Insights and updates from Safety Partners

June Deadline for MWRA Wastewater Sampling!

For Category 2 MWRA permit holders, semi-annual wastewater sampling for the January through June sampling period must be conducted by June 30th.  Reports, including pH and flow logs, are due by July 31st.

Even though the sampling results are sent directly to the MWRA by the analytical testing laboratory using the MWRA’s electronic reporting system, permit holders are responsible for reviewing the results and notifying the MWRA of any issues of non-compliance.

If the sampling results show that any regulated chemicals are detected above the discharge limits specified in the facility’s permit or the Sewer Use Regulations (360 CMR 10), the MWRA must be notified within 24 hours of becoming aware of the violation. 360 CMR 10.024 specifies the specific daily maximum discharge limitations for regulated pollutants including formaldehyde, cyanide, phenol, specific metals, and listed toxic organics for both the Metropolitan Sewerage Service Area and the Clinton Sewerage Service Area.

If a violation is identified, the […]

June is National Safety Month!

This June is the 25th anniversary of National Safety Month, an annual observance organized by the National Safety Council (NSC) to stress the importance of safety in and outside of the workplace. This is a great opportunity to raise awareness about the value of safety at your facility!

This is what is planned for this year’s event:

Week 1, Prevent Incidents Before They Start: The focus is on the importance of identifying risks and taking proactive safety measures to reduce exposure and adverse outcomes to create a safe workplace. Topics include hazard communication, electrical safety, ergonomics, and chemical management.

Week 2, Address Ongoing COVID-19 Safety Concerns: Topics are directed at the important role employers play in the return to physical workspaces, including building trust around vaccines, recognizing the importance of employee mental health, and trends for the future world of work.

Week 3, It’s Vital to Feel Safe on the Job: Emphasis is on the importance of being able to […]

The OSHA Lab Standard and the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard: Which Standard Applies in Your Workplace?

It’s not always straightforward to determine if the OSHA Lab Standard or the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard applies at a given facility. Often it’s either one standard or the other, but in some cases, both standards will apply. Making the correct determination is critical as it dictates the type of written safety manual that has to be in place (Hazard Communication Program vs. Chemical Hygiene Plan), the required content of the safety training, and other essential aspects of safety program implementation.

Background on the Standards

The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200), or Hazcom Standard, was published in 1983 to cover chemical use in manufacturing industries. In 1987 it was amended to apply to all industries where employees are exposed to hazardous chemicals. It was updated again in 2012 to align with the third revision of the UN Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. More recently, in February 2021, […]

June Events in Biotech

We’re excited to share these upcoming events in June. We hope to see you at one of these events:

HubCures Series

Upcoming MassBio Events

Upcoming WEST Webinars
Upcoming NSTC Events

Risk Groups and Biosafety Levels: Understanding the Differences

It’s often assumed that a biological agent’s risk group (RG) and the biosafety level at which it should be handled are synonymous, when in fact this is not always the case. In addition to an agent’s risk group, there are many other factors to consider when designating a biosafety level for a biological agent.

Risk group describes the relative risk to the individual and the environment by the organism. There are four risk group classifications described in the NIH Guidelines and in the World Health Organization’s Laboratory Biosafety Manual:

  • Risk Group 1 agents are not associated with disease in healthy adults
  • Risk Group 2 agents are associated with human disease that is rarely serious and for which preventative or therapeutic interventions are often available
  • Risk Group 3 agents are associated with serious or lethal human disease for which preventative or therapeutic interventions may be available
  • Risk Group 4 agents are likely to […]

May is National Electrical Safety Month

May is National Electrical Safety Month! This annual campaign is sponsored by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) to provide education and awareness about the steps that can be taken in order to reduce the number of electrically related fires, fatalities, injuries, and property loss. This is a great time to raise awareness about electrical hazards in your workplace.

In laboratories, in particular, there can be an elevated risk of electrical fires and electrical shock due to the many types of electrical equipment used including vacuum pumps, electrophoresis devices, hot plates, heating mantles, centrifuges, UV lamps, refrigerators, and freezers. This equipment can pose a significant electrical hazard if not properly used and maintained.

Laboratory employees should be trained on the risks associated with electrically energized equipment including the importance of adhering to the following practices:

  • Inspect equipment cords before each use; replace any frayed or damaged cords immediately
  • Use only equipment with three prongs (ground […]

Returning to Work – We’ve Been Here the Whole Time!

In this new quarterly blog series, our President and COO, Jennifer Reilly, will share her insights and updates in the life sciences industry from a safety perspective. In this quarter’s blog, gain insight into how Safety Partners managed through a pandemic and what you can learn from our experience as you start to return to work:

A couple of weeks ago there were several key updates related to lifting many COVID-19 restrictions in MA.  Last week we were able to remove face coverings when outside in public when we can socially distance.

More recreation opportunities will be possible with the opening of amusement, theme, and water parks at 50% capacity along with road races and other outdoor athletic events.  Although there will still be some approved health and safety protocols in place, it is exciting to continue to move toward returning and reopening what looks like what will be our “new normal” by August.

Many articles and […]

May Events in Biotech

We’re excited to share these upcoming events in May. We hope to see you at one of these events:

Hub Cures Series

Upcoming Safety Partners Events
Upcoming MassBio Events

National Work Zone Awareness Week 2021

This year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) is taking place April 26-30.  The theme is Drive Safe. Work Safe. Save Lives

NWZAW is a nation-wide event sponsored by partnerships between state departments of transportation (DOT), national road safety organizations, government agencies, private companies, and individuals.

Work zones play a critical role in maintaining and upgrading our nation’s roadways. They separate construction and maintenance activities from traffic, providing a safe route for all road users (motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists) and a safe area for workers. However, as seen from National Highway Administration (FHWA) data, work zone-related changes in traffic patterns and rights of way, combined with the presence of workers, and the frequent movement of work vehicles results in an increased incidence of crashes, injuries, and fatalities.

What are the goals of NWZAW?

This annual spring campaign encourages safe driving through roadway work zones. The goals of NWZAW include:

  • Highlighting the deadly dangers of inattention at roadway […]

Earth Day is April 22: Your Company’s Environmental Impact

Earth Day is April 22! Do you have anything planned? It is a great time for employee engagement and there are many activities that can be organized such as a volunteer day for picking up trash in the community, scheduling learning sessions on environmentally friendly practices like composting, holding a company-wide donation or fundraising event, or maybe even holding a contest or game about recycling.

Long term though, it is also a good time to look at your company’s environmental impact and think of ways to minimize that impact. This will not only help the environment but will also increase employee morale and reduce company costs!

Where can you start?

A good starting point is to look at your current practices and to start small. Here are some ideas to get you started, that we’ve implemented at Safety Partners.

  • Engage your employees

Talk to employees and co-workers. They may already have lots of great ideas that they have […]