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RECENT EHS NEWS:

(March 2020) Online Training Opportunities 

(March 2020) COVID-19 resources 

(11/2019)  EPA offers course on Wildfires with continuing education credits 

(6/2019) EPA revises clearance standards for lead dust from 40 micrograms of lead per square foot (µg/ft2) to 10 µg/ft2 on floors; and from 250 µg/ft2 to 100 µg/ft2 on window sills. This more protective dust-lead hazard standards apply to inspections, risk assessments, and abatement activities in pre-1978 housing and certain schools, child care facilities, and hospitals across the country.

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH AND SAFETY (EHS) and EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT TOPICS

This section of the Campus tour provides you with resources, guidance, tools and effective practices associated with preparing for and responding to campus emergencies. (See also Campus Tour on Laboratories for information about Chemical Spills)

  • Flu & Other Communicable Diseases (including COVID-19)
  • General Resources including Free Online Training Opportunities
  • Indoor Air Quality
  • General
  • Tobacco Smoke/Vaping - NEW! March 2020
  • Adverse Weather Events:
    • Meteorology Self-Study
    • Cold Weather
    • Extreme Heat
    • Earthquake
    • Hurricane/Flooding
    • Solar Eclipse
    • Thunderstorm
  • Fire Safety & Wildfires
  • Security
  • Spills
  • Volcanic Eruption
  • Other EHS Topics

Flu and Other Communicable Diseases

Flu View Weekly Report:  Review a synopsis of this week's influenza activity including:

  • % positive tests,
  • # pediatric deaths from influenza, and
  • the proportion of deaths in relation to the epidemic threshold.

Pandemic Flu (CDC):  An influenza pandemic can occur when a non-human (novel) influenza virus gains the ability for efficient and sustained human-to-human transmission and then spreads globally. Influenza viruses that have the potential to cause a pandemic are referred to as 'influenza viruses with pandemic potential.

Coronavirus Pandemic 2020 Resources (COVID-19):

Coronavirus Resources from the Institute of Hazardous Materials Managers

Smithsonian Deep Cleaning and Sanitizing Tasks During Closure

EPA Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting:  Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes

CDC Guidance for Colleges and Universities

General Information and Free Online Training Opportunities

Department of Homeland Security (DHS): Academic Resilience Resources Webpage

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):

  • Download the FEMA App that allows you to receive alerts for up to 5 locations, get safety tips and send photos to emergency responders!  Allows you to receive alerts for up to 5 locations, get safety tips and send photos to emergency responders 
  • Campus Emergency Management Resources

 FEMA's Independent Study Program contains a broad selection free, self-paced, online learning

Safe-X - Free monthly webinar 

OSHAcademy - free online classes with option to purchase completion certificate

Learning with Lynda (free 30 day trail/Linked in) on various topics

Indoor Air Quality

General Indoor Air Quality 

Tobacco/Vaping

  (March 2020): Vaping Chemicals Create Toxic Ketene Gas

Adverse Weather Events

  • Meteorology Self-Study
  • Cold Weather
  • Extreme Heat
  • Earthquake
  • Flooding
  • Hurricane
  • Solar Eclipse
  • Thunderstorm

Meteorology

Listing of Weather Preparedness Weeks by State, from National Weather Service

Introductory Meteorology Lessons (self study):

These short lessons provide newcomers to the field of meteorology with an introduction to the atmosphere and oceans, as well as the main processes involved in setting up Earth's weather.  Topics covered include Earth's heat balance and circulation, global winds, water vapor and the hydrologic cycle, stability and parcel theory, clouds, thunderstorms, ocean currents, tides, and atmospheric and oceanic measurements.

Met 101: Introduction to the Atmosphere (35-45 min) 

Met 101: Basic Weather Processes (35-45 min)

Met 101: Introduction to the World's Oceans (20 min)

NEW! (October 2019): Probabilistic Forecasting of Winter Weather, including perrcentiles / probability of exceedance and conditional vs unconditional probability of precipitation type.

Community Earth System Model (CESM) Distance Learning Course is a fully-coupled, community, global climate model that provides state-of-the-art computer simulations of the Earth's past, present, and future climate states.

