[posted April 2014]
Safety comes first – Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) conducted an onsite inspection at Taos for the Room Rodeo Kick-off. EH&S checked the electric cords, cushion surrounding the activity, liability waiver, insurance certificate, and someone had to test the mechanical bull for safe operations. Assistant EH&S Director, David Shearer, stayed on the bull for a short time, had fun and landed safely. This modernized Aggie tradition includes an activity review and inspection. There are approximately 90 safety reviews each year of Campus Activities that involve various types of events.
[posted March 2014]
On February 28, Environmental Health & Safety trained seven Dona Ana Community College facility employees in tractor & equipment safety. Jose L. Gamon, Safety Specialist, instructed this training with assistance from Louie Hinojos, Facilities & Services Groundskeeper. Jose also provides Forklift, Aerial Lift and Boom Truck Safety courses that are designed to impart rules and practices for a safe operation of the equipment. He utilizes video presentations, classroom exercises and "hands-on" operation. The courses are designed to expose the trainees to a safe and efficient operation of the equipment per OSHA regulations, which will ultimately lead to the elimination of hazards in the work area.
[posted Feb 2014]
Luis Morales, EH&S environmental manager, lead a new initiative to recycle NMSU sealed lead acid batteries and non-PCB ballasts with local recycler USA Can Recycling Warehouse.
A meeting with USA Can management and a tour of the facility resulted in the facility being deemed acceptable for receipt of NMSU materials. USA Can will also pay NMSU by the pound for sealed lead acid batteries and non-PCB ballasts received for recycling. EH&S delivered ~3,000 pounds of batteries and ballasts and NMSU received a rebate check for ~$600.
In the past NMSU batteries and ballasts were sent to Phoenix for recycling for a modest fee, moving forward sealed lead acid batteries and Non-PCB ballasts will now continue to be recycled in Las Cruces which will result in additional cost savings/direct rebate checks.
The NMSU 2013 OSHA 300 log, a summary of 2013 NMSU accidents/injury, is posted on our safety.nmsu.edu website.
[posted Jan 13, 2014]
On Jan 13, Environmental Health & Safety honored David A. Rockstraw, Chemical Engineering Department Head, as a “Friend of Safety.” He was recognized for his efforts to enhance the culture of environmental health and safety and steps he has taken to improve laboratory safety at NMSU.
Katrina Doolittle, Executive Director for EH&S, presented the award at a laboratory safety seminar titled, Improving the Culture of Safety at NMSU, which was attended by 80 faculty and staff from the College of Engineering who learned about roles and responsibilities for safety and their important leadership role in promoting a positive safety culture.
University Communicaton NEWS release:
NMSU Chemical Engineering department head honored with safety award
Robert Emery with the Southwest Center for Occupational Environmental Health is the VP Safety, Health, Environment & Risk Management at Univ. Texas Health Science, Houston. He led the sessions using problem based learning and emergency scenarios based on university operations. Participants formulated proper response to emergency situations that could occur in a university environment. The second day focused on understanding university operations; needs of faculty; useful metrics/measures; increasing EH&S effectiveness; and effective presentations for decision making.
The Academy classes were attended by 35 employees from UTEP & NMSU. The NMSU component included EH&S staff as well as Chemical Hygiene Officers & Safety Coordinators from departments in the Colleges of Arts & Sciences, Engineering, and Agricultural, and from the Fire Department and University Health Center.
As part of the 2013 NMSU Homecoming events, EH&S inspected 36 entrys in the Oct 26, 2013 Homecoming Parade. This included 6 large floats (images), 4 medium floats, several lesser floats, cars, boats, and other entrants as well as 5 individuals on horseback.
All float entrants were required to attend a safety class on the NMSU Parade Float Safety Policy (http://goo.gl/nMZl54) in order to compete.
Photos of 2013 Homecoming Parade Activities
- HC Parade Lineup Inspecton photos
- Homecoming Floats Parade photos1
- Homecoming Floats Parade photos2
Access control restriction updates for utility tunnel areas Oct 22, 2013.
Posted October 12, 2013 (Oct15, memo/email via ABCD-distribution)
The Fall 2013 meeting for the University Safety Committee will meet the Safety Training Facility, room 110, Academic Research C. The meeting's purpose is to cover general information on employee injuries (summary), safety policy and related activities. Details at http://safety.nmsu.edu/news/updates/safety-committee-mtg.html
The University Safety Committee meeting is open to NMSU community and guests. If there are questions on this meeting or on safety concerns, please call NMSU EH&S at 646-3327.
The annual lab safety refreshers are set for
Oct 11, 1:30 pm in Jett 283;
Oct 24, 12 pm in Chemistry rm153;
Oct 25, 3:30 pm in Gerald Thomas 194; and
Oct 31, 4 pm in Foster 231.
More details are provided at http://safety.nmsu.edu/news/updates/2013-fall-lab-refresher.html
Fall 2013 Maintenance Safety Training Blitz.
On September 11th, 12th & 13th, Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) hosted and provided 640 contact hours of safety instruction through six 4-hr long refresher training sessions we call the Maintenance Safety Training Blitz. This safety training was directed at and included approximately 160 affected employees from the Facility Services, Housing, Special Events, Physical Science Laboratory, Corbett and ACES.
The EH&S and NMSU FD instructors presented each session. EH&S Safety Specialists Jose Gamon and John Larson and Assistant Directors David Shearer and Jack Kirby instructed classes in Safe Campus Driving, Job Hazard Analysis, Asbestos and Stormwater Awareness, respectively. They were joined by Fire Captains Chris Aerts and Kellen Tarkington who covered the principles of fire safety. It was a great week to teach about Storm water management with the New Mexico monsoon season providing an unusual 5 days of cloudy weather with drizzy and rain. More information is provided on the EH&S website at http://safety.nmsu.edu/news/updates/2013-maintenance-trainin.html
Posted August 22 & 29, 2013
Posted August 22, 2013
As part of 2013 Community Outreach, EH&S helped host a 5 day/30 hour, OHSA 510 Safety course on Aug 19-23.
The classes were presented by an instructor from UT Arlington, an OSHA Training Institute (UT Arlington OSHA flyer). This course covers the OSHA standards for the construction industry found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1926 along with other relevant policies, procedures, and safety and health principles for the construction industry with special emphasison on areas that are the most hazardous and most frequently cited by OSHA.
The class included 13 attendees from New Mexico (Albuquerque, White Sands, Las Cruces) and Texas (El Paso, Fort Bliss).
Posted August 2013
On August 15, EH&S moved 20 containers of peroxides-forming waste chemicals from campus research labs. This is not a common occurrence and is one that required extra safety procedures. Caution is required in handling any material containing peroxides as they ignite easily, burn rapidly and intensely, and can be explosive. Peroxides can form spontaneously in certain chemicals used in research labs.
Photos 1 & 2 shows EH&S employees checking a 500 ml container before transporting it from the lab. Safety glasses, face shields, heavy gloves, heavy lab coats, and other personal protective equipment were in use. EH&S also secured a class D fire extinguisher and had it available during the transfer. This work took three transport trips in order to maintain a small amount and to keep the potentially explosive chemicals separate.
1. categorizing the peroxide former,
2. adding labels to clearly identify them and
3. marking the open date and safe disposal dates.
This policy was compiled from many sources and takes a strong conservative approach in the interest of health and safety of those that work with and those that dispose of these chemicals. Additional information on this topic is linked on the EHS website at the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for peroxide formers and explosive chemicals
In total, EH&S moved 15 containers of organic peroxides, ranging from 100 ml to 5 gallon, of tetrahydrofuran, diethyl ether, potassium metal, and 3 unknowns plus several containers of lithium aluminum hydrides. These chemicals will be kept in secured and conditioned storage until an explosive expert deactivates them, which will allow the hazardous waste disposal company to remove them for final disposal.
[Posted July 26]
The asbestos abatement (removal) in west wing of Jett Hall (photo) in support of the Jett Hall fire restoration and at a small abatement project in support the remodel of Hershel Zohn Theater (photo) and portions of Branson Library for the Institute for Public Policy were completed on July 20, 2013.
Over the last two week (July 5-19), the 2nd floor and then 1st floor of Jett were closed and sealed while the asbestos was removed by a certified asbestos contractor. In addition the building air was monitored to ensure that the hazardous fibers were confined in the contained areas.
