Spring 2011

Inside this issue :


Working Safe and Smart in Machine Shops
Controlled Substances Program – Update
Vacation Fire & Emergency Safety Tips
Working with Recombinant DNA
Tracking Chemical Lecture Bottles:
Some Clarity on Aldehydes Used as Biological Fixatives
Health and Safety Manual
Inspectors Are Coming to a Waste Container Near You
Waste Pickup Service Schedule Change, MS Campus
Alcohol + Flame = Trouble
How to Read a Radiation Dosimetry Report
Columbia Hosts Emergency Preparedness Exercise

Health & Safety


Medical Center
6o1 West 168th Street,
Suite 63 New York, NY 10032 Phone: (212) 305-6780

Morningside Campus
S.W. Mudd Building,
Suite 350 New York, NY 10027
Phone: (212) 854-8749

Medical Center RSO
Allan Rosenfield Bldg. 4th Fl.
New York, NY 10032
Phone: (212) 305-0303

Working Safe and Smart in Machine Shops by James Kaznosky

A tragic recent incident at Yale University serves as a powerful reminder that personal safety must be your top priority when working in laboratories or shops at Columbia. The Yale student, reported to have been working alone in a machine shop, died as a result of her injuries when her hair was caught and pulled into a lathe, a machine that has powerful rotating mechanical parts integral to its function of shaping metal or wood.  .  

While further investigations into the specific circumstances of this incident are ongoing, please always remember that power tools and machinery can be dangerous when not used properly.  Working safely is the first thing a user or operator should learn - the safe way is the correct and only way to work.  Always follow these general safety measures when working with machine shop tools/equipment:   

  • Equipment or machinery should never be used until the user is trained and familiar with its safe operation.  Consult the shop or lab manager and manufacturer’s manual BEFORE working with unfamiliar equipment for specific operating and safety procedures.  If there is something you do not understand, ask questions.  If you do not get it, chances are some of your colleagues would also benefit from a more detailed explanation.
  • Never work alone.  Always use the “buddy system” when working in any machine shop.
  • Restrain hair & loose fitting clothing and secure or remove dangling ID badges & jewelry (watches, rings, bracelets).  Keep this in mind when working around open containers of any type of hazardous materials.
  • Always wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for the task at hand, such as eye, ear, hand, and foot protection. 
  • Always use the equipment’s shields, guards, or other engineering controls. Never remove or disable shields, machine guards, or safety devices.
  • Keep hands and body clear when operating or working near machines with moving parts.
  • Never power-up equipment that is not or may not be working properly. Check with a shop manager or your supervisor if you are uncertain.

Controlled Substances Program – Update by Christopher Pitoscia

On February 1, 2011, new University Purchasing requirements went into effect for the procurement of controlled substances.   Controlled substance orders will not be processed unless accompanied by a copy of the purchaser’s DEA registration, NYSDOH license and a current copy of the purchaser’s training certificate for RASCAL course code TC0502.  Users of controlled substances are responsible for compliance with all applicable state and federal regulations, as well as University policies, including proper recordkeeping (receipt, inventory and use logs), training, storage and security, and proper disposal of unused materials.  Please see the link below for further information, including recordkeeping templates and procurement resources.

Tracking Chemical Lecture Bottles:
In our continuing effort to maintain an accurate inventory of all hazardous materials used in the laboratories, EH&S has added lecture bottles to the list of items that must be tracked and bar-coded using our Chemical Tracking System.  EH&S will also retroactively bar-code all existing lecture bottles, so if you have them present in your laboratory or need additional information, please email chemtracker@columbia.edu.

Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6

Go to Top
Go to EH&S Home Page