Occupational Safety & Industrial Hygiene

 

All workers, students and visitors have the right to work, visit and live in a safe and healthy environment. The department of Environmental Health and Safety promotes this concept through programs and services designed to prevent accidents and injuries on the job and as a general procedure around campus. Our department works proactively with employees to reduce occupational injuries and illnesses in the workplace by providing consultation, training and inspections on improving the safety culture on the campus by:

  • Conducting workplace inspections and safety audits for offices and observed work.
  • Consultation of unsafe construction projects and equipment.
  • Response to worker incidents about safe procedures during work hours.
  • Conducting accident investigations where the need for increased training can benefit all involved.
  • Holding necessary specific training that targets hazards like: fire extinguisher training, fall protection, ladder safety, and arc safety awareness.

Our Industrial Hygiene program focuses on anticipating, recognizing, evaluating, and controlling potential health and safety hazards; and environmental factors that may affect the health, comfort, or productivity of the campus community. Industrial Hygiene also emphasizes identifying general safety hazards, and correcting of the factors that contribute to accidents and injuries.

 

Background

“In 2004, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS [Bureau of Labor Statistics] ) reported that 1,224 construction workers died on the job, with 36 percent of those fatalities resulting from falls. Events surrounding these types of accidents often involve a number of factors, including unstable working surfaces, misuse of fall protection equipment and human error. Studies have shown that the use of guardrails, fall arrest systems, safety nets, covers and travel-restriction systems can prevent many deaths and injuries from falls.”

OSHA [Occupational Safety & Health Administration]

When is Fall Protection Required?

Whenever a University employee engaged in construction/maintenance activities is exposed to a potential fall of 6 feet or greater from an unprotected side or edge, the OSHA Fall Protection Standard for Construction applies (29 CFR 1926.501). OSHA mandates that the University select either a guardrail system, safety net system or personal fall arrest system to protect the worker from a fall. Examples of common work tasks requiring fall protection equipment include: roofing, work from scaffolds and articulating boom trucks and work around holes — including skylights.

Other University operations involving fall hazards are covered under the OSHA General Industry Standard for Walking-Working Surfaces, Guarding Floor and Wall Openings and Holes (29 CFR 1910.23). Guardrails are required around any open-sided floor or work platform 4 feet or more above the adjacent floor. All floor holes and skylight openings must be guarded.

Through training, employees will be required to posses the knowledge and skills required for safe application, usage and removal of energy controls.

 

Scope

This program specifically outlines the purpose, procedures, and training to be utilized by UT Dallas employees, its contractors, and its agents on a daily basis to guard against the unexpected energizing, start-up, or release of stored energy, which could cause injury. It shall be the duty of each employee to become familiar with the contents of this program and ensure compliance with its procedures. Heads of departments shall ensure that employees under their supervision receive training in the contents of this program and ensure training records are maintained.

Purpose

The purpose of this program is to establish a method for the control of hazardous energy by minimizing the potential for inadvertent activation of equipment.

A wide variety of energy sources may need to be locked out during service or maintenance This includes but is not limited to:

  • Electrical equipment
  • Hydraulic
  • Pneumatic
  • Mechanical
  • Gravity
  • Thermal
  • Chemical
  • Fluids and Gases
  • Water under pressure
  • Steam

Asbestos is a versatile material with high tensile strength, flexibility; and resistance to heat, chemicals, and electricity. It was used widely in the United States since the early part of the last century, and any building constructed before 1980 could have asbestos containing material (ACM [Asbestos Containing Material] ).

Our asbestos management program offers —

  • Collection of sample building materials to analyze for ACM [Asbestos Containing Material] through an external contractor.
  • Oversight for in-house Operations and Maintenance activities, serving as a project supervisor.
  • Oversight for renovation projects involving asbestos, as well as day-to-day operations and maintenance of ACM [Asbestos Containing Material] .
  • A liaison with state and regulatory agencies for asbestos management issues.
  • Retention of appropriate documentation.

