EH&S Newsletter - December 2017 Edition

EH&S News is a bimonthly newsletter for UW faculty, staff, and students. The newsletter focuses on resources that support the UW safety culture, helpful safety information, and updates on the Environmental Health and Safety department.


To subscribe to EH&S News, complete the form below. You will receive an email with a link to complete your subscription. Contact the newsletter producer, Karen Crow, with questions.

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Submit Routine Waste Collection Requests in MyChem

MyChem has a new chemical waste report feature to help people who generate routine chemical waste. You can now save your chemical waste list and reuse it for future waste reporting purposes!

  1. Use the View Past Reports button to find all previously submitted reports for this location.
  2. View the reports and name those you might want to reuse in the future.
  3. Use the Recreate List button to open a saved list for editing and submitting to EH&S for pickup.

Contact EH&S’s Environmental Safety Programs team with questions:

  • About MyChem; email or call 206.616.4046.
  • About chemical waste collection; email or call 206.616.5835.

The 2017-18 UW Laboratory Safety Manual (LSM)

Updates include revised WAC codes, chemical storage guidelines, chemical shipment guidelines, training information, restrictions on minors in the workplace and new website links. A list of significant changes is highlighted in the log of changes.

All PI’s, lab managers, students and staff in UW laboratories using hazardous chemicals must have access to a current copy of the Laboratory Safety Manual (LSM) and supplemental laboratory-specific safety information. The LSM is your reference for laboratory safe practices and your reference for policies affecting laboratories at the UW. It is part of what the Washington Department of Labor and Industries calls a “Chemical Hygiene Plan" (CHP). According to WAC 296-828-20005, this document must be updated and reviewed annually, so make sure to update this new version with your lab-specific information.

It is expected that a copy of the LSM will be stored in each laboratory space where the work is going on and it must be accessible to all while at work. You can bookmark this site on your computer, print out a copy of the 2017-18 LSM, or order a copy from UW Copies Services (using this online form to order).

If you have any questions about the manual or its contents, please contact Tracy Harvey, Ph.D., UW Chemical Hygiene Officer, EH&S Laboratory Safety Program Manager: 206.616.3778 or email

HazCom contractor guide

If you hire contractors or invite vendors to work on campus, you need to know about chemical hazard communication (HazCom) requirements. The Washington state HazCom standard requires that:

  • The UW must inform contractors of potential chemical hazards in the work area, how chemicals are labeled, and how to access safety data sheets for chemicals they may encounter.
  • Contractors must inform the UW of any hazardous chemicals they will bring on the UW site; provide safety data sheets and information on quantities, labeling, storage, and transportation of chemicals.

This requirement includes contractors or vendors that may do repairs and maintenance work on equipment and facilities, construction, plumbing, electrical, painting, janitorial or other activities. It also includes vendors that maintain, calibrate, test and repair all types of equipment and instrumentation.

There is no exemption from this HazCom requirement based on the value or duration of the project or service, or whether or not there is a contract, including contractors or vendors paid with a ProCard.

Furthermore, if you hire a contractor or vendor to conduct work in an area where building materials such as floors and walls may be impacted, you must determine and inform the contractor of the presence of any regulated building materials (e.g., asbestos, lead, polychlorinated biphenyls, etc.) that may require special procedures. If needed, request this information from the UW Regulated Material Management Office at

For more information, see the new Contractors and HazCom focus sheet, which explains the requirements for communicating hazard information with your contractors and vendors before the project begins.

Contact EH&S at or 206.543.7262 with any questions.

Kidde fire extinguisher recall

Kidde, a manufacturer of fire extinguishers, is working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to recall some portable fire extinguishers due to potential safety issues. The recall involves plastic handle and plastic push button extinguishers manufactured between January 1, 1973 and August 15, 2017.

The recall was issued because the extinguisher can become clogged or become difficult to discharge and fail to activate during a fire emergency. Also, because the canister is pressurized, the nozzle can detach with enough force to cause injury or death. Kidde fire extinguishers with plastic handles or plastic push buttons are generally not found on campus, but are common in households, vehicles and watercraft.

EH&S is working with Facility Services to verify none of the recalled fire extinguishers are installed on campus, but we also recommend you check those you have at home or in your vehicles. Kidde is offering free replacement and disposal advice for extinguishers subject to this recall. For more information, see the EH&S flyer about the recall notice.

If you have a fire extinguisher and want to find out if it has been recalled, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission website or call Kidde toll free at 855.271.0773.

