Insights

Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire!

dumpster on fire

According to a report published by the NFPA in 2019, smoking was the leading cause of home fire deaths for the five year period reviewed.

Smoking can also result in serious fires in the workplace, often the result of improperly discarded cigarettes.

Fire Prevention Week (FPW) (and throughout October’s Fire Prevention Month), is a great time to remind employees about your workplace smoking policy, including the importance of using designated smoking areas located a safe distance from the building (and using them even during the colder months!).

“A Dumpster Story” featured in Incidents, Accidents, and Near Misses in Laboratory Research, Volume 2, tells a real-life story about what can happen when No Smoking rules aren’t followed! Read on to learn what happens:

I’m pretty much screwed. I sat there in the construction trailer. I didn’t have to guess what was about to happen.

“Marcellus. […]

October 4th – 10th is Fire Prevention Week!

This year’s Fire Prevention Week (FPW) campaign theme is “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!™”.
 
The goal is to educate everyone about the simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves, and those around them, safe in the kitchen.
 
An FPW toolkit is available that has everything you need to promote the campaign at your organization, from safety tips sheets to printable activities, logos, and more!
 
Did you know that cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries? […]

Selecting the Right Enclosure for Your Laboratory

Vented or ductless enclosures are some of the most important tools in the laboratory for controlling exposure.

In this article, we’re going to teach you how to select the right enclosure for your laboratory, using expertise from our consulting safety officers.

Selecting the appropriate enclosure for the work being conducted is extremely important for employee safety and is a task that requires more review and assessment than one might initially think.

There are many types of enclosures available, including ventilated balance enclosures (VBEs), glove boxes, downdraft tables, and ductless fume hoods.

First and foremost, you must take into consideration the hazards of the material being used.

  • Is it a potent compound?
  • Is it an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API)?
  • Maybe it’s simply a particularly hazardous stock chemical?

The first step in the selection process is to review the safety data sheets (SDS) or other safety information documents available for the material being used to determine the hazards involved.

Vendors can also […]

Is Your Facility Prepared for an Emergency?

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM)! NPM is recognized each September to promote family and community disaster planning now and throughout the year.

The 2020 theme is Disasters Don’t Wait- Make your Plan Today.

The same principles promoted for NPM apply to prepare for workplace emergencies. Specifically, starting with an up-to-date Emergency Action Plan!

Emergency Action Plans and Contingency Plans are required by various regulations, including  OSHA 29 CFR 1910.38 and 157, Massachusetts Comprehensive Fire Safety Code 527 CMR 1.0, and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection 310 CMR 30.000.

It’s important to know if your facility is required to have an Emergency Action Plan or a Contingency Plan because regulators will look for the appropriate implementation during inspections.

All employees must have access to the written Plan and be trained on it. It’s critical that everyone be well-versed in proper response procedures should an incident occur! It’s good practice to hold drills for the […]

MassDEP Hazardous Waste Management Guidance During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) recently amended its April 8, 2020 Hazardous Waste Management Guidance During the State of Emergency for the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Effective August 26, 2020, MassDEP is implementing the following amended guidance resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic for the items noted below related to hazardous waste management. Learn what you need to do in order to comply with the new regulation:

  • Compliance with hazardous waste container and tank inspection requirements for Small Quantity Generator (SQG) and Large Quantity Generator (LQG) facilities (described at 310 CMR 30.686 and 30.696, respectively) if the facility is closed during the State of Emergency- A facility that is normally subject to container and tank inspection requirements but is closed during the State of Emergency, should make every reasonable effort to do applicable daily/weekly inspections. If employers have concerns about having their employees onsite to do the inspections, then they should contact the DEP at […]

Ventilation in the Time of COVID-19

In our last Industrial Hygiene blog, Airflow in the Laboratory, we discussed the importance of evaluating the airflow of a lab as a whole, and that there’s no one magic ACH (Air Change per Hour) number that automatically makes the lab safer.

With the recent discussion around the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the role that airborne transmission may play, this subject has now reached mainstream media. So should indoor spaces such as labs and offices increase their air changes? And can we treat the air to make it safer?

Everyone is looking for a way back to “normal” and assessment of the ventilation in a space is one key factor to consider.

Case Study: The First Evidence of Airborne Transmission

The first evidence of airborne transmission was from a restaurant in Guangzhou, China. One patron was positive for COVID-19, and became the index case-patient, infecting 9 other customers. These customers were not necessarily closer in proximity to the […]

Protect Your Eyes from Blue Light

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, Prevent Blindness has deemed March as Workplace Eye Wellness Month. This non-profit organization is currently promoting awareness about the dangers of blue light exposure from computers, televisions, and device screens including smartphones and tablet screens. Recent studies suggest that long-term exposure to the blue light emitted from these screens can cause digital eye strain with eye fatigue and dry eyes that can in some cases lead to eye problems like macular degeneration from damage to the cornea.

The largest source of blue light is sunlight. However, there is concern over the long-term effects of screen exposure because of the close proximity of the screens and the length of time spent looking at them, both during the workday and after.

So what can you do to protect your eyes from blue light?

  1. Screen time:Try to decrease the amount of time spent in front of screens and/or take frequent breaks to […]

OSHA’s Annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls

OSHA’s 7th annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls will be taking place during the week of September 14th – 18th, 2020This is a voluntary event meant to raise fall hazard awareness across the country to stop fall fatalities and injuries.
 
OSHA encourages all employers where fall hazards might exist to take part, despite the fact its geared toward the construction industry.
 
OSHA is partnering with key groups to assist with this effort. These include the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), and the […]

August 27th, 2020|Categories: Insights|Tags: , |

Keys to A Successful Lab Move

 

A Primer on Moving Out Webinar: Key Takeaways

This week we participated in and moderated a panel discussion webinar called A Primer on Moving Out, where industry experts shared their insights on the key factors that make a successful move to a new lab space possible. We enjoyed spending time with hundreds of you on the call!

In this 45 minute webinar, we covered how we plan a successful move, from a real estate broker, project manager, architect, employee health safety, and construction perspective.

We even took into consideration what our experience with moving in our current COVID-19 climate has looked like.

Some of your key takeaways, and questions to ask yourself at the start of the move from your incubator space, are:

  • Knowing or planning for the equipment you will need for specialty utilities and
    understanding what long lead time items are.
  • Being sure to create as comprehensive an equipment list as possible to design and construct optimal space.

Ask yourself:

  • What are you doing in […]
August 20th, 2020|Categories: Insights|

OSHA Safe + Sound Week: Never Underestimate the Importance of Fall Protection

To honor OSHA’s 2020 Safe+Sound Week we are sharing another story from our recently released Incidents, Accidents, and Near Misses in Lab Research, Vol. 5.  

Violations related to fall protection have been #1 on OSHA’s top 10 most cited violations list for 9 consecutive years.

An excerpt from Incidents, Accidents, and Near Misses in Lab Research, Vol. 5

Never Underestimate the Importance of Fall Protection

It was the day before Thanksgiving. I was looking forward to having a few days off to hang out with my family, relax, and eat delicious food. I was doing some last-minute measurements for a new pH pit at work. The pit is essentially a tank that holds wastewater while the pH is adjusted to a neutral level, before it can be drained back into the municipal water system. I was measuring the old pit, so that we would know what kind of capacity we would need for the new one. It was a simple task that would take only a […]