In total approximately 7 cubic yards of asbestos containing materials (ACM) & debris were removed. The Jett Hall restoration work under FS Projects continues and is expected to be complete by mid-August. The Institute for Public Policy remodel has been in progress since late December 2012 and some 56 cubic yard of ACM have been removed. The IPP project under FS Projects continues and is scheduled for completion by 2015.
Any NMSU building built prior to 1982 is expected to contain asbestos (listing). A listing of 2012 ACM abatment projects arranged & supported by EH&S is at http://safety.nmsu.edu/faq/2012/2012_1231-ACM-Project-2012manage.pdf EH&S also provides Asbestos Awareness training classes for employees that work in area where ACM is located and/or may encounter ACM. Further information on NMSU precautions with asbestos is provided in the industrial safety section under programs on the safety website and in the NMSU Asbestos Operations and Maintenance Program document
[Posted July 25, 2012]
On july 22, the NMSU Communicable Disease Preparedness Committee (CDPC) and Emergency Planning Committee held a health related disaster exercise engaging NMSU and community partners. Through use of three campus locations & technology, the exercise connected 52 participants, including NM Department of Health, NM Environment Department, NM Office of Emergency Management, FBI, and Sodexo.
NMSU groups include members of the Central Administration Response Team, Academic Department Heads in College of Agriculture, Research Compliance Office, Campus Health Center, Housing, University Communications, KRWG, ICT, Facilities Operations, EH&S, Fire, Police, Purchasing & Risk Management, Athletics, NMDA, Agricultural Extension, and Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee. The Southwest Border Food Safety & Defense Center administered this exercise which was funded under a sub-grant from the United States Department of Homeland Security and the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
The exercise scenario involved an NMSU 4-H event and lettuce contaminated with salmonella from a supplier, a likely scenario based on nation-wide food recall notices where suppliers have found various types of contamination in their food products (see image & CDC case listing of Salmonella outbreaks).
The FBI participated in the event with possiblity that the contamination might be an intentional act, where they would become engaged.
Student tweeting brought light to the impact of social media, how fast news travels and the importance of monitoring and responding with a unified message to keep clear communication flowing.
Many strengths were identified and further improvements are proposed via NMSU’s Emergency Planning and Communicable Disease Preparedness Committees.
[posted July 16]
On July 11 & 12 Environmental Health & Safety [EH&S] responded & cleaned up a hazardous material spill in the Engineering Complex concrete & materials lab.
The good news is no one was exposed or injured and the material was not released to the City of Las Cruces sanitary sewers. The bad news is the estimated 100 ml of mercury from a broken glass manometer (photo 1) mixed with other materials in a drain sump (photo 2) resulting in 2 drums (~15 cubic feet) of mercury contaminated debris and 4 drums of water & mercury (photo 3).
NMSU must comply with strict wastewater discharge limits by the City of Las Cruces and there are stiff EPA penalties for noncompliance. In 2002 NMSU’s Pollution Prevention Mandate restricted the use of mercury compounds (http://safety.nmsu.edu/policies/memo_pollution_prvt_mercury.htm). Essential use of mercury as well as inventory amounts and the safety data must be documented with EH&S to ensure compliance with NMSU policy, OSHA regulations and EPA requirements.
[Posted June 23]
EH&S announces that a new 25mph laser speed sign has been installed on Stewart Ave near Equestrian Center and is now operating. It was installed in interest of campus traffic safety as reminder of the new reduced speed along this campus roadway with high pedestrian cross traffic.
A similar sign installed by EH&S in August 2011 near the Chamisa Village crosswalk (LINK). The unit has been helpful in reducing speed along the roadway section and near the Chamisa Village crosswalk.
NMSU designated Bicycle Friendly University .
[posted May 2013]
The status recognizes the university's commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies. The NMSU taskforce submitted the BFU application in February (details)
NMSU has taken numerous steps in the last year to increase safe-bicycling practices on campus, including
1. increasing bicycle traffic law enforcement,
2. cyclist safety training classes,
3. newfeeds on bicycle rules of the road,
4. working to improved bicycle security on campus,
5. safety improvements on campus streets and
6. a bicycle advocate website at bike.nsmu.edu
[posted May 23]
The Environmental Protection Agency requires water system operators to test and publish an annual report on the quality of water delivered. NMSU, through Facility Services (FS), owns and operates the campus water system.
The NMSU Consumer Confidence Report describing the 2012 testing and NMSU's water quality was emailed to the NMSU Community in May. NMSU provides a very good quality drinking water that is safe and has not exceeded any contaminant levels established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency's "Safe Drinking Water Standards" during the past year.
A copy of the report is available on the Facility Services home page at http://www.ofs.nmsu.edu/, directly at http://goo.gl/NekNy or via EH&S web at http://safety.nmsu.edu/faq/2013/2013_0523-NMSU2012CCWaterReport.pdf (pdf copy).
More: Information and reports on Las Cruces drinking water, EPA water standards & contaminants as well as frequently asked questions on water quality are available at
Work continues as EH&S collects data for NMSU's greenhouse report.
EH&S and Central Utility Plant have been working to collect data for NMSU’s 2012 calendar year Greenhouse Gas Report which will be publicly published this Fall. The good news is the amount of carbon dioxide emission in 2012 is 5% less than in 2011. NMSU’s turbine and three boilers only burn natural gas which is a relatively clean fuel. Also, the turbine only generates electricity that is needed on campus and the boilers only generate heat that is needed on campus and when it’s not needed, the units are adjusted down.
Katrina Doolittle Phd, Executive Director, EH&S, has received the university’s 2013 Ralph B. Crouch Memorial Award.
NMSU Interim President Manuel Pacheco presented the award to Doolittle on April 30.
Distracted Driving Video from NSC
(video - 1953 vintage film)
NMSU Annual Laboratory Inspections set for 2013 (posted April 2013)
The Annual Laboratory Inspection program has been conducted each summer for the last six years. For 2013, we will start on early May with an expected completion of all campus lab by early August. The inspection schedule is provided on EH&S's training & event calendar and we contact each department head in advance of the inspection.
The intent of these inspections is to improve safety in the laboratories. In addition to inspecting the physical facilities with the "inspection checklist", EH&S is hoping to review laboratory work practices and other activities. Derrick Wootton & Dave Schoep, EH&S, are available to help to review the lab research practices. They can meet with the Principal investigator, lab manager, primary researcher, and/or department head to review the processes at each lab location. Individuals can schedule a specific date and time with the inspectors.
The inspection checklist as well as instruction on use are posted on the laboratory safety section of safety programs page on the EH&S website (http://safety.nmsu.edu). As in the past, EH&S will be using this checklist, so it will be useful for review prior to the inspection. If you have questions or concerns on the inspection program or other safety issues, please E-mail or call EH&S at 575-646-3327.
(posted March 2013).
Watching for Pedestrians, Bicycles & Carts are the main topics in the EH&S webpage detailing best practices for campus driving.
As of March  EH&S provides a Safe Campus Driving Refresher class every month (schedule).
- In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in crashes involving driver distraction, and an estimated 448,000 were injured. (NHTSA)
- 16% of fatal crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. (NHTSA)
- 20% of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. (NHTSA)
- In the month of June 2011, more than 196 billion text messages were sent or received in the US, up nearly 50% from June 2009. (CTIA)
- Teen drivers are more likely than other age groups to be involved in a fatal crash where distraction is reported. In 2009, 16% of teen drivers involved in a fatal crash were reported to have been distracted. (NHTSA)
- 40% of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger. (Pew)
- Drivers who use hand-held devices are 4 times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Monash University)
- Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. (VTTI)
Suspension of Chemical Waste Pick-up (4/11/13 - 5/3/13)
On April 11, 2013, EH&S will suspend chemical waste collection during preparation for quarterly disposal shipment.
On May 3, 2013, the pickup service will resume after the scheduled shipment. During the suspension, chemical laboratories and other chemIcal waste generators should follow the "NMSU Waste Accumulation Point Checklist” procedures at http://www.nmsu.edu/~safety/programs/haz_wst/app_checklist_waste_accum_point.htm Please call EH&S at 575-646-3327 to schedule free pickups before or after the noted dates. For distribute to all Campus Lab Supervisors. Message from Drew Kaczmarek, EH&S (3/26//13).
April 16, 2013 Details
Departments/Divisions may incur significant costs as a result of laboratories and research materials that have not been properly decommissioned. Following the Laboratory Decommissioning Procedure prior to vacating any laboratory or other space where chemical, biological, or radioactive agents have been used or stored, will help prevent this.
