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Industrial Maintenance & Construction,
& Support Services Environment
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.
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)
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 http://ehs.unc.edu.
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.
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.
If you are interested in serving on one of the committees please feel free to contact the EHS office at (919) 962-5507.
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
can prevent a fire from occurring and provide employees with a safe passage in the event of a fire.
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:
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.
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 - 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.
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:
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:
In an emergency, each Emergency Coordinator is responsible for the following in accordance with the University Emergency Plan:
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.
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.
A few fire safety reminders:
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.
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.
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.
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.
For further information concerning University policies on workplace injuries and illnesses, refer to the "Workers' Compensation" pages on the EHS web site.
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.
The four elements of the program include:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
As previously stated, “Distinct hazards” are chemicals in which there is scientific evidence that a health, physical, and/or environmental hazards may occur.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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
Examples: Butane and Propane
Exploding Bomb symbol will appear on chemicals that have explosive properties.
Examples: Nitroglycerine and TNT, Gunpowder, Rocket propellants, and Pyrotechnic mixtures (fireworks).
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:
Flame over circle symbol will appear on chemicals that are:
Examples: Hydrogen Peroxide and Nitrous Oxide
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.
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:
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
A Precautionary Statement is a statement that describes recommended measures that should be taken to minimize or prevent adverse effects.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
OSHA has developed an extensive web page to provide additional resources for employees at
Guidance & Outreach
Supervisors can find printable guidance material that can be utilized when training employees.
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.
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.
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:
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.
**Note: Contacts do not protect the eye from injury.
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, www.ehs.unc.edu . 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:
Phone: (919) 962-5507
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.
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:
Call 911 if the spill occurs after 5:00 pm or on weekends.
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 www.ehs.unc.edu 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you must lift or lower from a high place:
Workplace SafetyPhone: 919.962.5507Web:www.ehs.unc.edu
1120 Estes Drive Ext.
Campus Box 1650
Chapel Hill, NC, 27599