File a Preliminary Asbestos Report >>

Laboratory fume hoods are the first defense to minimize researchers’ chemical exposure. They are considered the primary means of protection from the inhalation of hazardous vapors. It is, therefore, important that all potentially harmful chemical work be conducted inside a properly-functioning fume hood. When installed, fume hoods should be inspected in accordance with ASHRAE [American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers] 110 (the industry standard tracer gas mannequin method) to ensure proper ventilation.

Fume Hood Health and Safety Tips

  • Substitute toxic chemicals with less hazardous materials whenever possible.
  • Keep fume hood exhaust fans on at all times.
  • Perform all work six inches inside the hood.
  • Never place your head inside the hood.
  • Keep the hood sash closed as much as possible at all times to ensure the optimum face velocity and to minimize energy usage.
  • Keep lab doors closed to ensure negative room pressure to the corridor and proper air flow into the hood.
  • Do not store chemicals for extended periods of time in the hood.
  • Keep the slots of the baffle free from obstructions.
  • Do not use the hood as a tool to dispose of waste (e.g.: for the evaporation of chemicals).
  • Avoid rapid movements in front of the hood, including opening and closing the fume hood sash rapidly, and swift arm and body movements in front of or inside the hood. These actions may increase turbulence and reduce the effectiveness of fume hood containment.
  • Do not override or disable the mechanical stops on the sash.
  • Train and educate your employees regarding specific hazards and include work methods that help reduce contaminant exposure.
  • Have a general awareness of the operation of your hood, and be aware of any differences in visual or audible cues that may hint at a change in its function.

Compressed gas cylinders (CGC [Compressed Gas Cylinders] ) are under great pressures —often exceeding 2000 pounds per square inch or 136 atmospheres. To prevent any accidental uncontrolled release of energy, it is important to protect CGC [Compressed Gas Cylinders] from toppling over and rupturing their valve stems. All compressed gas cylinders, including lecture bottles, “empty” cylinders, and cylinders in transit, must be secured in protective structures such as racks, clamping devices, holders, and stands.

Chemical Safety Manual (PDF [Portable Document Format File] , 446KB)

Emergency showers and eyewashes are an important part of any laboratory. In the event of gross chemical contamination, they can help save a life. You should have an eyewash and safety shower within 10 seconds clear travel of your workspace.

What You Can Do

  • If you are exposed to chemicals and need to use an emergency shower or eyewash, flush the affected area for at least fifteen minutes, to completely remove any chemicals. Seek appropriate medical attention if the situation warrants.
  • Periodically test your eyewashes for good water flow and water quality. This helps clean out any accumulated rust, scale deposits, or bacteria.
  • Keep the area around your safety equipment free of clutter —It’s impossible to get to a cluttered eyewash when your eyes are full of acid.
  • Keep the shower pull at a height that can be reached by everyone in your lab.
  • Protect the nozzles on your eyewashes with plastic end caps. These caps should be loose enough to get popped off by the flow of water, but secure enough to prevent dust and chemical contamination.
  • Don’t use portable squeeze bottles as substitutes for eyewashes.
  • Don’t depend on eyewashes and safety showers to act as substitutes for using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] ) in your lab.

What EH&S [Environmental Health and Safety] Can Do For You

  • Inspect your eyewashes and emergency showers.
  • Advise you on the best locations in your lab for eyewashes and safety showers.
  • Provide laboratory safety training.
  • Provide training in the use of PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] .

Texas Hazard Communication Act (HS 502)

The University of Texas at Dallas recognizes that employees have a right and need to know the properties and potential safety and health hazards of substances to which you may be exposed in the course of performing your duties. Such knowledge is essential to maintaining the general health and welfare of faculty, staff, and students, and reducing the incidence and cost of occupational illness and injury.

