Spring 2011

Inside this issue :


New Trainings Linked to Protocol Approval
Summer in the City
Are You Shipshape?
Ergonomic Computer Workshop
The Simple Rule of 5
Hidden Heavy Metal Waste Hazards
Who You Gonna Call for Emergencies…Public Safety
ChemTracker System Integration with Laboratories
The Air We Breathe
OSHA Publishes New Hazard Communication Standard
Radioactive Waste Detection


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

New Trainings Linked to Protocol Approval by Christopher Aston

As research advances are made, new procedures to protect laboratory personnel from potential hazards are needed. Accordingly, EH&S is pleased to offer two new online training courses through Rascal on Viral Vector Biosafety (TC1150) and Recombinant DNA (TC0508). These courses will be associated with the relevant Rascal Appendices: Recombinant DNA (Appendix A), and Viral Vector Biosafety (Appendix B) and will be mandatory for all investigators and their staff submitting new or renewal protocols that employ recombinant DNA or viral vectors.

Researchers properly trained on these and other safety procedures are better prepared to prevent an incident in the workplace through an understanding of the need to follow standard operating procedures, and thus learn how to respond quickly if presented with a dangerous situation. An effective safety training program can reduce the number of injuries and deaths, illnesses, workers' compensation claims, and missed time from work. Safety training is the key element in the prevention of work-related injuries.

Summer in the City by Maytal Rand

Summer heat typically evokes thoughts of shorts and sandals. And while summer attire is fine for the beach, park or walking around campus, it is not appropriate in a laboratory setting. In following a commonsense approach to appropriate laboratory attire, Columbia University policy specifies that all exposed skin, as well as the eyes, must be protected while working with or in the proximity of hazardous materials – including chemicals (solid, liquid or gas), potentially infectious materials or radioactive materials – that could conceivably result in an accidental exposure. Protection is accomplished through a combination of personal attire and personal protective equipment (PPE), such as closed-toe shoes, long pants, lab coat, safety glasses/goggles and/or face shield, coupled with engineering controls, such as a chemical fume hood or biological safety cabinet.
Personal comfort plays a significant role in the attire we choose, but when it comes to work with or around hazardous materials, personal comfort is trumped by personal safety. That< said, your attire of choice can still be worn to and from work. Simply bring or leave an extra pair of closed-toe shoes and long pants at work for you to change into each day while in the laboratory. With a little advance planning you can be ready to enjoy all that summer has to offer!

The FDNY Laboratory Top violations

The FDNY Laboratory Unit performs regular, weekly inspections in all chemical laboratories across Columbia University's New York City campuses, and has the authority to issue Violation Orders or Notices of Violation for non-compliance with code requirements. All laboratories in NYC require a FDNY permit to operate; these permits are renewed each year after the FDNY annual inspection, and will be withheld until all open violations have been corrected.

Top violations

  • Certificate of Fitness – (C-14 )
  • Chemical Stored Improperly
  • Extension Cord Misuse

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