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ONLINE ORIENTATION. Industrial Maintenance & Construction, & Support Services Environment. About EHS.

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Industrial Maintenance & Construction,

& Support Services Environment

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About EHS

We support the University's core mission of teaching, research, and service by providing comprehensive environmental, health and safety services to the University community including: education through training and consultation; maintaining a safe environment; ensuring regulatory compliance; and controlling recognized health and safety hazards. To achieve this mission we must rely on all University employees to understand and recognize safety policy and procedures.

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About EHS

The responsibility of the department of Environment, Health and Safety is to develop a comprehensive program to comply with the provisions of each of the following regulations: Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • NC DENR NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources

  • Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization (JCAHO)

  • NC Radiation Protection Section (NCRPS)

  • Office of State Personnel (OSP)

  • NC Fire Prevention Codes

  • NFPA 101 Life Safety Codes

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About EHS

EHS provides comprehensive support for the University community in the areas of environmental compliance, occupational health and safety. To learn more about each section, please visit EHS’s website at

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Workplace Safety Program

In accordance to University policy and North Carolina General Statute Article 63, each state agency must have a written Health and Safety program with clearly stated goals or objectives that promote safe and healthful working conditions. The Environment, Health and Safety manual along with other specific manuals, such as Radiation Safety Manual, Laboratory Safety Manual, and Biological Safety manual serves as the University's written Health and Safety program. These manuals provide University employees with the necessary guidance in maintaining a safe work environment. Each of these manuals can be viewed in more detail by selecting "Manuals" from the EHS web site.

  • Other elements of the Workplace Safety program include:

  • Conduct new employee training to help with the identification of and correction of hazards,

  • Review workplace incidents and develop ways to eliminate or minimize hazards, and

  • Employee input through safety committees

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Workplace Safety Program

UNC's health and safety committees perform workplace inspections, review injury and illness records, make advisory recommendations to the administration, and perform other functions determined by the State Personnel Commission. The Workplace Safety Committees report through the following structure:

UNC employees should contact EHS or any committee member regarding safety concerns.

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Workplace Safety Program

If you are interested in serving on one of the committees please feel free to contact the EHS office at (919) 962-5507.

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Fire Safety Program

UNC's Fire Safety program is based on NFPA 101 Life Safety Code, N.C. Fire Prevention Code, and OSHA 1910 Subpart E. Your understanding and contribution to Fire Safety is the key to an effective fire protection program for the University. Regularly inspecting your area for

  • electrical hazards

  • storage in hallways

  • blocked exit ways

  • adequate lighting of exits

  • general housekeeping

    can prevent a fire from occurring and provide employees with a safe passage in the event of a fire.

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Fire Safety Program

If a fire or other emergency occurs in your building, employees must know two Means of Egress (exit). OSHA defines Means of Egress as "A continuous and unobstructed way of exit travel from any point in a building or structure to a public way." The three main components of Means of Egress are:

  • The way of Exit Access

  • The exit

  • The way of Exit Discharge

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Fire Safety Program

Exit Access is the area in which an employee uses as their means of exiting to an exit.

Exit Discharge is the exit from a building to a public way.

Exit is the protected way of travel to the exit discharge.

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Fire Safety Program

The Department of EHS has prepared a general Emergency Action Plan for the University to follow. An Emergency Action Plan is "a plan for the workplace describing what procedures the employers and employees must take to ensure employee's safety from fire and other emergencies" (1910.35j). The plan includes:

  • posting of planned evacuation routes

  • procedures to follow in the event of a fire or emergency

  • procedures to account for employees after evacuation

  • procedures for employees who remain to operate critical equipment in an emergency

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Fire Safety Program

Posting of Planned Evacuation Routes - Building evacuation procedure for your department should be posted on the office bulletin board and at all elevators. Employees should know at least two evacuation routes for their designated work area and any area that they frequent often. Employees are encouraged to evaluate the building evacuation areas daily to ensure that there are no obstructions. If obstructions are found, please report it to the EHS immediately at (919) 962-5507.

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Fire Safety Program

Procedures to Follow - If a fire emergency was to occur in your workplace, it is vital that you be prepared to react. The acronym RACE provides the basic steps of the Emergency Action Plan to follow:

  • Remove or rescue individuals in immediate danger

  • Activate the alarm by pulling the fire pull station located in the corridors and calling 911.

  • Confine the fire by closing windows, vents and doors

  • Evacuate to safe area (know the evacuation routes for your areas).

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Fire Safety Program

Procedures to Account for Employees – The University has designated an Emergency Coordinator(s) for all occupied buildings. Each Emergency Coordinator (EC) is responsible for assisting in the safe and orderly emergency evacuation of employees. In preparation for an emergency, the EC completes an information card that includes:

  • evacuation monitors' names

  • employee names and phone numbers occupying building

  • location of employees needing assistance

  • rooms containing hazardous material,

  • and equipment needing special attention.

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Fire Safety Program

In an emergency, each Emergency Coordinator is responsible for the following in accordance with the University Emergency Plan:

  • Sweep through assigned area to alert occupants that an evacuation is in process.