GHS RULE CHANGES OSHA HAZARD COMMUNICATION PROGRAM (HAZCOM)
On March 26, 2012, the Federal Register published the final rule on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (known as GHS). The effective date of the rule was 60 days after publication or May 25, 2012.
Major changes to the 1984 HazCom Standards are as follows:
1. Hazard classification: The definitions of hazard have been changed to provide specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, to help ensure that evaluations of hazardous effects are consistent internationally, and that the labels and safety data sheets are more accurate. (details)
2. Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers must provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. (details)
3. Safety Data Sheets (SDS no longer called MSDS): The revision requires that the information on the Safety Data Sheet is presented using consistent headings in a specified sequence (same as ANSI standard format) which follows a specified 16-section format. (details)
More details on the harmonization of chemical hazards, labels & SDS; an implementation schedule; and a summary video are available at http://safety.nmsu.edu/news/updates/global-harmony-hazcom.html
Top Ten OSHA Safety Violations for 2012
1. Fall protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501) [1. top/highest 2012 penalty]
2. Hazard communication standard (29 CFR 1910.1200)
3. Scaffolding, general requirements (29 CFR 1926.451) [2. highest penalty]
4. Respiratory protection (29 CFR 1910.134)
5. Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout) (29 CFR 1910.147) [3. highest penalty]
6. Powered industrial trucks (29 CFR 1910.178) [5. highest penalty]
7. Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment (29 CFR 1910.305)
8. Ladders, construction (29 CFR 1926.1053)
9. Machines, general requirements (29 CFR 1910.212) [4. highest penalty]
10. Electrical systems design (29 CFR 1910.303)
NMSU Safety Policy requires that all employees have the proper equipment and training prior to working in these activities. EH&S provides regular safety training (description) for NMSU employees on many of these topics. Please see EH&S Training Schedule to register.
NMSU-related employment units should print the injury log and posted it on a bulletin board in a central employee area for information. Details ....
Date: January 2, 2013
To: All Lab Supervisors (affected departments please distribute)
From: Drew Kaczmarek, Environmental Manager, EH&S
Subject: Pick Up of Hazardous Waste & Chemicals for Disposal
1. Effective: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Chemical pick ups for disposal will be suspended in preparation for our quarterly hazardous waste shipment.
2. Effective: Friday, February 1, 2013
The pick up service will resume after the scheduled shipment.
3. In the interim, please follow the "NMSU Waste Accumulation Point Checklist” procedures. A copy of these procedures can be found at:
4. Please call EH&S at 575-646-3327 to schedule free pickups before or after these dates.
Thank you for your assistance.
SUPERVISORS PLEASE POST
2012 Maintenance Safety Blitz
On September 12th, 13th & 14th, EH&S will provide six 4-hr long refresher training sessions on maintenance safety, a maintenance training blitz at the Safety Training facility, room 110, Academic Research C.
The safety training blitz is directed at affected employees in the Facility Services, Housing, Special Events, Physical Science Laboratory, Corbett, DACC, and ARS/agriculture as well as other NMSU departments or locations with maintenance activities.
Back to work in the lab!
Forgotten what bad and whats not?
1. What protective gear, gloves, or PPE should you wear in the lab for your research?
2. What changes in lab & chemical safety are there?
3. What is the hazard with this chemical?
Need to refreshen a bit? Well...
EH&S is providing the annual lab refresher in September and October.
Flyer for posting at http://safety.nmsu.edu/faq/2012/2012_0906-AnnualLabRefresherFlyer.pdf
at Academic Research C, Rm110 (Safety Training Facility, 1620 Standley Drive, map).
1. Injury reports - 3rd & 4th quarter 2011
2. NMSU's 2011 OSHA 300 injury log - NMSU safety web link
3. Pedestrian & Bicycle Survey data - NMSU safety web link
4. EH&S activity report/changes/news
5. Webcast: Lab Accidents in the News: Institutional & Individual Risks, Roles & Responsibilities
This is the archived NACUBO & CSHEMA web presentation from April 2, 2012 - NMSU safety web link. (webcast slides)
I estimate 30 minutes for items 1-4 (above) and 90 minutes plus for item 5 webcast.
The University Safety Committee meeting and webcast is open to NMSU community and guests. If there are questions on this webcast or on safety concerns, please call NMSU EH&S at 646-3327.