Newsletter 2015

Vol. VII, Issue 1; March 2015

Have You Read the Operating Manual?
Most lab injures and diseases occur due to human error. One way to reduce error is by reading the operating manual for each piece of lab equipment you use.

Participation of Tufts University at the National Biosafety Stewardship.
This is a great opportunity for Tufts University researchers to reinforce safety practices, ensure that all pathogens and toxins are accounted for, and to properly dispose of any samples that are no longer needed.

Laboratory Accidents/Explosions Involving Nitric Acid and an Organic Solvent?
There have been a number of laboratory accidents and explosions at colleges and universities over the years involving the inappropriate use of nitric acid and one or more organic solvent(s) that have resulted in personal injury and physical destruction.

Autoclaves and their use for Biohazardous Waste
Autoclaves are sealed containers that heat water vapor to high temperatures in order to sterilize objects that might harbor biological hazards. When used properly, an autoclave can purify a device or container of any biological contaminants such as bacteria, mold and viruses.

Melting Plastics in Autoclaves Can Result In Respiratory Hazards
Autoclaves, devices that operate at high temperatures using steam and pressure, can be an effective method to treat medical and biological waste.  While most users are aware of the physical hazards associated with autoclaves such as lacerations from sharp or broken tubes and instruments, burns from hot objects, and vision impairment from splashes, potential inhalation hazards associated with melted plastic are often overlooked.


Vol. VII, Issue 2; July 2015

Serious but Unregulated Health Hazards in the Office
Among the most serious health concerns in the office are indoor air quality, workstation design and lifting materials.  Surprisingly, OSHA has no regulations for any of these potential hazards. However, Tufts is committed to the intent of OSHA of “providing safe and healthful working conditions” for all of its employees, regulations or not.

IAQ: Breathing Free and Safe Around Construction Projects
With a number of both major and minor construction projects currently on all three Tufts campuses the potential impact on our offices can range from a small nuisance to a major indoor air quality (IAQ) problem.

Hearing Loss from Office Work: Is that Possible?
There is significant scientific evidence that exposure to sound below an intensity of 77 to 80 dBA will not cause any hearing loss, tinnitus or other sound related disease. However, that does not mean that there are not sound issues in the office.

Sit/Stand Workstations
A “sit-stand” workstation may not be for everyone. Recent studies show that such products have the potential to benefit some people. However, while this may be encouraging, automatically switching to a “sit-stand” workstation may not be necessary.


Vol. VII, Issue 3; December 2015

Home Cooking: Hold the Infections!
Many cases of foodborne infections occur in the home as a result of incorrect food handling and preparation. In 1997, 100 home kitchens were inspected as if they were a commercial kitchen and 96% had critical violations.

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Air Testing: Who Needs an Expert?
Homeowners are increasingly concerned about air contaminants that may be causing or triggering illness in the home. News reports continue to identify sources of particulates, dusts, fumes, mists, gases and vapors such as sulfur compounds from drywall from China, formaldehyde from pressed wood furniture, and radon from the soil under the basement floor.

Ladders: Don’t Fall for It!
There are three types of ladders used around the home to reach elevated areas both indoors and outdoors such as gutters, roofs, tree branches, and house walls for painting, siding and repairs. OSHA reports that 16% of fatal construction injuries and 24% of non-fatal injuries result from incorrect use of ladders.

Vacuum Cleaners and Healthful Indoor Air: A Connection?
Individuals with asthma, allergies and other respiratory diseases are aware of the role that fine dust, dander, fine particles, pollen, and mold spores have in their illness. These air contaminants may be brought into the home from outdoors that were collected on shoes and clothes.

 

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