  • Assist building occupants needing special assistance

  • Report to the University Emergency Command Sector with emergency information card

  • Advise emergency personnel regarding building contents

  • Account for all employees by meeting building occupants at the assembly area

  • Advise building occupants regarding situation and when re-entry is permitted

  • Advise Facilities Services personnel in cleanup operations.

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Fire Safety Program

To extinguish a fire requires proper identification of the type of fire extinguisher to use. There are four classes of extinguishers to choose from.

Currently University buildings are equipped with Type ABC fire extinguishers, except in computer labs or mechanical rooms with have CO2 extinguishers.

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Fire Safety Program

Only University employees working in healthcare, emergency response, and/or whose job requires them to use a fire extinguisher are required to receive annual hands on fire extinguisher training. EHS Fire Safety section conducts annual classes in different locations on campus. For other employees it is beneficial to know how a fire extinguisher is used. Remembering the acronym PASS will assist in the proper use of a fire extinguisher.

  • Pull the pin between the handles.

  • Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.

  • Squeeze the handles together.

  • Sweep the extinguisher from side to side at the base of the fire.

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Fire Safety Program

A few fire safety reminders:

  • Everyone is responsible for keeping the work area safe from fires.

  • Review your evacuation routes to ensure that exits and passageways are unobstructed.

  • Practice good general housekeeping.

  • Store flammable liquids and combustible material properly.

  • Report any fire hazards or other safety concerns immediately to the department of Environment, Health and Safety at (919) 962-5507.

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Workers’ Compensation Program

Workers' Compensation benefits are available to any University employee (whether full-time, part-time, temporary) who suffers disability through accident or illness arising out of, and in the scope of, his or her employment, according to the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act.

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Workers’ Compensation Program

The benefits provided to University Employees include medical and leave. Medical benefits include all authorized medical services such as physician visit, prescriptions, physical therapy, rehabilitation, etc. Leave benefits are provided to employees when an authorized medical provider places an employee out work.

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Workers’ Compensation Program

If you receive an injury or occupational illness, go directly to the University Employee Occupational Health Clinic (UEOHC) located at 145 N. Medical Drive. The UEOHC is open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday thru Friday, except holidays.

For after hours needlestick/human blood or body fluid exposures, please call UEOHC at 966-9119. The UEOHC line will automatically forward your call to Healthlink in order to gather the appropriate information and put you in contact with the Family Practice physician covering the needlestick hotline. For all other after-hour work related injuries that require immediate medical care, go directly to the UNC Emergency Department. If immediate medical care is not needed, then please report to the UEOHC the following day.

For a life-threatening injury or illness, go directly to the Emergency Department located in the Neurosciences Hospital on Manning Drive.

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Workers’ Compensation Program

If you experienced an on-the-job injury or illness, you are to report the incident immediately to your supervisor no matter how minor. Once the injury is reported, an incident investigation will occur to determine the cause of the incident and corrective action taken to prevent the incident from reoccurring. Please note: Failure to report an injury could result in the denial of your claim.

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Workers’ Compensation Program

For further information concerning University policies on workplace injuries and illnesses, refer to the "Workers' Compensation" pages on the EHS web site.

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Hazard Communication Background

What is OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard?

OSHA’s Hazard Communication standard (29 CFR 1910.1200), promulgated 1994, requires that employees be informed of the hazards of chemical(s) that they work with or are present in their work area.

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OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (continued)

The four elements of the program include:

  • Ensuring chemicals are labeled

  • Maintaining departmental/work unit/laboratory chemical inventories

  • Maintaining Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)

  • Training of personnel by Supervisor on the chemicals that are used or in the workplace

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OSHA collaborates with United Nation

Understanding the need for consistent classifications of hazards chemicals, OSHA decided to better align with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System by adopting a common classification and labeling of chemicals.

To view details of this report, double click picture.

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Benefits of Adopting GHS

There are several benefits for OSHA in adopting the Globally Harmonized system. In particular, it will provide a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. Thus resulting in:

  • Consistency of information provided

  • Increase comprehension of hazards

  • Help address literacy problems

  • Facilitation of international trade of chemicals

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OSHA Publishes Revised Standard

In March 2012, the revised Hazard Communication Standard became law and included an established timeframe for implementation. The table below outlines the effective dates, requirements and responsible parties.

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Benefit of HazCom2012

With the University’s mission to “serve North Carolina, the United States, and the World through teaching, research, and public service,” the new requirements under HazCom 2012 will enhance clarity for University employees positioned on campus as well as abroad.

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HazCom2012 Requirements

By December 2013, all University employees are to have received general training regarding “definitions”, “label” and “Safety Data Sheet” for chemicals under new HazCom 2012 standard.

Supervisors are still required to provide job specific training to employees on the chemicals used in their area at least once and every time a new chemical is added. The training must cover proper use, handling, and personal protective equipment required for the safe handling of the hazardous chemicals.

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HazCom 2012 will use a “specification” approach rather than a “performance-oriented” approach. Hazards will be classified thus providing a specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures. Specifically:

  • Appendix A defines health and physical hazards

  • Appendix B includes additional parameters to evaluate health hazard data

  • Appendix F pertains to Carcinogens

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HazCom 2012 requires chemical manufacturers and importers to provide a label that includes a harmonized product identifier, pictogram, signal word, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided.