Multi-hazard, Impacts-based, Weather Forecasts: a new 7-minute video on YouTube titled, "Using Multi-hazard, Impacts-based Forecast and Warning Services". This lesson uses a heavy rain situation in Barbados to demonstrate the use of Multi-hazard, Impacts-based, Forecast and Warning Services. The lesson is part of the larger Weather Ready Nations effort. The demonstration will show an evolution of the forecast in the 3-, 2-, and 1-day lead time periods.

Cold Weather

Snow and Ice Tips from EPA

Using a Generator Indoors (including garages) Could Kill You! flyer from the CPSC 

Safe winter driving tips from OSHA and NHTSA 

Tips to protect workers in cold environments from OSHA

North Dakota State University (NDSU) has a downloadable Winter Survival Kit App that will help you find your location, provide reminders to stay safe when stranded, and prepare a physical winter survival kit.

Extreme Heat

Avoid extreme heat. When a heat wave is predicted, prepare for reduced air quality and increased energy use.

OSHA information on Occupational Heat Exposure

OSHA's Campaign to Keep Workers Safe in the Heat

Heat Safety App

Air Quality App

Earthquake information

Information from the United States Geological Service 

Earthquake tips from Virginia Students after a rare 5.8 magnitude earthquake hits central Virginia.

Flooding

Minnesota Prepares for Flooding

  • In response to the high likelihood of significant flooding in northwest Minnesota, the state's Pollution Control Agency has created flood resources for governments and citizens.
  • Resources include:
  • Take Steps to Limit Damage to Your Property and the Environment; and
  • Toolbox for Local Units of Government Recovering from a Natural Disaster

Hurricane

NHC Hurricane Preparedness information prepared by the National Weather Service

  • History teaches that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster.
  • Hurricane hazards come in many forms, including storm surge, heavy rainfall, inland flooding, high winds, tornadoes, and rip currents. Dowload plans, posters or view youtube videos.

National Weather Service Preparedness

When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors

NO PLACE OUTSIDE is safe when thunderstorms are in the area!! If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.

FEMA information about Thunderstorms and Lightening 

Severe Weather 101, from the National Severe Storms Laboratory, a branch of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  Contains information and resources for educators and students. 

Solar Eclipse Safety

Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse ("totality"), when the moon entirely blocks the sun's bright face, which will happen only within the narrow path of totality.

NASA offers Safety tips

2D/3D Printable Pinhole Projectors

Protect your eyes during a solar eclipse (CDC)

Fire Safety

Resources, presentations, documents, links, tools, case studies and guidance to aid in planning, preventing and responding to fires on campus.

Workplace fire safety has come a long way since the 1911 tragedy at the New York Triangle Shirtwaist Factory which took the lives of nearly 150 workers. Standards put in place by OSHA have dramatically improved workplace fire safety. 

NFPA 1600: Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management & Business Continuity Programs, 2013:  This edition incorporates changes, expanding the conceptual framework for disaster/emergency management and business continuity programs.

Campus Fire Safety Resources

The Campus Firewatch webpage has "tweets" about recent campus fire activity, and educational materials to share.  You can also subscribe to their "Tip A Day" or view posters and videos for campus housing.

The Center For Campus Fire Safety hosts an annual Campus Fire Forum, and has a variety of tools and data for colleges and universities regarding fire safety and carbon monoxide.

Fire Safety Reminders

Don't ever:

  • Block electrical panels; they require 36" of clearance in front of the panel and the width of the panel or 2.5 feet, whichever is greater.  Need a visual reminder for staff?
  • Use magnets or stickers on the face of the panels and/or,
  • Tape the floor to indicate the required clearance area.
  • Portable Fire Extinguishers (PFEs) must be clear from all sides and inspected monthly! 
  • Exits must be kept clear at all times.  No exceptions!  Ever.
  • Housekeeping is underrated:
  • Clutter provides fuel for fires. Keep your workplace as clutter-free as possible.
  • Properly and regularly discard oily rags, scraps, pallets, and boxes - inside and outside.
  • Make sure the machines in your workplace are properly maintained to prevent overheating and friction sparks.
  • Keep areas free of wood-dust, a very hazardous combustible!
  • Report Electrical Hazards
  • Unless you are an electrician, never attempt electrical repairs. Faulty wiring and malfunctioning electrical equipment are key contributors to workplace fires.  If you see an electrical hazard, report it immediately to your supervisor.