It is the policy of UT Dallas to provide employees with appropriate training and information on the safe handling and work practices associated with hazardous chemicals, materials, and conditions to which employees may be exposed in the work place. This is accomplished by complying with the Texas Hazard Communication Act (HS 502) which is incorporated into our policy. Amendments to this standard become incorporated into our policy on the date they become effective.

Implementation of this policy is accomplished through the UTD Hazard Communication Program.

Texas Hazard Communication Act Handbook (PDF [Portable Document Format File] , 182KB)

Hearing Safety Manual (PDF [Portable Document Format File] , 62KB)

Work-related hearing loss is a critical workplace safety and health issue. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH [National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health] ) and the occupational safety and health community named hearing loss one of the 21 priority areas for research in this century. Noise-induced hearing loss is preventable, but once acquired, is permanent and irreversible.

We must all take steps to protect our hearing.

Noise exposure levels at work should not exceed 85 dB [decibels] over 8 working hours, or an 8-hour time weighted average (TWA [Time Weighted Average] ). Supervisors should monitor all employees whose noise exposure is equivalent to, or greater than, a noise exposure received in 8 hours where the noise level is constantly 85 dB [decibels] .

Wear hearing protection such as ear plugs or ear muffs if you work in an area with equipment that exposes you to more than 85 dB [decibels] .

Contact EH&S if you’re not sure whether the noise in your area, or from your equipment, exceeds 85 dB [decibels] .

UT Dallas has created a guiding policy (PDF [Portable Document Format File] , 101KB) to minimize indoor air quality (IAQ [Indoor Air Quality] ) issues in our new construction / remodeling / renovation projects. We have adopted relevant sections of the Texas Department of Health Voluntary Indoor Air Quality Guidelines for Government Buildings.

IAQ [Indoor Air Quality] promotes practices that prevent or reduce the contamination of indoor air which contribute to a safe, healthy, productive, and comfortable environment inside our buildings.

Indoor Air Quality Policy (PDF [Portable Document Format File] , 101KB)

Pollen Allergy Forecast

Ergonomics is the applied science of equipment design, for the workplace, intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue, injury, and discomfort. Workspace assessments are scheduled upon request by contacting Occupational Safety & Industrial Hygiene at 972.883.4111.

 

CPR / AED / First Aid

In the United States, sudden cardiac arrest claims more than 350,000 lives each year. As a leading cause of death in the world it is frequently caused by ventricular fibrillation, an abnormal, chaotic heart rhythm that prevents the heart from pumping blood. The most effective treatment for ventricular fibrillation is delivering an electrical shock to the heart with a machine called a defibrillator. Recent advances in defibrillator design now make it possible for rescuers with limited training to provide defibrillation earlier following sudden cardiac arrest using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED [Automated External Defibrillator] ).

CPR [Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation] / AED [Automated External Defibrillator] Training teaches lay rescuers how to recognize and treat life-threatening emergencies, including cardiac arrest and choking for adult, child, and infant victims; and use of an AED [Automated External Defibrillator] for adult cardiac arrest victims. Students also learn to recognize the warning signs of heart attack and stroke in adults and breathing difficulties in children.

For more information or to schedule training please contact Occupational Safety & Industrial Hygiene.

Forklift Training

OSHA Standard 1910.178(2)-(7) for forklift training states, trainees may operate a powered industrial truck only:

  • Under the direct supervision of persons who have the knowledge, training, and experience to train operators and evaluate their competence; and
  • Where such operation does not endanger the trainee or other employees.

Training shall consist of a combination of formal instruction (lecture, discussion, video, and written material), practical training, and evaluation of the operators performance in the workplace.

All operator training and evaluation shall be conducted by persons who have the knowledge, training, and experience to train powered industrial truck operators and and evaluate their competence.

An evaluation of each powered industrial truck operator’s performance shall be conducted at least once every three years.

If you would like more information regarding this standard, please visit OSHA [Occupational Safety & Health Administration] .gov.