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Labels - Pictograms

Pictograms are required on labels to alert users of the chemical hazards to which they may be exposed. Each pictogram consists of a symbol on a white background framed within a red border and represents a distinct hazard(s), such as health, physical, and environmental . The pictogram on the label is determined by the chemical hazard classification. There are nine pictograms with only the environmental pictogram being optional.

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Labels – Distinct Hazards

As previously stated, “Distinct hazards” are chemicals in which there is scientific evidence that a health, physical, and/or environmental hazards may occur.

  • Health Hazard - acute or chronic health affects may occur if exposed.

  • Physical Hazard - a combustible liquid, a compressed gas, explosive, flammable, an organic peroxide, an oxidizer, pyrophoric, unstable (reactive) or water-reactive

  • Environmental Hazard – pose risk or danger to the environment

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Labels – Pictograms (Health)

  • Acute Toxicity (fatal and toxic)

  • Fatal in contact with skin

  • Fatal if inhaled

  • Fatal if swallowed

  • Toxic if swallowed

  • Toxic in contact with skin

    Examples: Carbon Monoxide, Ammonia, Acrylonitrile, Arsenic

Skull and Cross Bones will appear on the most severely toxic chemicals. Depending on the toxicity of the chemical, the skull and crossbones indicates that the chemical may be toxic or fatal. Specifically it can mean:

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Labels – Pictograms (Health)

  • May be corrosive to metals

  • Causes severe skin burns

  • Causes serious eye damage

    Examples: Sodium Hydroxide (lye) and Sulfuric Acid

Corrosive will appear on chemicals that have corrosive properties. Depending on the properties of the chemical(s) in the product, the corrosion pictogram can mean:

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Labels – Pictograms (Health)

  • Harmful if swallowed

  • Acute Toxicity (harmful)

  • Harmful in contact with skin

  • Skin Sensitizer

  • Harmful if inhaled

  • Respiratory Tract Irritant

  • Causes skin irritation

  • Irritant (skin and eye)

  • Causes serious eye irritation

  • May cause allergic skin reaction

  • Hazardous to Ozone Layer

    Examples: Isopropyl Alcohol, Ethyl Alcohol, Acetone

Exclamation Mark will appear on chemicals with less severe toxicity. This symbol will never be used with “skull and crossbones” symbol. Depending on the health hazard, it can mean:

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Labels – Pictograms (Health)

  • Carcinogen

  • Mutagenicity

  • Reproductive Toxicity

  • Respiratory Sensitizer

  • Target Organ Toxicity

  • Aspiration Toxicity

    Examples: Carbon Monoxide, Hexanes

Health Hazard will appear on chemicals with less severe toxicity. This symbol will never be used with “skull and crossbones” symbol. Depending on the health hazard, it can mean:

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Labels – Pictograms (Health/Physical)

Gas Cylinder can cause fires, explosions, oxygen deficient atmospheres, toxic gas exposures as well as the innate physical hazard associated with cylinders under high pressure

  • Gases under pressure

  • Compressed gases

  • Liquefied gases

  • Refrigerated liquefied gases

  • Dissolved gases

    Examples: Butane and Propane

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Labels – Pictograms (Physical)

Exploding Bomb symbol will appear on chemicals that have explosive properties.

  • Unstable Explosives

  • Self-reactive substances and mixtures

  • Organic peroxides

    Examples: Nitroglycerine and TNT, Gunpowder, Rocket propellants, and Pyrotechnic mixtures (fireworks).

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Labels – Pictograms (Physical)

  • Extremely flammable gas

  • Extremely flammable aerosol

  • Self-Heating

  • Flammable aerosol

  • Extremely flammable liquid and vapor

  • Highly flammable liquid and vapor

  • Flammable liquid and vapor

  • Flammable solid

    Examples: Butane, Pyrophorics, Organic Peroxides

Flame symbol will appear on chemicals that are flammable. Depending on the properties of the chemical(s) and the product, the flame can mean:

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Labels – Pictograms (Physical)

Flame over circle symbol will appear on chemicals that are:

  • Oxidizers

  • Oxidizing gases, liquids, and solids

    Examples: Hydrogen Peroxide and Nitrous Oxide

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Labels – Pictograms (Environment)

Environment symbol will appear on chemicals which are acutely hazardous to fish, crustacean, or aquatic plants. This is the only symbol that is not mandatory.

  • Aquatic Toxicity

  • Acute hazards to the aquatic environment

  • Chronic hazards to the aquatic environment

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Label – Signal Word

A Signal Word is used to indicate the relative level of severity of hazard and alert the reader to a potential hazard on the label. The signal words used are:

  • "Danger" - used for the more severe hazards

  • “Warning" - used for less severe hazards.

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Labels- Hazard Statement

A Hazard Statement describes the nature of the hazard(s) of a chemical, including where appropriate the degree of hazard.

All of the applicable hazard

statements must appear on

the label.

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Labels – Precautionary Statement

A Precautionary Statement is a statement that describes recommended measures that should be taken to minimize or prevent adverse effects.

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Label – What do UNC Employees need to do?

Effective June 1 2015, all chemicals received at the University should have the required label. Any material transferred to another container must also have the same label versus just chemical/product name.