Changes to Hazardous Waste Collection Form

EH&S is responsible for collection of hazardous waste for the University, including all its campuses and offsite locations. If you have waste to be collected you need to submit an Online Chemical Waste Collection Form. Please be aware that the PDF version of the chemical waste collection form will be phased out soon. The Help Guide for completing the Online Chemical Collection Request form has recently been updated and incorporates all the latest features. There is no charge for hazardous chemical waste collection, except for unknowns and unstable peroxide formers. See the EH&S Chemical Waste web page for more information.

Lab Survey Dashboard enhancements

An enhanced version of the Lab Survey Dashboard, a resource vital to campus safety and the Laboratory Safety Initiative, was launched on November 14. The enhanced Dashboard has portals for scientific department chairs, deans and UW executives that allow them (or their designee) to review safety performance data for their units.

Members of the research community are invited to use this tool as part of a renewed commitment to improving the culture of safety for all academic research and teaching laboratories. The Dashboard encourages increased discussions to enhance a shared vision of safety and provides information to increase the ability to support and oversee laboratories with unsatisfactory safety performance.

Due to the confidential nature of the information on the Dashboard, access is restricted (but chairs and deans may delegate access to others). UW executives, scientific deans and chairs, and their delegates may now view the safety performance ratings for schools, colleges, departments and individual PIs, as well as see reports on deficiency findings. Executives also have access to University-wide laboratory safety data trends.

The original version of the Dashboard, which debuted in 2015, had a portal for principal investigators to view their lab’s latest lab safety survey report, respond to deficiencies cited, record corrections and view their lab safety rating, as well as view previous survey reports.

For questions or feedback about the Dashboard, please contact Mark Murray,

Food Safety Tips for the Holidays

According to Public Health — Seattle & King County, as much as 60% of foodborne illness may come from cooking at home.

During the holidays, take these important safety precautions to avoid giving the gift of sickness to your guests (or yourself):

Safety precaution #1: Wash your hands

  • Before touching utensils (e.g., knives, cutting boards, pans)
  • Before you touch food that will not be cooked (e.g., salad, fruit)
  • After going to the bathroom
  • After touching raw meat, fish or poultry
  • After taking out the garbage, sneezing or coughing

Safety precaution #2: Keep foods safe from cross-contamination

Cross-contamination happens when germs from uncooked or unclean foods gets onto foods that will not be cooked before eating.

Safety precaution #3: Cool foods properly

Not cooling food the right way is the biggest cause of foodborne illness.

  • If food has been sitting at room temperature (in the "danger zone") for up to 2 hours, refrigerate it or reheat it.
  • After food has been sitting out for 2 to 4 hours, throw it out.
  • Do not cover hot food until it has cooled to 41° F or below.

Safety precaution #4: Heat foods to the proper temperature

Move foods quickly through "THE DANGER ZONE", the temperature range where germs can grow most quickly and easily. Your job is to get foods through the "danger zone" as quickly as possible by cooking, cooling, or reheating in the right way.

Workplace Safety in the Holiday Season

As the end of the year quickly approaches, we are often preoccupied with holiday planning, year-end deadlines and work commitments. As a result, many employers see an increase in workplace injuries just before and after the holiday season.

EH&S reminds the UW community to be mindful and maintain your focus on safety at all times, especially during the holiday season.

Be mindful while working.

Eliminate as many distractions as possible:

  • Plan enough time to complete your tasks or research experiments safely.
  • Avoid rushing.

These tips are particularly important when working with hazardous materials, sharp devices and powered equipment.

Walk safely through campus.

Slips, trips, and falls continue to be one of the most common causes of accidents reported at the UW.

  • Wear shoes with good traction.
  • Be cautious, especially on wet surfaces and stairs, and use hand rails.
  • Allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
  • Avoid using mobile devices while walking.

Manage your stress level.

The holidays can be a stressful time. Minimize stress by:

  • Reaching out for support
  • Making time for yourself
  • Being aware and mindful during your daily activities
  • Exercising
  • Practicing healthy eating and sleeping habits

Wash your hands.

With colder weather, we are more inclined to stay indoors. And with more people in shared spaces, washing your hands can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds.

Drive safely.

Prepare your car before the cold weather hits by checking your tire tread, antifreeze levels, and radiator. Keep supplies in your car in case you become stranded while driving.

Allow more time for travel than you would during good weather. Drive slowly and cautiously through campus and be aware of pedestrians and bicyclists.

Take care when decorating.

Whether you are hanging decorations in your home or office, prevent injuries by using step stools or the appropriate ladder. Never climb or stand on furniture. If hanging lights or electronic decorations, keep cords out of the way to prevent slip and trip injuries.

See the EH&S Fire Prevention website for more information on holiday decorations and fire prevention.

Information used for this article and more holiday health and safety tips are available at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Holiday Health and Safety Tips website.

We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday!