Effective July 1, 2008 New York City launched a new Building Code and a new Fire Code. The new Fire Code has some rule changes that will affect the storage, handling and use of chemicals in the laboratory and in chemical storage rooms. The FDNY Inspector has informed us that these new codes will start to be enforced this fall.
One of the most notable changes concerns the number of required Certificate of Fitness (COF) – C-14 holders. The old code required one COF holder per floor when any lab was in operation, but the new Fire Code requires one per lab unit when the laboratory is in operation. Each lab will be required to have at least one Certificate of Fitness holder present when the lab is in operation (including evenings, nights, weekends and holidays). To acquire a Certificate of Fitness please visit our website at http://ehs.columbia.edu/fs.html.
Other changes from the new Fire Code include:
EH&S continues to meet with the FDNY Deputy Chief Inspector of Laboratory Units to get further clarification of these new rules. For any questions concerning the new Fire Code or any laboratory fire/life safety issues please email: email@example.com
BackgroundFor five years, (2000 – 2004) EPA maintained a high profile in colleges and universities in Region 2 (New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands) performing inspections primarily focused on hazardous materials/waste management. During that period, EPA assessed (after negotiated settlement agreements) close to $4 million in penalties to those and universities subjected to their unannounced enforcement inspections (http://www.epa.gov/region02/p2/college/). Since 2004, the Lamont and Morningside campuses have been operating under the structure of an EPA-mandated Environmental Management System (EMS). The EMS provides the framework for the University’s environmental compliance commitments with a goal of continuous improvement. As part of the EMS, policies, procedures and guidance on proper practices have been developed for all of Columbia’s campuses to assist in meeting compliance obligations.
The University performs periodical internal evaluations of its environmental programs. This fall, the University is also planning a multi-campus environmental program review by an external consultant. As the summer wanes, please take a few minutes to review your environmental performance in relation to the EMS and its components, particularly in the areas of chemical handling and hazardous waste management.
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