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Safety Data Sheets

HazCom 2012 requires Safety Data Sheets - SDS (formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets – MSDS) to use a specified 16-section standardized format.

Under the new format, employees wanting information regarding Exposure Controls/Personal Protection will always refer to Section 8 of the Safety Data Sheets.

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Safety Data Sheets

To improve employee understanding, information listed on the label, like Precautionary Statement, will be same information the employee will find on the Safety Data Sheet.

The standardize 16 sections is broken down as follows:

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Safety Data Sheet – 16 Sections

  • Identification of the substanceor mixture and of the supplier

  • Hazards identification

  • Composition/information on ingredients Substance/Mixture

  • First aid measures

  • Firefighting measures

  • Accidental release measures

  • Handling and storage

  • Exposure controls/personal protection

  • Physical and chemical properties

  • Stability and reactivity

  • Toxicological

  • Ecological information(non mandatory)

  • Disposal considerations(non mandatory)

  • Transport information(non mandatory)

  • Regulatory information(non mandatory)

  • Other information including information on preparation and revision of the SDS

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Safety Data Sheets – What do UNC Employees need to do?

By December 2015, distributors must provide the new format of Safety Data Sheets. Supervisors need to update the Safety Data Sheet notebooks and/or computer links in their job specific area to the newly format sheets.

Remember SDS(s) must be accessible to employees at all times.

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NC OSHA– Enforcement

By June 2016, NC OSHA will begin to enforce compliance with HazCom 2012 by conducting site evaluations.

Environment, Health and Safety will continue to assist University departments with the implementation of the specific requirements covered in this training.

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Resources - OSHA’s HazCom2012 Web Page

OSHA has developed an extensive web page to provide additional resources for employees at

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Resources -

Guidance & Outreach

Supervisors can find printable guidance material that can be utilized when training employees.

  • Guidance

    • OSHA Briefs

    • Fact Sheet

    • Quick Cards

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PPE: Minimizing Hazards

There are three main controls used to eliminate or minimize workplace hazards:

1. Administrative: policies and procedures that control the time and amount of exposure. For example rest breaks and job rotation are administrative controls

2. Engineering: physical changes to a workplace to reduce or minimize a hazard. For example, guard rails and lifting aids are examples of engineering controls

3. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): equipment you wear to protect the head, face, eyes, feet, respiratory system, hearing and body from injury

Where possible, engineering and/or administrative controls should be attempted before requiring PPE. However, when PPE is necessary, it is provided to employees at no cost. Your supervisor should issue the appropriate PPE for your job duties.

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Fundamentals of PPE

Each shop or work unit on campus has a Hazard Management Plan (HMP). This document contains a PPE Hazard Assessment section which reviews jobs for employees in that work group which require the use of PPE. The shop supervisor is responsible for reviewing the use and care of PPE required for each worker and for signing the Certificate of Personal Protective Equipment Training along with the worker.

PPE should always be inspected prior to each use to make sure it is in sanitary and good working condition. Depending on the type of PPE you are using, check for the following: holes, cracks, scratches, wear and tear, or frayed parts (straps on respirators or webbing on fall protection harnesses). A good work practice is to clean any dirty PPE before storing it. This will make it more accessible the next time you need it. All PPE should be stored in a cool, dry, secure area. Some PPE can be shared but respirators and earplugs should not be.

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Head Protection

Falling or flying objects and falling or walking into hard objects are common causes of head injuries. These injuries include neck sprains, concussions, and skull fractures. Accidents involving electricity result in electrical shocks and burns.

A hard hat is designed with a rigid shell that resists and deflects blows to the head and the suspension system inside the hat acts as a shock absorber. Depending on how the hard hat is made it can serve as an insulator against electrical shocks. Some hard hats can be modified so you can add face shields, goggles, hoods, or hearing protection to them.

For industrial purposes, three classes of helmets are recognized:

  • Class A: general service, limited voltage protection; impact resistant

  • Class B: utility service, high-voltage helmets; impact resistant

  • Class C: special service, no voltage protection, impact resistant

    • DO NOT protect you from electrical shocks; and

    • DO NOT protect you from corrosive substances.

      ANSI Requirements for Industrial Protective Helmets for Electrical Workers, Z89.2-1971, should be consulted for details. The standards for protective helmets purchased after July 5, 1994, are contained in ANSI Personnel Protection -- Protective Headwear for Industrial Workers-Requirements, Z89.1-1986. Later editions of these standards are available and acceptable for use.

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Eye and Face Protection

  • If you are exposed to flying particles, molten metals, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or radiation then safety glasses, goggles or a face shield are required. Some of these may be required to be worn together (i.e. goggles & face shield). Check your department's procedure.

  • The University has a prescription safety glasses program for employees that wear glasses. If you need prescription safety glasses, call EHS at (919) 962-5507 for further information.

    **Note: Contacts do not protect the eye from injury.

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Hand Protection

  • Gloves should be worn to prevent contact with chemicals, cuts, abrasions, punctures or exposure to temperature extremes.

  • Some Types of Gloves:

    • Nitrile (used with acids)

    • Rubber (used with electricity)

    • Latex (used with weak chemicals - not petroleum based chemicals)

    • Leather (used with sharp or rough surfaces)

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Foot Protection

  • If there is the potential in your job for injury to the foot due to falling or rolling objects, electrical shock, or objects that can pierce the sole of your shoe then foot protection is required. The University’s policy is that anyone lifting more than 15 pounds is required to wear safety shoes. The University will pay up to $80 for safety shoes in accordance with the office of State Personnel.

  • Within a safety shoe/boot you will find the American National Safety Standard ANSI Z41 PT 91 on the inner flap. Also, ASTM F 2412-05 and ASTM F 2413-05 may be found on these inner flaps of newer safety shoes. The information on this inner flap will tell you exactly what hazards you are protected against.

  • Housekeepers have a special type of safety shoe available to them called Gators. They are black rubber shoes with a red bottom that slide over your regular shoes. These shoes provide traction on wet or slippery surfaces.

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Respiratory Protection

  • A respirator is worn to prevent exposure to harmful dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smokes, sprays, or vapors. Wearing a respirator is a last resort. It should never be a first line of defense.

  • Our first line of defense is to "engineer out" the need for a respirator. Thus, a respirator is required in areas where exposure cannot be fully controlled.

  • At UNC-CH we have a written respiratory program in place. The program offers the following:

    • selection of respirators

    • annual medical evaluation

    • annual training

    • annual fit testing

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Types of Respirators

Air-Purifying Respirator (APR)

Can be negative pressure or positive pressure type.

Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA)

Supplied Air Respirators (SARs)

Filtering Facepiece (N95 Dust Mask)

Additional information concerning respiratory information can be located at our website, . The Respiratory Manual can be found within the IMAC Manual under the Manuals tab. Respiratory Training can be found under the Self Study Units by using the Training tab.

Contact Information for Respiratory Protection:

Workplace Safety

Phone: (919) 962-5507

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Hazards and Type of Respirator Needed

  • Certain conditions require the use of a respirator. These conditions include:

    • Oxygen deficient less than 19.5% oxygen. (This requires a self contained breathing apparatus [SCBA] or Supplied Air Respirators [SAR])

    • Contaminated atmospheres (full or half face positive pressure respirators)

      • Dusts

      • Sprays

      • Fumes

      • Vapors

      • Smoke

      • Harmful gases

    • Biological exposure (N95)

      • Anthrax

      • Smallpox

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Respirator Use and Storage

  • Your life may depend on having your respirator in good working order. Before each use inspect your respirator for damage and defects. Check for:

    • tightness of connections

    • condition of all parts

    • damage to facepiece, head straps, valves, connecting tube, cartridges, canisters, filters and any other parts

    • facepiece for pliable or deteriorated parts

  • After using your respirator be sure to clean it according to the manufacturer's guidelines. Store your respirator in a sealed plastic bag or plastic container to protect it from:

    • Damage

    • Contamination

    • Dust

    • Sunlight

    • Extreme temperatures

    • Moisture

    • Chemicals

  • If you will be storing your respirator in a work vehicle be sure to put your respirator in a sealed bag and then in the box it came in to help deflect the heat that builds up in the vehicles over the summer months. Heat will warp your respirator over a period of time.

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Hearing Conservation Program (HCP)

  • Excessive noise can damage your hearing, it can also cause fatigue and stress. Hearing protection should be used when working around loud noises for extended periods of time.

  • Our first line of defense is to evaluate the area to see if the noise can be "engineered out". Using engineering controls might include erecting sound barriers, insulating the equipment, or closing off the equipment entirely.

  • The University has a Hearing Conservation Program which is a written program that requires annual training and annual audiometric testing to help prevent the loss of hearing. The OSHA standard requires anyone who is exposed to a noise level of 85 decibels or higher over an 8 Time Weighted Average (TWA) hour period to be part of the Hearing Conservation Program. OSHA requires the employer to provide training in the use of all hearing protectors provided to employees. At UNC-CH the following hearing protectors are available:

    • Earplugs

    • Earmuffs

    • Ear Bands

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How to Insert Earplugs

  • When ear protection is worn, it is important that it be used properly. Improper use of hearing protection can reduce its effectiveness and put your hearing at risk.

  • Here are the steps to take when donning (putting on) hearing protection:

  • Make sure hands are clean. Dirt and moisture in your ear canal can cause infection.

  • Compress the plug between your thumb and forefinger.

  • With the opposite hand, pull outer ear backward and upward, then insert plug as far into ear as possible.

  • Hold your finger against the plug until it starts to expand.

  • For preformed plugs, pull outer ear backward and upward. Insert plug by twisting and pushing until it fits snugly and you feel a vacuum-like seal.

  • When doffing (taking off) hearing protection, again be sure hands are clean.

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Areas at UNC-CH With High Noise Levels

  • When performing certain activities like welding or woodworking, hearing protection may be needed even though you are not part of the Hearing Conservation Program. Areas identified with high noise levels at UNC include:

    • Cogeneration Facility

    • Chiller Plants

    • Grounds Department

    • Airports

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Who Cleans Up?

EHS will respond to reported chemical spills and mercury spills. Laboratories are also capable of cleaning up the majority of spills. Spill kits can be purchased through Fisher Scientific (SR64125).

