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Spring Research Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) Update

Published via Research News May 23, 2023

Don’t let lab accidents SPRING up on you!

Sharps Safety Reminders
There have been a significant number of sharps-related lab injuries in recent months. Sharps, including needles, razor blades, scalpels, and microtome blades, are some of the most ubiquitous hazards in our research labs. Here are some tips to help avoid sharps injuries:

  • Always dispose of sharps properly. Overfilling sharps boxes or disposing of sharps in inappropriate containers can lead to needlesticks or cuts to your lab members or custodial staff.
  • Store sharps safely when they are not being used. Putting blades in secondary containment minimizes cuts when sharps are not being used.
  • Never recap needles! Doing so can lead to needlesticks.
  • If your lab uses a microtome or cryostat:
    • Create an SOP for using this equipment.
    • Utilize tools, such as magnets or forceps to handle the blades. Your debris brush or other tools provided by the manufacturer may already have a magnet built-in for this purpose!
    • Consider wearing cut-resistant gloves.

Chemical Inventory  

  • List Filters
    You can find the “List Filter” feature in the top, right portion of your online chemical inventory. “Peroxide-Formers” were recently added to this feature to aid in management of these and other time-sensitive chemicals. Peroxide-forming chemicals can develop shock-sensitive crystals or liquids over time and lead to an explosion. By using the “Peroxide-Former Filter”, chemical inventory users can quickly locate these materials and add an “Expiration Date” for each container to better manage these chemicals.
  • Chemical Inventory Receiving
    Chemicals ordered from Marketplace automatically populate under the “Chemical Order Receipt” link within our EHS software. These items must be verified for quantity and location information and received to chemical inventory before they will appear in your inventory. There will be a number in parentheses at that link to show how many items need your attention. Please either receive these items or delete them. This helps to ensure your chemical inventory is accurate, and helps EH&S monitor our University-wide inventory. An exception to this procedure is for the Chemistry Department and Biology Department. Chemical receipt to inventory for these two departments is handled by stockroom staff. Please see our one-page tip sheet for more guidance.

New Training Available in Learn@Work
A new safety course titled “EHS – Laboratory Reactor Pressure Vessels” has been added to Learn@Work! While not currently a mandated course through EH&S, researchers may find this useful and can incorporate this course into their lab-specific training as needed.

This course was produced in partnership with the Safety Training Consortium. Below are the course links for your reference:

  • Registration link
  • Course link
  • Search EHS – Laboratory Reactor Pressure Vessels – Safety Training Consortium or within the Learning Catalog under “EHS – Biological & Chemical Safety”
Radiation Safety Training Reminder

Please complete the annual Radiation Safety ALARA & Refresher Training, if applicable. This should be completed by September 30, 2023.

Stay Tuned

  • A new compliance profile is anticipated to come out this summer. This will result in changes to how certain training is assigned, and in changes to some of the EH&S training modules, including lab safety. Stay tuned for more information during the summer.
  • EH&S is working to establish a variety of safety recognition awards, including lab safety. Stay tuned for future updates.

For more information on any of these topics, please contact EH&S at or (314) 362-6816.