We are proud to announce the official launch of our new safety management system,HuskySMS, powered by BioRAFT. This new system replaces multiple current EHS tools, making HuskySMS your one stop shop for:
EHS Safety Training
o Employee Safety Training Assessments (ESTA)
o Training Registration and Records
o Online Training Access and Completion
o COVID-19 Training Confirmations and Certificates
o Communication with EHS
Training Reminders are Back
Beginning this week, you may see emails communicating that new safety training requirements have been assigned to you in the system or reminders that you have safety training due dates coming up soon. Emails that come from BioRAFT, @bioraft.com, are automated messages from HuskySMS. Emails that come from your EHS team members using HuskySMS will be listed as vendor emails, NAME@vendor.edu. These are NOT junk mail or spam. They are information about your safety compliance from your Environmental Health and Safety team.
Click above to learn more about how your EHS team will be here to support our UConn community through the COVID-19 pandemic. If you need to contact one of our team members, you are encouraged to visit our EHS Contacts page for email addresses.
Lower the air temperature, or increase air movement
Try various shielding, ventilation, insulation, and humidity reduction methods
Use spot cooling fans, evaporative cooling, air conditioning, general ventilation, and local exhaust ventilation at points of high heat production
When temperatures exceed 95° F, increasing air movement becomes ineffective in cooling
Work Practice Controls
Establish work-rest cycles that increase frequency and duration of rest breaks.
Provide breaks in a cooler environment and removal of PPE during breaks.
Train workers and supervisors to recognize the early warning signs of heat stress.
Acclimate to the hot work environment, and take time to acclimate after long periods of time away from the hot environment (i.e., after vacations).
Provide water (not caffeinated beverages), and a have hydration plan. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty.
Wear light, loose clothing that permits evaporation of sweat, preferably cotton.
Heat as a Job Hazard
Heat is a year-round job hazard in some workplaces on campus. During summer months, employees have a greater risk of experiencing heat related illnesses. When a person works in a hot environment, the body must get rid of excess heat to maintain a stable internal temperature. It does this mainly through circulating blood to the skin, and by sweating.
When the air temperature is close to (or warmer than) normal body temperature, blood circulated to the skin cannot lose its heat. Sweating then becomes the main way the body cools off, but sweating is only effective if the humidity level is low enough to allow for evaporation and if the lost fluids and salts are replaced. If the body cannot get rid of excess heat, it will store it. When this happens the body’s core temperature rises and the heart and breathing rates increase. When heat gain exceeds heat loss, symptoms of heat strain (the physiological response to heat stress) can develop. There is no specific standard or temperature for identification of heat stress.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion:
• Heat rash
• Heavy sweating
• Intense thirst
• Rapid pulse
• Fatigue and weakness
Action: Move employee to cool environment, take steps to initiate cooling, provide fluids and allow to rest.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke: A true medical emergency:
• High body temperature
• Lack of sweating – hot, red, dry skin
• Rapid pulse
• Difficulty breathing
• Disorientation, erratic behavior
Action: Contact 911 immediately and take steps to cool the victim!
Heat Safety Facts
The human body functions best within an internal temperature range of 98.6-100.4° F.
The body has a natural ability to increase tolerance to heat stress through acclimation. Bodies are then able to sweat more and increase their cooling capability.
How a person responds to heat stress is variable and dependent upon age, overall health, weight, medications, dehydration, and activities.
As the summer advances, be aware of the signs of heat strain, for yourself and your fellow co-workers. Follow recommended engineering and work practice controls. Report any concerns to your management or EHS.
EHS is pleased to announce that our Chemical Health and Safety team presented updates of the current UConn Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) to the research community on March 1st, 2019. The CHP is a mandatory written safety program required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure worker protection in laboratories. Interested in seeing what’s new? In collaboration with the UConn research community, the following areas in the CHP have officially been finalized and updated:
1. Controlled Substances
To ensure researchers working with controlled substances comply with applicable DEA and CT-DCP regulations regarding the management of controlled substances
2. Emergency Door Hangtag
To ensure researchers prevent reentry by other lab personnel during emergency situations. This Emergency Door Hangtag will be provided to labs by EHS.
To ensure researchers are not overexposed to formaldehyde and to comply with the OSHA Formaldehyde regulation
4. Waste Minimization
To ensure researchers are taking measures to reduce the amount of waste generated in labs as required by EPA (40 CFR 262.27)
5. ANSI Z87.1 Certified Eyewear
EHS has updated the wording throughout the CHP to “ANSI Z87.1- certified eyewear.” The previous version states “ANSI-Z87.1 safety glasses or safety goggles.” Rather than specify only two options, the change in wording allows supervisory personnel to choose the best form of eye protection for their researchers.
We would like to recognize everyone who contributed to or commented on the updates to the CHP. As in previous years, the information and insights provided by the research community have helped us develop a better resource for lab personnel. Under OSHA, the CHP is required to be updated annually. EHS will continue to reach out to the research community prior to finalizing any future changes.
Note: Emergency Door Hangtags will be provided to the research community by EHS over the next few months or upon request. The hangtags must be stored near the exit door of the lab and only be used to deny entry when emergencies occur.
Registration for the Controlled Substances Training is now available on our EHS training webpage. Please note, it must be completed through HuskyCT with a score of 100% by each registrant and authorized lab worker. Because this is an HTML5 interactive training, please avoid using Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge as your browser when taking the training.
Thank you to all members of the university community who took time to review the policy, and thank you in advance to everyone who will complete the new Controlled Substances Training. As always, your time and collaboration are valued.
