Be Prepared by Lauren Kelly
Although EH&S would never define a spill as “good”, we will say that how an individual responds in the critical moments immediately following a spill can prevent a spill from being really bad. The importance of being prepared for the types of emergencies that can happen cannot be emphasized enough. There have been several spills over the past few months which could have evolved into significant incidents had lab personnel not taken immediate action. Whether ones preparedness knowledge has developed from attendance at Laboratory Safety training, regular review of the EH&S website, or the Emergency Response and Waste Disposal Guide (aka “EH&S Wall Guide”, which is hung in your lab near the door or phone) or a combination of sources, what is most important is that personnel become thoroughly fa-miliar with emergency preparedness and be able to act quickly and appropriately when faced with an emergency.
One of the most critical decision points in an emergency is who to contact and when. For any incident involving biological, chemical or radioactive materials, EH&S should be at the top of your call list, along with Public Safety, and that communication should be immediate. Communication should be done verbally, not via email, and if you do not reach someone immediately, you should always proceed to the next name/number on your call list. Information regarding any injury should be the first priority so emergency medical services can be dispatched if needed, along with the location, nature of the incident (for example, fire, spill, bodily contamination), the substance involved and a telephone number where you can be reached. Remember, it is important that someone with knowledge of the incident remain at a safe location on scene to provide further information to first responders.
Your personal safety must not be left chance. Take charge of your safety and be prepared!
Laser hazards and precautions by Terrence Jaimungal
|Laser is an acronym for Light Amplified by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A Laser is a device that creates and amplifies a narrow, intense beam of coherent light. Lasers range in size from semiconductor to solid-state and gas lasers. There are many applications of lasers in basic science research, surgery and diagnostic techniques, telecommunications, entertainment, industrial applications and military and law enforcement.
Laser use can create intense concentrations of heat, ultraviolet, infrared, and reflected light radiation. Unprotected laser exposure may result in an eye injury including retinal burns, cataracts, and permanent blindness. Appropriate eye protection must be used at all times. Many laboratories at Columbia University have lasers which are used routinely for research. EH&S has developed a Laser Safety Program which involves registration of newly purchased or modified lasers, safe use guidelines, and training. All laboratory personnel using lasers at the University are required to attend training live or via RASCAL http://www.ehs.columbia.edu/Training.html
October is Fire Prevention month, remember to change the batteries in your smoke detector when you change your clock with daylight saving time.
Please review your fire safety plans at home as well as at work. For more fire safety information visit the following FDNY website: http://www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/html/safety/fire_safety_downloads.shtml