Consolidating Waste – programs that is for Radiation and Chemical disposal by Christopher Pettinato

With the integration of the EH&S and RSO departments, of prime importance is restructuring of the   radioactive waste management programs. Under the new structure, Lauren Kelly, who has been proficiently managing the chemical waste program for the past 4 years with EH&S, has been promoted to Manager, Hazardous Materials Program (Congratulations Lauren!).  Under Lauren’s direction, the chemical and radioactive waste management programs will be merged to ensure the delivery of a comprehensive service and educational program to the University community.  The changes will focus on enhancing the  laboratory’s experience in managing these wastes by ensuring EH&S’s usual proactive approach is consistently applied.  Some specific changes that are in process include an on-line radioactive waste pick-up request form so labs do not need to hand deliver requests to the RSO, more effective waste labels to help the labs meet compliance requirements and help EH&S make better and more cost efficient waste disposal decisions, and improved training and guidance information regarding waste handling and segregation.  We encourage your suggestions on improving these services, so please feel free to call Lauren (305-6780) or email her (lk2292@columbia.edu) your suggestions. 


Someone’s Always Watching: Will You Be Ready? by Paul Rubock

A paranoid fantasy. No, rather a reflection of the reality that numerous governmental entities have a regulatory voice in our health and safety operations, particularly as they pertain to research laboratories.  With increasing frequency, agencies’’ compliance checks are conducted through on-site inspections, usually unannounced.  Inspectors invariably focus on various forms of documentation to assess health and safety compliance. Two notable recent examples: Recently the New York City Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) came to the CUMC campus and asked for chemical inventories in the Facilities Operations department and from several laboratories. He also assessed the areas visited for proper storage and segregation of hazardous chemicals.  In all cases, the appropriate documentation was provided and no findings resulted from the inspection.  Laboratories are reminded of the requirement to compile a hazardous chemical inventory and update it annually.  On the Morningside campus the system is largely automated by the ChemTracker system. At CUMC, laboratories must provide their inventories in the appropriate section of EH&S’s Attachment 1, http://www.ehs.columbia.edu/a1.pdf and forward it to their lab’s Safety Officer

The Federal Aviation Authority inspects shipping to determine compliance with regulations for the shipment of Dangerous
Goods-anything capable of causing personal, environmental, or property damage as a result being improperly packaged and transported.  The foundation of establishing compliance with shipping regulations is training on Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations­. EH&S provides shipping training for infectious materials and dry ice on RASCAL; anyone involved in preparing such shipments must be up to date on these triennial trainings.  All shipments of sealed source radioactive materials must be done through the Radiation Safety Office whose personnel have received the required DOT training. For any and all shipping questions, contact EH&S.  By the way, FAA penalties could be as high as $35,000 per individual violation, including errors made in filling out the documentation that accompanies Dangerous Goods shipments.

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