Environmental Health & Safety and CUMC’s Radiation Safety Office Join Forces by Kathleen Crowley and Christopher Pettinato
As announced on January 7th, 2010, the operations of the CUMC Radiation Safety Office (RSO) and Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) were integrated to form one department responsible for providing comprehensive health and safety services to the University community. Under the leadership of Kathleen Crowley, who has lead EH&S for 10 years and successfully merged the Morningside and CUMC EH&S department in 2005, the University community now has consistency in the application of University policies and governmental regulations and better coordination of our radiation safety programs and the delivery of services to investigators.
“Our Vision, remains clear”, says Crowley: We provide expert guidance and timely service to the University Community through our commitment to health and safety . Employing best practices and collaboration, and by building long term relationships, we promote a productive and safety conscious work environment.
“Without question, the University and medical center community will benefit from this integration. We have already begun to evaluate the service models for each of our core programs and will begin implementing improvements in the delivery of services as we move to assimilate the best practices of the two departments,”
George Hamawy, who has been the Radiation Safety Officer for Morningside, Lamont-Doherty and Nevis Laboratories for the past 15 years, now serves as the University’s Chief Radiation Safety Officer and will play a key role in ensuring we maintain the highest standards for radiation safety services. Additionally, Chris Pettinato, Executive Director, will help manage EH&S operations throughout the integration and beyond.
While it is uncertain if there will be yet another department name change in EH&S’ future, what is certain is regardless of the name, our commitment to health & safety remains constant.
The CUMC Radiation Safety Office URL is http://ehs.columbia.edu/RadiationSafetyMC.html.
Liquid Nitrogen-What’s That Hissing Sound? by Neil Mansky
The liquid--to--gas conversion rate in a commercial liquid nitrogen (LN) tank is about 2.3% per day. Bulk-volume liquid nitrogen tanks are designed to function with little or no internal pressure. To dissipate this pressure all containers have a pressure relief valve to allow for the slow release of vaporized nitrogen. Hearing a slight hiss from a LN tank’s pressure relief valve is normal and no attempts should be made to stopper or plug the opening, as this could dangerously pressurize the tank. If you believe your tank does have a leak problem, contact the vendor immediately. Contrary to popular belief, storage of LN in cold rooms will not slow down the liquid-to-gas conversion. LN cylinders must always be stored in well ventilated areas. And while the accumulation of ice on some of the lines is normal, users must also ensure that such frosting does not obstruct any vent lines.
** The ChemTracker system (CTS) Random Audit finished in March, 2010
Audit results will be distributed to PIs shortly