Refer to the Laboratory Safety Data Sheet on Chemical Spills.

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Dealing With a Spill

If a spill occurs in your lab, be sure to control the spill area. Assess whether you can clean up the spill. If yes, utilize your chemical spill kit. Then place the waste in disposal containers and submit a waste pick-up request on-line. If the spill involves radioactive materials, be sure to report the spill to EHS Radiation Safety: (919) 962-5507.

Cases in which EHS should be called to clean-up spills:

  • >100 mL of highly toxic chemical

  • >one liter of volatile solvent

  • >one liter of corrosive solvent

  • If the laboratory feels assistance is needed

    Call 911 if the spill occurs after 5:00 pm or on weekends.

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Radiation Hazard Risks

  • Laboratory personnel are required to inform you of any hazard risks associated with the equipment or area where you are required to work. They are required to clear the area of all hazardous materials and decontaminate surfaces and equipment. The safety clearance form (HSO Form 401) is required to certify that equipment and/or a room is considered safe.

  • Any equipment in the laboratory which could have been contaminated with radioactive material must be surveyed by lab personnel before removal to another laboratory, transfer to a repair shop, or transfer to Surplus Property. Before the equipment is transferred and following a satisfactory survey, all warning signs and stickers must be removed. The safety clearance form (HSO Form 401) is to be posted on the decontaminated equipment. This form should be provided to the appropriate personnel to show that the equipment is considered safe for any use.

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Radiation Dos and Don'ts

  • Radiation Do's

    • Do work on equipment if safety clearance form is attached. Hazard labels should be removed or covered by the safety clearance form.

    • Do move/work on surplus equipment if safety clearance form is attached and hazard labels have been removed.

    • Do keep safety clearance form with equipment at all times.

    • Do ask laboratory personnel about any questions you may have as to whether the equipment or area is safe for you to work.

    • Do call Environment, Health & Safety (919) 962-5507 if you have concerns about equipment clearance.

  • Radiation Don'ts

    • Don’t accept equipment without safety clearance form and hazard labels removed.

    • Don’t work on equipment without the safety clearance form attached.

    • Don’t remove equipment from lab which still has hazard labels on it.

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Hazardous Waste

  • Hazardous Waste is created when there is no further use for a solid or liquid chemical.

  • This waste is our responsibility from when we create it-- until forever. This is described as being from "Cradle to Grave". Therefore, proper documentation is important whenever waste is picked up and disposed of.

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What is Chemical Waste?

  • Chemical waste is, used, obsolete or unwanted chemicals such as: acids, bases, aerosol cans, paints, solvents, batteries, photographic film, and cleaners.

  • We at UNC are concerned that chemicals will make their way into our creeks and rivers. The following items are examples of chemicals/liquids that should not be poured outside on the ground, into outside storm drains, or into floor drains: mop water, paint, oil, chemicals, etc. Waste put in storm drains and floor drains eventually ends up in our rivers and oceans. The best practice is to pour mop water down sink drains that go directly into the sanitary sewer system. Chemical waste should be disposed of by calling (919) 962-5507.

  • If you see anyone pour liquids down the storm water drains or floor drains please notify EHS at (919) 962-5507.

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Disposal of Chemical Waste

The Department of Environment, Health and Safety disposes of chemical waste generated by the University. Contact EHS at (919) 962-5507 to learn how to request a chemical waste pick up or go to and use the "Quick Links" drop-down menu on the left to select "Waste Pick-Up". The link will take you to the Online Waste Pickup System.

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What is a Biohazard Waste?

  • Biological hazards are also referred to as biohazards. Biohazards are infectious microorganisms, biological allergens, and toxins that can affect the health of humans. Biohazard materials also include any equipment that was used such as syringes, pipettes and scalpel blades. This includes any animal carcasses and items used for their care that have been exposed to infectious agents.

  • Since it is considered biohazardous waste, it cannot go to the landfill as is. On campus we use a process called autoclaving to decontaminate the waste prior to disposal.

  • Autoclaving provides sterilization through superheated steam under pressure. Autoclaving has the ability to destroy pathogens, thus rendering the waste harmless.

  • All biohazardous waste must be autoclaved to decontaminate the waste before disposal in the landfill. If the landfill does not recognize our waste as being decontaminated they will call us to come and pick it up; then we have to autoclave it and then send it back to the landfill.

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Steps to Disposal of Biohazard Waste

1. Biohazard waste placed in orange bag. Also known as biohazard or infectious waste bags.

2. Sealed with a heat sensitive tape placed over the biohazard symbol prior to autoclaving

3. Waste in autoclaved

4. When removed from the autoclave the heat sensitive tape has markings on it. Either lines appear or the word "autoclaved".

5. Autoclaved waste goes in white barrel marked "autoclaved/decontaminated waste only".

6. Finally place the waste into the dumpster. This picture has a large sticker on each bag that states the material is 'decontaminated'. This is an acceptable method to label decontaminated materials.

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Broken Glass and Other Sharp Objects

  • Non-contaminated and/or decontaminated glassware and sharps are to be placed in a plastic bag within a cardboard box. It is recommended that all glass items be disposed in this manner. The box will be picked up by Housekeeping personnel, indicating "CAUTION, GLASS AND SHARPS, NON-HAZARDOUS MATERIAL ONLY".

