Lab Safety Review Checklist, PPE Campaign Winners, Safety in Dr. Heffern's Lab and more...
Lab Safety Review Checklist – Updates 2022
The laboratory safety review program checklist has been updated to streamline the checklist and reviews.
The previous version of this checklist was a 14-page document. Lab personnel and safety coordinators often complained the document was too long to print when completing a paper self-inspection. In order to reduce the number of pages, the action plan text for each finding was removed from the paper checklist. This information can still be found and will continue to be managed on the online checklist here.
The Laboratory Safety Review program is celebrating its 9th anniversary and launching an incentive program to reward positive safety behavior.
The Look at me in my PPE promotional campaign aims to increase the wearing of “minimum attire” (long pants and closed-toe shoes), and to incentivize wearing the proper eyewear, gloves, and lab coat during active research.
Check out the winners for the month of April here.
Lab Safety Spotlight: Dr. Heffern
Dr. Heffern is one of the many Principal Investigators that uses her extensive knowledge, background, and creativity to ensure UC Davis is a leader in lab safety.
A p-trap is u-shaped plumbing device which prevents odorous gases in plumbing drains and sewers from rising up through toilets, sinks and floor drains.
Water in a p-trap acts as a barrier preventing sewer gases from escaping. Sewer gases give off a rotten egg odor, which is often a good indicator that there is a dried-out p-trap. Although not a health hazard, odor concerns from sewer gases may lead to discomfort directly affecting the indoor air quality of a space.
Odor concerns related to dry p-traps are frequent throughout the campus, and are the most common within labs with hidden, rarely used or historical (uncapped) drains.
Odors from a dried p-trap can be easily remedied by pouring water down a drain. If drains are prone to drying out frequently, pouring a small amount of mineral oil down the drain after filling it with water will act as a barrier to the water from evaporating. So next time you experience a strange odor within your space, be sure to look for that hidden, stinky trap!
Helium Allocation to Campus
The University of California has received notification from industrial gas suppliers Linde (Praxair) and Airgas, that they will be placing academic campuses on allocation for helium products.
Airgas has reduced allocation to campus customers of all helium products to 65% of last year’s use. Linde’s allocation has been reduced to 50% of last year’s use.
Microtomes (aka cryostats or vibratomes) are instruments found in many labs for cutting extremely thin sections of material for examination under a microscope. There are many different types, but all microtomes contain extremely sharp blades, and cuts from them are a common occurrence.
A Cal/OSHA regulation relating to microtomes says that they “shall be used, operated, and maintained by qualified persons in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations” and with the text of the regulation.
SafetyNet 146: Microtome Use Hazards and Precautions, when read and signed, can serve as a training document for microtome use, in addition to documented hands-on training.
In an effort to reduce/eliminate microtome injuries, starting in 2023, the lab safety review program will add a question related to microtomes to their checklist and to the self-inspection checklist. The wording will be decided by the faculty-led Chemical and Lab Safety Committee (CLSC) and will be shared before the item is added.
Approximately 160,000 pounds of hazardous waste is generated by campus annually. Essentially every lab involved in research produces hazardous waste that is picked up and handled by the EH&S Hazardous Waste team. Below are shown the three most common issues identified by the Hazardous Waste team during their waste pickups.
Three common issues identified by the Hazardous Waste team:
State and Federal regulations require all hazardous waste to be properly labeled. A properly filled out hazardous waste label must be attached to the container when a container begins to be filled. The lab should ensure that the hazardous waste label is adequately taped to the container, making sure that that the barcodes and waste information are clearly visible.
Overfilled Carboys or Waste Containers
Waste Containers must not be filled to the top. One inch of headspace must be left in the container to allow for expansion during transport and so that waste containers can be easily handled and emptied by the Hazardous Waste team during the bulking process. Carboys obtained by the Hazardous Waste team have a dashed line indicating the appropriate fill level.
Duplicated Hazardous Waste Tags
When WASTe tags are photocopied or used for more than one container, only ONE of the containers is actually being tracked in WASTe. That means that when it’s time for your hazardous waste to be picked up by EH&S only one of the containers will be picked up. Each hazardous waste container must have its own unique WASTe label.
Additional tips for hazardous waste:
SafetyNet #8 provides guidelines for Chemical Waste Disposal.
Researchers can use the comments section of the hazardous waste tag to request a clean carboy when their waste is picked up.
If the waste is located in an obscure location, researchers can include additional location information in the comments section of the hazardous waste tag to ensure the Hazardous Waste team can find the waste in the lab during pick up.
All fires, regardless of size or if/how they were extinguished, must be immediately reported to 9-1-1. This gives firefighters and investigators a chance to confirm the location is safe for our occupants. Why do I have to report every fire, especially if I’ve already put it out?
If you had a near miss, there’s a good chance that someone else might make the same mistake. The Fire Prevention team shares incident information anonymously so that others with a similar issue can avoid potential injuries.
If the incident involves equipment, the Fire Prevention team researches the equipment to determine if there may be a recall or reports of similar problems with it. This will expedite getting damaged equipment replaced and inform others on campus who are also using the equipment.
The Fire Prevention team monitors all fire/explosion incidents for safety issues, as they are made aware of them. If incidents go unreported, they lose the ability to learn from them and share pertinent information to further prevent similar issues.
If you used a fire extinguisher to put the fire out, it needs to be replaced immediately with a fully charged extinguisher. Someone else may need that extinguisher the very next day for their own safety.
It’s campus policy (PPM 390-40). Please dial 9-1-1 and be sure to make it clear that you are reporting an “extinguished” fire so that the fire department can respond appropriately.
Monthly Fire Extinguisher Inspection
All facility fire extinguishers must be inspected monthly. The inspection can be recorded on the tag attached to the fire extinguisher or marked on a separate calendar, as long as it is clearly indicated. Note that fire extinguishers are also inspected by EH&S on an annual basis: this inspection is indicated by the hole punches on the tag.
SafetyNet #538 “Fire Extinguisher Inspection Procedures” outlines the items that should be evaluated during the monthly inspection, including:
Look at the holes punched in the tag; if it has been 12 months since your annual inspection, contact Fire Prevention to get it checked.
Check that the fire extinguisher is accessible and visible.
Check that the plastic seal which holds the safety pull pin in place is present and intact.
Check that the yellow needle within the pressure gauge is inside the green perimeter.
This fire extinguisher had its last annual inspection performed by EH&S on August 16, 2021, as indicated by the hole punches in the green tag. The monthly inspections performed by the facility are indicated on a calendar posted above the extinguisher.
This course was initially developed for lab safety contacts/managers and/or Principal Investigators (PIs) to help prepare for their annual laboratory safety review. However, this course is valuable to anyone who has a need to work safely in the lab, and keeping their colleagues safe (e.g., everyone!).
The lab safety review team and the School of Veterinary Medicine are collaborating on a project to develop the hands-on course UCD Laboratory Safety 201: Application. This course is designed for laboratory personnel and PIs as a hands-on practical to increase their understanding of the “why” behind requirements and regulations.