If you have questions, concerns, or suggestions, please contact our office.
October 18, 2018, Chief Hans Rhynhart, Associate Vice President and Chief of Police, publicly welcomed the Division of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) to the Division of Public Safety team. This acknowledgement was part of the annual Division of Public Safety Promotions and Recognition Ceremony. Staff from all UConn campuses committed to keeping UConn a safe place to work, research, and learn filled the Public Safety Complex for the event, a short pause in the day to celebrate professional accomplishments, new talent, and emerging opportunities.
The UConn Police/Fire Honor Guard opened the ceremonies with the presentation of the colors and national anthem. In addition to Chief Rhynhart, honored speakers included Master Sergeant Gerald Post, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Scott Jordan, and Fire Chief William Perez. In addition to EHS, staff were recognized from the Office of Emergency Management, the Fire Marshal and Building Inspectors Office, the Police Department, UConn Farmington, and the Office of Environmental Policy. Our favorite furry colleague, Facility Dog Tildy, was even recognized as a new addition to the Public Safety team.
We in EHS are proud to now be part of the Division of Public Safety. As members of our new Division, we will continue to support research, teaching, learning, and the meaningful work of staff in all areas of campus. As always, we will continue to collaborate with and support faculty, staff, and students at UConn Storrs and all regional campuses. Our offices will also remain in the same location. We look forward to seeing you on Horsebarn Hill for safety training soon!
EHS is proud to announce that a fully updated and revised Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) is now available on our website. This new CHP went into effect on July 16th, 2018.
The UConn Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) is mandatory written safety program required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure worker protection in laboratories. UConn’s previous CHP had been in effect without major revisions since 1991. EHS presented an updated draft to the research community for review and edits during February and March.
With the guidance of the Chemical Hygiene Committee and the research community, EHS has finalized the updated Chemical Hygiene Plan to help ensure worker safety, prevent accidents, and maintain regulatory compliance in our research and teaching laboratories. The updated CHP includes new sections on emergency procedures, compressed gases, cryogenic liquids, nanomaterials, personal protective equipment, and respirators. In addition, a Signature Confirmation page has been developed and must be completed by lab personnel to ensure awareness of lab safety responsibilities.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Chemical Hygiene Plan. The information and insights provided by the research community have resulted in a more relevant, comprehensive, and useful safety resource for lab personnel. Under OSHA, the CHP is required to be updated annually and EHS will continue to reach out to the research community prior to finalizing any future changes.
Thursday, April 26th, a team of ten scholars reported their recent findings to an attentive group of representatives from Dining Services and Environmental Health and Safety at UConn. Their goal was to offer informed analysis of interview data about occupational health and safety collected from employees and assistant managers in Dining Services. Who were these influential scholars? They were all undergraduate students, mostly senior Psychological Science majors in Associate Professor Robert Henning’s new “Occupational Health Psychology” course (PCYC 3644). This professional presentation during their last class of the semester was the culmination of a semester of study plus data collection and analysis as a service learning project.
In his course description, Henning explains that students in this course will learn about “research-to-practice applications in the interdisciplinary field of occupational health psychology, and how these are used to enhance the safety, health, and well-being of workers.” One major assignment for the course is a service learning collaborative project that challenges students to apply theoretical knowledge to the real world of work.
To make this an exciting and authentic learning experience, Henning first sought out the help of Terri Dominguez, Director of Environmental Health and Safety at UConn. She made the initial contacts with Dining Services as a community partner willing to provide access to his undergraduate class. Assistant Director of Dining Services Mike White, always a safety advocate, took the lead role in making the project a reality, including helping to gain support from two local unions.
That’s where the most important work, the students’ work, began. After two intensive months of learning theoretical principles and best practices in workplace health and safety, they dedicated one month to conducting interviews with 60 Dining Services staff members serving in a variety of positions across five dining halls to determine how an already robust Dining Services safety program can be made even better. Under Henning’s supervision, students developed the interview protocols, translated the interview script into Spanish, created a qualitative database, and worked to analyze and summarize their findings into a usable format.
What did they learn? The students found that workers are acutely aware of the hazards in their jobs, such as heavy lifting, using dull knives, and cooking with hot oil. In addition to making a real effort to manage these hazards every day, workers often have creative ideas for new ways to manage these hazards. The students were also able to report on current practices related to return-to-work after an employee is injured, and the roles of assistant managers and coworkers. Most impressively, the students developed a set of recommendations of their own.
One of the most interesting findings was that additional training in leadership and team communication might be an effective strategy to improve workplace safety. This was especially relevant because of the diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds of Dining Services staff. As Andrea Lopez explained, there is no direct Spanish translation of the word “hazard.” The closest equivalent is “peligro,” meaning “danger.” Why does this matter? Most occupational hazards are not considered immediately life-threatening, which lessens the perception of their severity. This creates an obstacle to recognizing the ability to manage hazards or report them. A hazard, however, is something that cannot always be avoided, and needs to be managed — sometimes requiring a team effort.
So what’s next? Many of these students are now new alumni. We have no doubt that they will be able to use the professional analysis and presentation skills they learned and practiced in this course in whatever career path they choose. The benefits of this service learning project are not limited to the students, though. Professionals in Dining Services and beyond at UConn are planning on developing new safety initiatives based on the project findings and student recommendations.
Our thanks to Dining Services for supporting this student learning project, and congratulation to Henning’s PSYCH 3644 spring 2018 class. We wish you success in your next big adventure. Students today. Huskies forever.