November 2012

Announcing New Laboratory Close-out Procedures

When closing out a lab, the Principal Investigator (PI) and PI’s department are responsible for ensuring that all hazardous materials (biological, chemical and radiological) are removed from the lab space.  To assist with this, EHS has created a laboratory close-out procedure

The new procedure provides a timeline for notifying EHS as well as a checklist with guidance about specific issues related to transferring, transporting, or disposing of hazardous materials commonly found in labs. 

Additionally, any equipment, supplies or furniture, whether staying in the lab or being sent to Surplus, must be properly cleaned or decontaminated.  Laboratory items that are being sent to Surplus should have an Equipment Clearance Record Form completed.

EHS Waste Holiday Pickup Schedule

Click here to view our updated waste pickup schedule for the upcoming University holidays.

Quick Guide to Risk Assessment for Physical, Flammable, Explosive, and Reactive Hazards in the Laboratory

The Quick Guide at the link below is an excerpt from Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Management of Chemical Hazards, 2011, published by the National Academies Press.  This is one of the more well-known and widely accepted publications on chemical safety in labs.  If you will be using a chemical that is new to you or has known physical hazards identified in the safety data (i.e., flammable, reactive, corrosive, explosive), experiments should be pre-planned to identify such hazards.  The outline in Box 4.2 of ‘Prudent Practices’ provides a good summary of steps for evaluation of hazards and risks.  Discuss the need to pre-plan with your PI or supervisor before conducting an experiment.  You may contact LuAnn Hiratzka at 335-7964, for further discussion on planning experiments.

New One-Time Training Requirement for All Chemical Users

OSHA revised its chemical standards by adopting the United Nations Globally Harmonized System (called GHS) for the Classification and Communication of Chemical Hazards.

All employees who handle chemicals are required to receive training on the new labeling and safety information by December 1, 2013, so they are aware of the changes as they begin seeing the new labels on chemical containers entering laboratories and workplaces. By December 2015, chemical producers are required to have converted to using the new information system on labels and in safety data sheets; however, some manufacturers have already begun to implement these changes.

The training requirement can be fulfilled by taking a new ICON course titled “GHS Labels and SDSs” (W503OS). (Safety data sheet, or SDS, is the new term for material safety data sheet or SDS.)  The course can be accessed through the HR Self-Service site. Select “My Training” under Learning and Development, click on “Available Online Icon Courses,” and then select the course noted above.

It is a short course that explains the 16-section format for safety data sheets and the pictograms, signal words, and statements about hazards and precautions that will be on chemical container labels. Though this type of information has been on labels and SDSs for quite some time, inconsistencies in how the information was presented made it challenging for chemical users to understand. The GHS system should enhance comprehension of the hazards and provide quicker and more efficient access to information.

The revised standard does not change other requirements in the Chemical Hygiene Plan or Hazard Communication Program, the EHS Assist inventory, etc. The only new requirement is that all employees who handle chemicals must be trained one time on the new labeling format and safety data sheets.

This information is also being distributed by EHS staff during department reviews and audits. Feel free to post the flyer in your workplace.  If you have questions, please direct them to LuAnn Hiratzka at 335-7964 or Periyasamy Subramanian at 335-8299.

Visit EHS at the Health Fair!

Can you remove your lab gloves without contaminating yourself?  Can you identify everyday items that are radioactive?  Want to learn how to correctly arrange your work space for proper posture?  To learn more, visit EHS staff at the University of Iowa Health Fair on Wednesday, November 7th.  At our booth you will find safety and EHS contact information, as well as giveaways!

New EHS Website

We are pleased to announce that EHS recently launched a new website:  Please visit the site and you may send us any feedback by emailing

Iowa Department of Public Health Inspection

Last month, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) conducted its annual inspection of the University’s Broad-scope radioactive material’s license.   Two inspectors spent three days reviewing records, audits and dosimetry results as well as visiting areas in which radioactive materials are used and stored.  The IDPH introduced a new inspector, Mr. Leo Wardrobe, as the replacement for Nancy Ferrington, who retired last year.

The final report indicated that no violations were noted during the inspection.  This reflects very positively on the efforts of staff working with radioactive materials to adhere to regulatory requirements and good radiation safety practices.  EHS staff appreciates the continued cooperation of the University community that work with sources of ionizing radiation in everyone’s efforts to maintain the University’s license in good standing.

Did You Know?

The only letter that does not appear in the Periodic Table is the letter “J”.

Publish Date: 

Thursday, November 1, 2012