Laboratory Safety Fair
The EHS Chemical Safety staff worked with the Environmental Affairs and Fire Safety staff to create and produce the inaugural UNC-Chapel Hill Laboratory Safety Fair. The goal of the fair was to enhance the safety culture at the University by focusing on the many facets of laboratory safety.

The fair highlighted emerging safety technologies, facilitated hands-on training and distributed information on frequently asked safety questions through exhibits and professional presentations. Eight seminar speakers addressed pressing safety issues on chemical inventory, lab safety planning, chemical waste, DEA controlled substances, shipping hazardous materials and radioactive materials. A hands-on fire extinguisher training for attendees also took place outside the main entrance to the fair.

Fair invitations were sent to all laboratory principal investigators and safety supervisors and printed advertisements were posted across campus by members of the fair’s planning committee. In this first year, more than 300 lab personnel attended the fair. The high number of attendees suggests that the inaugural Laboratory Safety Fair was a great success in enhancing safety culture. It also demonstrated the Environment, Health and Safety department’s commitment to providing a safe and healthful environment for all persons associated with the University, including faculty, staff, students, visitors and members of the Chapel Hill community. Based on the success of this first fair, EHS is planning to provide annual lab safety fairs.

Performance measurement is a critical part of the EHS management system. Education, customer service and internal processes are the three most essential components of our work. The chart below indicates the performance in these areas over a five-year period with Level Four representing optimum performance. The adjacent tab shows the specific performance activities and the level of that performance for 2017.

Level Education Customer Service Internal Processes
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Level Four Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level
Level Three Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level
Level Two Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level
Level One Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level Met This Level
Compliance

Education

  • Trained 1971 new laboratory employees on laboratory environment through online self-study.
  • Trained 827 employees on formaldehyde to comply with OSHA requirements.
  • Trained 179 employees on nanotechnology safety through online self-study.
  • Trained 173 employees on chemical fume hoods through online self-study.
  • Trained 283 employees on compressed gas safety through online self-study.
  • Trained 120 employees on DEA controlled substances through online self-study.
  • Conducted in-person chemical fume hood training for Facilities’ Building Services personnel.
  • Conducted chemical safety training for incoming department of Chemistry teaching assistants, Chemistry 550L undergraduates and Chemistry 701 graduate class.
  • Conducted safety trainings for department of Comparative Medicine and Network of Laboratory Animal Coordinators in preparation for July AAALAC site visit.
  • Utilized principal investigator listserv to distribute updates, alerts, laboratory safety news and Lab and Chemical Safety committee meeting minutes.
  • Worked with the F&O Service Center of Excellence to upgrade EHS web pages, adding news alerts, and a new Safe Science – Culture of Safety webpage.
  • Worked with the F&O Service Center of Excellence to convert all lab safety self-study trainings to Articulate Storyline and post on website.

Customer Service

  • Reviewed 663 new and/or updated laboratory safety plans and reviewed deficiencies with principal investigators and safety supervisors, ensuring compliance with the University’s Chemical Hygiene Plan.
  • Uploaded 413 chemical inventories into online system and reviewed 380 annual inventory updates as part of Chemical Hygiene Plan compliance.
  • Supported animal care and use in research regulations by participating in satellite facility, semi-annual inspections and July AAALAC site visit.
  • Assessed potential chemical exposures by monitoring air concentrations in the breathing zones and laboratory work areas of 11 employees and made suggestions for controls to eliminate/minimize chemical health hazards.
  • Assessed six lab employee work environments as part of the Conceptus Protection Program.
  • Participated in clean-up of chemical spills in campus laboratories as technical experts and members of Emergency Response Core team.
  • Investigated 16 research laboratory accidents/incidents, evaluated root causes and provided recommendations for modifications of work operations to prevent future incidents.
  • Generated and delivered lab entrance signs for 568 laboratory rooms.

Internal Processes

  • Performed 158 CLIP/Radiation/HazWaste inspections, assessing campus laboratory safety and compliance.
  • Reviewed all IACUC applications including reviewing and approving Chemical Hazard forms, ensuring research compliance for animal care and use.
  • Verified 28 lab closeouts to ensure lab spaces had been left clean, decontaminated and free of waste.
  • Inspected 1103 chemical fume hoods and submitted 50 Facilities Services’ repair requests for fume hoods.
  • Calibrated EHS Departmental thermo-anemometers for use in chemical fume hood face velocity checks during inspections.
  • Participated in and supported EOC activations for OWASA “Do Not Use” incident, Halloween event, McCorkle Place rally, McCorkle place incident and athletic events.
  • Participated as member of organizing committee for the inaugural lab safety fair at Koury Oral Health Sciences building.
  • Purchased RFID software and implemented beta-test for department of Chemistry undergraduate teaching labs.