovel comfortable for your height and strength.  Sometimes a smaller blade is better as it avoids the risk of trying to pick up too much snow at once.


If possible, use a snow blower instead of shoveling by hand.  However, recognize that a snow blower presents unique hazards.  These are a few tips to help prevent injury:


·         Never wear loose pants, jackets, or scarves.  Loose clothing can become entangled in moving parts and pull you in with them.

·         Operate snow blowers only when there is good visibility. 

·         NEVER stick your hands in the snow blower!  To resolve jams, shut-off the engine and wait more than five seconds to ensure all moving parts are still.  Use a solid object to clear the chute.

·         Do not leave the snow blower unattended.  Shut off the engine if you must walk away.

·         Add fuel before starting the machine, never while the engine is running or hot.  Be sure to fuel the snow blower outside not in a garage, shed or another enclosed area.  Do not operate in an enclosed area to avoid being overcome by engine fumes (carbon monoxide).

·         Avoid the engine.  The engine becomes hot during use and can burn unprotected flesh.

·         Use the pull-cord safely.  Hold cord firmly, stand with feet wide apart.  Do not force cord if it does not move freely. Sharply pulling can cause upper body/back injury.

·         Watch the power cord.  For electric snow blowers, remain aware of power cord location.  Entangled/severed power cords can lead to shock or electrocution. 

·         Do not remove safety devices and keep hands and feet away from moving parts.  Safety devices, shields, guards, and interlocks are there for operator protection.

·         Watch out for motor recoil.  After the machine is turned off there is a brief recoil of motor and blades.

·         Keep others away, including children.  Snow blowers can pick up and shoot objects such as rocks and other debris with significant force.  Take care to properly position the discharge chute.

·         Wear earplugs.  Gas-powered models typically run about 85 decibels so protect your hearing.

·         Wear goggles.  Protect your eyes from small stones or other items that can be thrown up by a snow blower.

·         Understand the machine.  Read the instruction manual prior to use and be familiar with all features.  Do not attempt to operate, repair, or maintain the snow blower without reading the instruction manual.




Ø  National Safety Council “Why do People Die Shoveling Snow?”

Ø  American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons  “Orthoinfo: Prevent Snow Shoveling and Snowblowing Injuries”

Ø  Consumer Reports “Commensense tips for safer snow blowing”

Ø  Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety “Landscaping – Snow Blower”


  1. Safety Shorts – Show Shoveling/Snow Blower Tips  


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


·         Snow Shoveling Safety (Cleveland Clinic, 2:06 minutes)


·         Easy Snow Shoveling Techniques – (LS Training System, 2:26 minutes)


·         Snowblower Safety (Grabow Hand to Shoulder Center, 2.47 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.


3.   Reminder to Prevent Eye Injury

January is the American Academy of Ophthalmology “Eye Injury Prevention Month.”  Here is a poster to help workers remember to wear the eye protection designated for the task at hand because preventable eye injuries hurt the most. 


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For a FREE poster(s) contact [log in to unmask] or 402.472.4925 with your name, campus mailing address including Zip+4, and quantity desired.


Ø  Safety Posters


4.   New Heads Up! Graphics 

The Chancellor's University Safety Committee sponsors a Heads Up! campaign to encourage the campus community to safely walk/bike/drive to avoid injury.

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Graphics for the Heads Up! campaign, commissioned through University Communications by the Chancellor's University Safety Committee, are published to help the campus community promote safe walking/biking/driving to avoid injury. Please share broadly with your friends, colleagues, safety committee/team, etc. Graphics are provided in PDF format so you can print to share/display. If you do not have the capability to print in color, contact EHS ([log in to unmask] or 402.472.4925).

Do you have Digital Signage? All graphics to promote safe driving/walking/biking and use of other wheeled devices such as scooters and skateboards at UNL are available through the UNL (Digital) Content Library. Alternatively, we would be happy to provide an electronic file suitable for digital display upon request at [log in to unmask] or 402.472.4925.

5.   Situational Preparedness:  Driving in the Dark

One driving situation that we don’t always think of as being hazardous is driving in the dark. When you drive at night you experience situational night blindness.  This occurs when you are temporarily blinded by the headlights of an oncoming car or move from driving on a very brightly lit road to driving in a low light/unlit area. Your pupils adjust to differing levels of light and during the transition you may be temporarily blinded.  Here are tips to help you navigate nighttime driving:



6.   Safety in the Office*

Office workers tend to think there are no hazards in their workplace. But there are!  Here are some common hazards found in an office environment:

*This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not a recommendation of any company or commercially available products.


Ø  Office safety topics. SafetyInfo. (n.d.). Retrieved January 6, 2022, from

7.   NEW SOP:  Anaerobic Chambers

The new Anaerobic Chambers Safe Operating Procedure reviews the following components relevant to the lifecycle of an anaerobic chamber:

·         Hydrogen Gas Safety

·         Setup/Commissioning

·         Biosafety

·         Decommissioning

Anaerobic chambers are designed to provide an oxygen-free environment to facilitate growth of anaerobic microbes. The anaerobic chamber is purged with an inert gas, generally nitrogen, to remove most oxygen. An airlock is used to minimize introduction of air into the chamber while transferring samples into and out of the chamber.  Depending on user needs, anaerobic chambers can be found in many configurations, sizes, and with various gases. 

If you have any questions, contact EHS by email, [log in to unmask], or phone 422.472.5488, and ask to speak with a biosafety staff member.



Environmental Health and Safety

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

3630 East Campus Loop

Lincoln, NE  68583-0824

(402) 472-4925

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