FAQs About EH&S

When do I need to submit a biological agent use protocol (referred to as a Memorandum of Understanding Agreement or MOUA) to the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)?

Each supervisor who possesses or uses any biological agents must submit a MOUA to the IBC, regardless of the risk level of the biological agent. Biological agents include:

  1. Microorganisms;
  2. viruses;
  3. prions;
  4. human body fluids, cells or tissues;
  5. cultured cells of any origin;
  6. recombinant DNA or RNA and toxic products;
  7. animals infected with human pathogens and as sources of zoonotic agents;
  8. genetically modified plants; and
  9. insects.

Generally, the MOUA should be written to cover all use of biological agents in a particular lab so that only one MOUA is submitted per laboratory.  More information on the MOUA process is available in the University's Biosafety Manual (See Chapter 2).

Does my laboratory need a chemical hygiene plan?

Each laboratory must have a customized chemical hygiene plan that addresses the particular chemical hazards in the laboratory.  This can be done by developing lab-specific standard operating procedures (SOPs) and providing documented lab-specific chemical safety training that supplement the University Chemical Hygiene Plan and general laboratory safety training provided by EH&S.

What happens if safety deficiencies are discovered or noted during EH&S visits or self-assessments?

EH&S will focus on providing solutions to deficiencies and safety concerns to the greatest extent possible.  You may feel free to bring attention to any safety concern or deficiency without fear of reprisal or negative action.  Please contact EH&S at x75040 or submit your concern to one of the related safety committees that have been organized to address these issues.

What types of occupational safety services are offered through the EH&S department?

EH&S offers mishap/accident investigation, safety assessment & consultation, respirator fit testing, confined space entry assistance, noise monitoring, and training on most occupational safety topics.

Can I work with radiation in a laboratory authorized to use radiation?

Yes, but only after completing appropriate radiation safety training. All personnel who work with radiation must receive radiation safety training and become familiar with radiation safety policies and procedures.

Can I purchase or possess radioactive material if I am not authorized by the RSC?

No, only users authorized by the RSC may purchase and possess RAM.

What are the requirements for a new user of radioactive materials (RAM), sealed radioactive sources, or a radiation producing machine, such as x-ray equipment?

All radiation uses are reviewed and approved by the Radiation Safety Committee (RSC). Prior authorization from the RSC is required. A Radiation Use Application form is available from the DOCS & Forms section of the EH&S website. Completed application form must be submitted to the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) and RSO, in turn submits it to the RSC. The RSO will notify the applicant of the RSC's decision. Assistance in laboratory set-up for radiation use will be provided once the application has been approved by the RSC.

What do I do if there is a chemical spill in my laboratory?

Most laboratory spills are small quantities of known chemicals and it is generally expected that the laboratory worker absorb or pick up the material, decontaminate the area (if necessary) and submit the waste materials for chemical waste pick up.

EH&S has provided chemical spill kits (white, five gallon pail with a yellow label) in every lab on campus for this purpose. If fire or injury is associated with the incident or the spill is beyond the capabilities of the lab staff (large quantity, extremely hazardous material, etc.) outside assistance is available by calling EH&S at (775) 327-5040 or 911 for the fire department or EMS.

What do I do with chemical waste generated in my laboratory/work space?

EH&S has interactive web forms for requesting pick up of all types of chemical waste, items for recycle, and replacement waste containers.  The forms are  available on the EH&S forms page. You must have a valid NetID to use these forms. If you have a valid NetID but your name is not in the EH&S system, you will be prompted to fill out a simple form to be added to the system. The system will automatically try to add you to the users list if it can find you. In the event the system can not match your NetID, it will automatically notify EH&S personnel and they will try and resolve your issue. If the system is able to process your account, you can return to the waste forms to place your  request for waste pick ups.

How do I obtain a certificate of completion for a training course I took in the past?

In the fall of 2013, all historical EH&S training registration and attendance information was consolidated into the Learning Management System.  Anyone with an active netID can gain access to their history as well as register for upcoming events.  Training events that you have attended should be displayed under the My Training History tab.  Follow the instructions on the page to generate a certificate or training history report.

What training does EH&S offer?

Visit the Training Registration page to see upcoming in-class events and available online courses.  A list of available training topics and the target audiences can be found on the Training Program Area page.  Contact the Training Manager or the appropriate program area contact to schedule a training session.

Has the air quality at my work location been assessed?

The EH&S Department responds to concerns regarding air quality on a routine basis. Additionally, the EH&S Department conducts proactive air quality assessment of indoor environments throughout the campus. It is likely that air quality in your area has been assessed as some time in recent history. If you have concerns regarding air quality in your work area please contact EH&S at  (775) 787-5040.

Who do i contact to get my laboratory hood working?

If your hood does not operate or is not working, you can call Facilities at (775) 784-8020 or submit an online work order. All hoods are tested at least annually; however, you can contact EH&S to verify that your hood is still functioning properly by calling (775) 787-5040.  These numbers are provided at the bottom of the hood survey sticker on each campus laboratory hood.

How do I know how to evacuate out of a building?

Evacuation maps have been placed on each floor of buildings.

What are the most common hazards facing the campus?

Fires, hazardous materials, floods and earthquakes.

Where can I recycle on campus?

There are paper recycling bins in almost every office on campus, glass plastic and aluminum can be recycled in various bins in most buildings, please see the recycling pages for maps of locations

What kind of discharge permits does the University maintain?

The University has air discharge permits for our fume hoods, central heat plant and backup generators. We have sewer discharge permits for many buildings, and permits for our interceptors. See more about discharge permits.

What kind of data are collected for permits?

The sewer effluent from seven buildings (mostly laboratory-containing) is sampled twice a year and reported. The fuel use data is reported for generators and the heat plant. The fume hood data report is a mass balance which requires an accurate inventory and collection of data on incoming shipments and waste being removed.