Wildfires

AIHA Updated Guide on Wildfire

EPA Guide on Wildfire Smoke for Public Health Officialsrevised in 2016, is designed to help local public health officials prepare for smoke events, to take measures to protect the public when smoke is present, and communicate with the public about wildfire smoke and health. The 2016 version has been updated with the assistance and expertise from a number of federal and state agencies.

EPA Self Learning:  Wildfires

Smoke Sense App: Did you know that there are over 20 wildfires burning as of today?

EPA researchers are conducting a citizen science study called Smoke Sense to:

  • Determine the extent to which exposure to wildland fire smoke affects health and productivity
  • Develop health risk communication strategies that protect public health during smoke days
  • Individuals who want to contribute to science can participate in the study by using the Smoke Sense app, a publicly available mobile application on Google Play Store.

The study will be the first of its kind known to use a mobile application to evaluate health effects from wildland fires experienced by those who participate, and to test whether such an app communicates health risks effectively.  Data gathered through Smoke Sense is anticipated to help EPA researchers and communities determine how smoke from fires impacts our health and productivity and gain important insights needed to develop health risk communication methods during smoky days.  The study is being conducted during the 2017 fire season. At the end of the study, the Smoke Sense app will go offline temporarily for updates. The Smoke Sense app can be used on Android phones and will be available for use on Apple devices in the future.  Smoke Sense app user identities will be anonymous and non-identifiable. 

Security

Resources, presentations, documents, links, tools, case studies and guidance to aid in identifying risks, complying with applicable standards and maintaining an open, but secure, campus.

Responsible Care Program

Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Security Assessment Tool – You may be required to report some substances to the Department of Homeland Security 

Spills

This section includes resources, presentations, documents, links, tools, case studies and guidance to aid in planning, preventing and responding to spills on campus.

The United States Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration PHMSA's 2012 Emergency Response Guidebook provides first responders with a go-to manual to help deal with hazmat accidents during the critical first 30 minutes. DOT's goal is to place an ERG in every emergency service vehicle nationwide.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Response and Restoration is a center of expertise in preparing for, evaluating, and responding to threats to coastal environments, including oil and chemical spills, releases from hazardous waste sites, and marine debris.

Hydrofluoric Acid Policy and Procedure (Tufts University)

OSHA Technical Guideline on Formalin

 

OTHER EHS TOPICS

Governing Green Laboratories:  Professor Susan Silbey has explored the development and implementation of a new environmental, health and safety system ("EHS") at MIT, and other campuses, with special emphasis on laboratories. Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Environmental Roles and Responsibilities in a Climate of Change: Campus EH&S at a Crossroads

The document spotlights the evolving environmental, health and safety (EH&S) assignment on college and university campuses where homeland security directives, sustainability initiatives, and emerging health and safety issues demand increasing attention. The 16-page booklet illustrates both the challenges and opportunities with narrative, quotes, cartoons and images. "I believe that this document will be useful to many campus environmental professionals and departments in strategic planning, staff development and the identification of opportunities for integrating programs with emerging sustainability initiatives," said Zehra Schneider Graham, CHMM (University of Massachusetts Boston), the current president of the C2E2. The document is available on the C2E2 website.

 

Coming soon:

Managing a One Person EH&S Office: Powerpoint presentation reviews the challenges and opportunities of managing a one-person EH&S office. Source: Campus Safety, Health and Environmental Management Association 2007 Conference

The 2006 Benchmark Survey of the State of Environmental Management Systems at Colleges & Universities: Two-thirds of colleges and universities are developing or have an interest in developing an Environmental Management System (EMS), yet EMS activities are still in their infancy. That finding, and many others, can be found in this invaluable report


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