  • Sharp objects such as needles, scalpels, or razor blades are to be disposed of in plastic sharps containers. Red containers, marked with a biohazard symbol should be used for potentially contaminated sharps. White or clear plastic containers should be used for non-hazardous sharps.

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Introduction To Lead and Asbestos

  • Exposure to lead and asbestos can be hazardous. Originally lead and asbestos were used in construction of buildings due to their physical properties. For Asbestos:

    • Flexibility

    • High tensile strength

    • High electrical resistance

    • Resistance to thermal degradation

    • Resistant to chemicals

    • Virtually indestructible

  • Lead:

    • Durable & very workable (pliable)

    • Does not corrode

    • Does not readily crack due to building settling

    • Does not readily burst with freezing or thawing

    • Expands when water freezes

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What is Asbestos?

  • Asbestos is a generic name given to the fibrous variety of six naturally occurring minerals that have been used in commercial products. These bundles of fiber make up asbestos.

  • The two most common forms of asbestos used in building materials are chrysotile (white asbestos) and amosite (brown asbestos).

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How Does Asbestos Affect my Health?

  • Once inhaled, the small, inert asbestos fibers can easily penetrate the body's defenses. They are deposited and retained in the airways and tissues of the lungs called the alveoli. In the alveoli, the location of gas exchange, asbestos causes the development of scar tissue. This thickening of the alveoli wall reduces the amount of oxygen available to the body. Because asbestos fibers remain in the body, each exposure increases the likelihood of developing an asbestos disease. There are 3 major diseases that are caused by asbestos exposure:

  • Asbestosis is a condition caused by asbestos inhalation that decreases a persons ability to breathe normally. It is a slowly progressive disease with a latency period of 15 to 30 years.

  • Lung Cancer is a malignant tumor of the bronchi covering. The tumor grows through surrounding tissue, invading and often obstructing air passages. The latency period for lung cancer is 20 to 30 years. Smoking can increase the risk of lung cancer up to 90 times.

  • Mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the chest cavity and the abdominal cavity, usually fatal. Normally fatal within 6 months of diagnosis. Similar to other asbestos related diseases, mesothelioma has a longer latency period of 30 to 40 years.

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Where is Asbestos Located on Campus?

  • Asbestos containing materials (ACM) may be found in some campus buildings. There are three types of Asbestos Containing Materials:

  • Surfacing Materials (SM): Sprayed or troweled-on materials used on ceilings or walls, as decorative, acoustical, and fire proofing in homes, buildings, and schools.

  • Thermal System Insulation (TSI): Insulation around boilers, on water and steam pipe elbows, tees, fittings, pipe runs, and duct systems.

  • Miscellaneous Materials (MM): This includes all materials containing asbestos which were not included in the above groups. For example: floor tile, joint compound in sheet rock, ceiling tiles, roofing materials, transite siding, caulking, cement pipe, kiln insulation, electrical panel insulation and wiring, fire brick, tar, and others.

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Lead: Health Affects and Where it is Found

Lead is used in the manufacture of batteries, metal products, paints, and ceramic glazes. Exposure to lead can occur from breathing contaminated workplace air, house dust, eating lead-based paint chips, or contaminated dirt. Lead is a very toxic element, causing a variety of effects at low dose levels. Children are particularly sensitive to the chronic effects of lead, resulting in slowed cognitive development, reduced growth and other effects. Reproductive effects, such as decreased sperm count in men and spontaneous abortions in women, have been associated with high lead exposure. The developing fetus is at particular risk from maternal lead exposure, with low birth weight and slowed postnatal neurobehavioral development as possible effects.

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Lead-Based Paint and Other Common Uses

Lead-based paints were commonly used until 1978 and may be present in some campus buildings. The University is responsible for keeping all lead-based paint located in campus buildings built before 1978 in good condition. Lead exposure may occur from flaking paint, paint chips, and weathered paint powder.

Since the 1980's, EPA and its federal partners have phased out lead in gasoline, reduced lead in drinking water, reduced lead in industrial air pollution, and banned or limited lead used in consumer products, including residential paint.

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Asbestos & Lead Awareness

  • Asbestos and lead are safe as long as:

    • They are in a solid state.

    • They are not disturbed.

    • Floor or ceiling tiles are not broken or cracked.

    • Insulation is not cracked.

    • Paint is not peeling or being washed into a water source.

    • If you have doubts about the safety of a condition you find, contact your supervisor so that EHS can investigate.

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Protect Yourself

What can you do to protect yourself? Report to your supervisor any suspected asbestos that is broken or cracked, abnormal dust or any peeling paint. Your supervisor will contact EHS to report any asbestos or lead concerns (919) 962-5507.

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Musculoskeletal Disorders

IMAC and Support Services personnel may be at risk for developing musculoskeletal disorders during routine tasks such as lifting, and repetitive tool use. Musculoskeletal disorders, also called cumulative trauma disorders or repetitive strain injuries, are gradual-onset injuries that usually occur after repeated micro-trauma to a specific body part. They may take weeks, months or years to develop and are often ignored at first due to the slow onset of symptoms.

