New Certificate of Fitness (C-14)  Study Material & Renewal Procedures  by John LaPerche

With the new New York City Fire Code now in place, the FDNY Certificate of Fitness Unit has updated the study material for the C-14 Certificate of Fitness Exam for Supervising Non-Production Chemical Laboratories.  New study material is available on the FDNY website: http://www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/pdf/cof_study_material/new_c_14_st_mat.pdf.

The new study material is 72 pages and far more detailed than the previous material; it explains the differences between the “pre-existing” and the “new” code, increased focus on safety issues, pictures of common laboratory hazards, and tables of permitted amounts of various liquids and gases.  All applicants for the new C-14 must be thoroughly familiar with this material in order to pass the test.

Renewals Procedures have also changed.  EH&S will continue to process and pay for C-14 renewals.  When your Certificate is up for renewal, EH&S will send an email a copy of the New C-14 Study Material and a Renewal Form.  In order to be processed, the Renewal Form MUST be emailed, scanned or faxed back to EH&S.  If your Renewal form is not received, it cannot be processed.  (Please note - you may also receive a Renewal form in the mail from FDNY; these forms can be disregarded because the renewal process will be managed by EH&S) .

Please renew early!  Renewals past the expiration date WILL NOT be processed by EH&S.  Late fees of $25.00 apply for late renewals and after 1 year, applicants must retake the C-14 test at FDNY Headquarters at Metrotech Center in Brooklyn.  For any questions concerning Certificate of Fitness, please refer to the EH&S website or email Fire Safety at: fire-life@columbia.edu

EPA issues Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb Clean-Up Guidelines  by James Kaznosky

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are quickly becoming the preferred replacement for incandescent bulbs; they save both energy and money.  One environmental tradeoff to using the energy efficient CFL however, is the presence of up to 4mg of mercury in each lamp.  When a fluorescent bulb breaks in your office, dorm, or apartment, some mercury vapor can be released. To minimize exposure to mercury vapor, the EPA has issued guidance addressing cleanup and disposal of broken CFLs.

If a CFL (or any fluorescent lamp) should break, clear the room for 5-10 minutes, open a window, and shut down any window air conditioning units or fans that may be in operation.  The broken lamp and visible white powder (mercury and phosphor) require proper cleanup and disposal.   The EPA recommends using industrial tape, moist paper towels, and stiff paper or cardboard to aid in cleanup but advises against the use of vacuum cleaners.   A sealable container or sealable plastic bag should be used to contain the debris. 

  • Use the cardboard or stiff paper to corral the larger pieces of glass into the container or bag.  Bare hands should never be used to pickup broken glass of any sort. 
  • Industrial tape, such as duct tape, can be used to pick up the finer particles of glass and powder. 
  • Use a moist paper towel for a final sweep over the affected area. 
  • Place all debris in the sealable container and follow the instructions below for disposal.

 If the breakage occurred on campus, the debris can be given to Facilities for proper disposal through EH&S.  If the breakage occurred in a dorm or in other Columbia University Residential housing, the debris can be given to the superintendent or Columbia Residential Operations Facilities staffing the building for proper disposal through EH&S.  For detailed information, including how to handle such situations in non-Columbia settings, please consult the EPA’s web page on CFLs, which can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/cfl/cflcleanup.html

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