The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has finally revised the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200, to align with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The revised standard will improve the quality and consistency of hazard information, making it easier for employers to communicate with employees regarding chemical hazards by providing easily understandable information on appropriate handling and safe use of hazardous chemicals. Major changes to the Hazard Communication Standard include:
To comply with OSHA's training requirement, EH&S has already begun incorporating these changes into the Laboratory Safety and Chemical Hygiene training program, which will introduce new employees to these changes as well as to employees attending during biannual refresher training. Laboratories should start replacing MSDS with SDS as manufacturers make them available and ensure that all their researchers have received required training. For more information please contact EH&S or visit: http://www.osha.gov/as/opa/facts-hcs-ghs.html
Radioactive Waste Detection by Geno Silvestrini
To help identify radioactive materials that may have inadvertently contaminated solid waste, the University utilizes radiation monitors that have been installed in key areas where solid waste handling occurs. The monitors are able to detect solid waste that contains radiation at higher than naturally occurring levels, i.e. background. The monitors are programmed to electronically notify Public Safety and EH&S upon alarm activation. Protocol requires that any bag or container of solid waste that activates the monitor's alarm be isolated and secured for investigation by EH&S personnel. EH&S will attempt to identify the isotope in order to establish its half-life to determine further action. Short-lived isotopes are held in secure storage to allow for the waste to decay to a level indistinguishable from background; a common practice known as decay-in-storage. Long half-life isotopes would be managed for off-site disposal as radioactive waste.
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