Musculoskeletal disorders are disorders of the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage and spinal discs. Musculoskeletal disorders which commonly affect IMACS/Support Services personnel include: Trigger finger, Low Back Pain, Lateral Epicondylitis, and Carpal tunnel syndrome.

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MSD Warning Signs

  • The parts of the body susceptible to musculoskeletal disorders do not always have nerve endings designed to tell us that a musculoskeletal disorder is developing. Instead, we must rely on warning signs given to us from nearby parts of the body. For example, in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, the hands often feel sore and tingly, like they have fallen asleep. The problem is not in the hands, however, it is in the median nerve where it passes through the wrists. The wrists may only feel mildly sore or may feel no pain at all. The following warning signs serve as a signal that ergonomic stressors are present and need to be corrected.

  • Lingering symptoms such as...

    • Discomfort - pain. If it wakes you up at night, follows you home, or appears as soon as you get to work, take notice!

    • Tingling - numbness.

    • Burning

    • Swelling

    • Change in color

    • Tightness, loss of flexibility

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Ergonomic Stressors Related to MSD’s

  • Ergonomics is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of the interactions among human and other elements of a system. The goal of ergonomics is to find ways to arrange the workstation, work tools and work practices to minimize potential for musculoskeletal disorders.

  • Ergonomics is concerned with eliminating or minimizing the following Ergonomic Stressors found in routine tasks:

    • Force – High force tasks involve heavy exertion for the muscles involved.

    • Repetition – performing the same movements over and over with little change in motions or muscle use.

    • Extreme/Awkward/Static Postures – Prolonged or repeated time spent holding joints in an awkward or fixed position.

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Safe Lifting

  • By age 50, approximately 85% of Americans have had one or more episodes of back pain. In working-age adults, back problems are the most frequent cause of activity limitations. Lifting incorrectly can increase the risk of developing a back injury.

  • Remember the section on musculoskeletal disorders? If small tears build up in our tissues faster than they can heal, an MSD can result. This is how many back injuries are thought to occur. Tiny cracks develop in the shock-absorbing spinal disks between vertebrae during lifting. Too much lifting, especially incorrect lifting, can cause those cracks to build up faster than the disk can heal until the disk starts to buldge or rupture. Force on the spine creates those tears. The more force, the more likely a tear will occur.

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Safe Lifting (cont’d…)

  • Careful, there's a trick to the whole "force" idea! Take a look at the picture. Think of your back as a teeter-totter with the spine as the pivot point. In order to balance the teeter-totter the muscles in your back (the red arrow) have to produce much more force than the 20 lbs the load weighs (blue arrow). This is because the force exerted times the distance from the pivot have to be equal for both sides. Don't worry about the exact math, just know that the closer you can get the load to yourself, the less your back will have to work.

  • One more thing, the spine is weakest when you twist (ie, it takes less force to damage it) and also when you bend.

  • The next few slides use those principals (keep the load close, spine weakest in twisting/bending and general safety) to demonstrate good lifting techniques.

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  • Remember:

    • If it looks heavy or awkward, it probably is; ask someone to help you, or use a mechanical lift

    • Think about the distance and height to the destination before lifting

    • Do not carry more than 30 pounds by yourself

    • Get help for objects with a width 18 inches or greater

    • If possible, break the load down and make several trips with more manageable loads

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  • Remember:

    • Feet shoulder width apart

    • Crouch not stoop

    • Get a good grip on the object

    • Keep the object close to your body

    • As you grip the load, keep your back straight, shoulders back, and stick your buttocks out.

    • Let you legs push your body up slowly and smoothly, no jerking motions.

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Carry and Placement

  • Precautions to take when carrying and setting a load down:

    • Elbows close to your side and at right angles

    • Move smoothly avoiding quick movements

    • No twisting while lifting or carrying, move your feet to pivot

    • Set the load down:

      • squat down

      • bending at the hips and knees

      • keep your lower back arched inwards

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Technique for the Occasional Lifter

  • Stand close to the load, and get a good grip on the object.

  • Bend your knees not your back!

  • Let your legs do the lifting.

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The Right Tools for the Job

Sometimes you will encounter objects that are too heavy, large, or oddly shaped for you to safely lift unassisted. Look for tools you can use to help you with the lift or take the time to get someone to help with the lifting. In some situations (reaching into a deep bin for example) it may not be possible to use the ideal lifting technique. In those situations it is more important to bring the load close to you than to bend the knees.

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Awkward Places

If you must lift or lower from a high place:

  • Stand on a platform instead of a ladder

  • Lift the load in smaller pieces if possible

  • Push the load to see how heavy and stable it is

  • Slide the load as close to yourself as possible before lifting up or down

  • Get help when needed to avoid an injury

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How to Let the Right People Know

  • If you are experiencing any of these warning signs, you should immediately

    • Report the symptoms to your supervisor

    • Complete the Workers' Compensation Forms

    • Be evaluated at the UEOHC [(919) 966-9119]

  • The UEOHC will contact the EHS Ergonomist, explain the symptoms and request an ergonomic evaluation of your workstation. The Ergonomist will make recommendations that includes specific work strategy controls.

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Workplace SafetyPhone:

1120 Estes Drive Ext.

Campus Box 1650

Chapel Hill, NC, 27599