Revised Policy on Inter-campus Transport of Biological Materials
by Christopher Aston, Manager of Biological Safety Programs
EH&S and the Office of Risk Management recently revised the University policy for the inter-campus transport of biological materials by researchers. With the opening of the Jerome L. Green Science Center fast approaching and the nature of its extensive collaborations with investigators on the Morningside and Medical Center campuses, there was a recognized need to offer a pragmatic approach to investigator-mediated inter-campus transport. The policy revisions aim to support these collaborations with enhanced transport options.
The revised policy permits certain specific classifications of biological materials with low or no risk that are NOT classified as hazardous materials/dangerous goods by the Department of Transportation to be transported in University-owned or contracted vehicles/shuttle buses, licensed taxi cabs or personal vehicles (but NOT on public transport such as MTA buses and subways).
The policy requires that the same practices apply to preparing a package for inter-campus transport as one prepared for transport by a professional courier such as FedEx. This includes the requirement that biological materials are triple performance packaged and pose no hazard to other passengers even if the package should break open in transit. Dry ice should be enclosed in a Styrofoam container, and never in airtight vessels. Furthermore, a training and certification course must be taken prior to transporting any materials between campuses. The applicable RASCAL training center course is TC0076 - Shipping with Dry Ice, Exempt Specimens and Excepted Quantities of Dangerous Goods.
For a full description of the policy visit http://www.ehs.columbia.edu/Intercampus.html. Our Biological Materials Shipping Manual is also a valuable resource (http://ehs.columbia.edu/BiologicalMaterialsShippingManual.pdf). If you have any questions, please contact a biosafety officer (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Using an Open Flame? Be Careful!
by Andrew J. Patterson, Associate Fire Safety Officer
When working with an open flame, whether a torch or a Bunsen burner, it is important to exercise extreme caution. Careless use of open flames can quickly lead to a fire resulting in serious personal and property damage, and untold consequences to a laboratory’s research operations. There are some simple precautions that you can take to help prevent these events from occurring. Here are just a few:
- Secure loose clothing and long hair;
- Remove flammable or combustible liquids, gases and materials from the area of the open flame;
- Ensure that there are no combustibles or other materials that can ignite in the work area, including ABOVE the open flame;
- Be knowledgeable of the equipment you are using;
- NEVER leave an open flame unattended.
In the event that a fire does happen, remember the fire safety acronyms RACE and PASS and always call Public Safety, from a safe location, to report a fire or smoke condition.