Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)

Frequently Asked Questions

 

General Questions:

Where do I go for my Hepatitis B vaccine?
Any Texas Med Clinic or Concentra

 

How do I schedule an Equipment Clearance?
On our main page of the website there is an equipment clearance icon.  Click on the icon and enter the information required.  Make sure that if it needs chemical, biological, and radiation clearances to press CTRL and highlight all areas to alert all divisions of EH&S.  One of the EH&S personnel will follow-up with the clearance as soon as possible.

 

How do I schedule an Laboratory Clearance?
On our main page of the website there is an laboratory clearance icon.  Click on the icon and enter the information required.  Requirements and instructions are listed for all types of clearances.  Make sure that if it needs chemical, biological, and radiation clearances to press CTRL and highlight all areas to alert all divisions of EH&S.  One of the EH&S personnel will follow-up with the clearance as soon as possible. 

 

What do I do with broken glass?
Please place all non-biological broken glass in a cardboard box and tape the box shut.  Mark the box as broken glass with a black marker.  Place the box outside the laboratory/office door for Housekeeping to dispose of in the evening.

 

Does Safety replace mercury thermometers?
The Environmental Protection Division of EH&S does have non-mercury thermometers that can be obtained by clicking on the Icon for Chemical Waste Pickup on our homepage.  Enter your information and in the comments section mark how many mercury thermometers you have and if you want replacements or just a pickup.

 

What should I do in the event of an emergency?
Call 911 from any phone.  Remember that if you dial 911 from a campus phone, University Police will respond and if you dial 911 from a personal phone, San Antonio Police Department will respond.

 

What should I do in the event of an occupational injury?
The first step is to notify your immediate supervisor.  The next step is to complete all the necessary forms.  Please refer to the Environmental Health & Safety website for Notification of On-the-Job injury and Employer’s First Report of Injury or Illness.

 

What should I do if I have an exposure?
The first step is to notify your immediate supervisor.  The next step is to complete all the necessary forms.  If it is a sharps exposure please refer to the EHS Forms page under Exposure Control forms and 3, 4, and 5.

 

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What should I do in the event of a fire?
RACE Acronym
React: Notify others in your area
Activate:  Activate nearest fire alarm pull station or call 911
Contain:  Close all doors upon exit
Evacuate:  Use stairs to evacuate and assemble at a known location with your workgroup

 

What should I do in the event of inclement weather?
Please refer to page 31 of the Emergency Response and Evacuation Plan.  You can always reference 567-SNOW (567-1663) to check regarding University closures. 

 

What courses are available on-line?
Currently, the Basic Bloodborne Safety Training and Biological Safety Training are available online.  All other courses are currently being worked on to be transferred to a web-based course.  Please refer to the Knowledge Center website to login and take any courses online.

 

Do I have to register for any safety courses offered through Environmental Health & Safety?
Registration is not required for the safety courses regularly offered by EH&S.  The courses are open for any staff or students to attend freely.  The only courses requiring registration are specialized courses such as Shipping Infectious Substances or the Radioisotope User’s Course.

 

Biohazard Questions:

Where are the Biohazard Boxes located and/or where can I find more?
Click on the Biohazard Supplies Request Icon on the homepage and either view the locations or there is an additional icon within this page to allow for you to request more biohazard boxes at any location. 

 

Why won’t the housekeeping department pickup my biohazard box?
The biohazardous boxes must be below a 30 pound weight limit.  Housekeepers are not allowed to pickup heavy biohazardous boxes.  The box will also not be picked up if it is leaking or missing a laboratory number.

 

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Chemical Questions:

What should I do in the event of a large chemical spill?
In the event of a large chemical spill please contact the University Police at 567-2800 or dial 911 from a campus phone.  The University Police will contact EH&S to help clean up the spill.
           
What should I do in the event of a small chemical spill?
For less than 1 liter of chemicals spilt, it is up to the individual user to determine the comfortability level in cleaning up the spill.  If you feel confident, please feel free to contain and clean up the spill.  If you do not feel confident, please feel free to contact EH&S at 567-2955 (during 8-5) and 567-2800 (UT Police after hours) to assist you.  For any acutely hazardous spill or greater than 1 liter, please refer to large chemical spills above.

 

What do I do with ETBR?
Call Environmental Health & Safety to pickup at 567-2955 to make special arrangements for pickup.

 

Why do I have to label my chemical waste?
Chemical waste should be labeled to meet all Resource Conservation Recovery Act requirements.

 

Why does EH&S not pickup my chemical waste?
Chemicals that are not labeled and that cannot be found will not be picked up.  Please make sure that you put them somewhere that we can easily find them.  When you request a chemical pickup from our webpage please write in the comments section where the chemicals are located in the lab and what type of chemical form you have (liquid, gas, or solid).

 

Does EH&S provide chemical waste containers?
EH&S will only provide containers if your laboratory is producing a large amount of flammable liquids (approximately 20-30 gallons a week).

 

Where can I get new chemical waste tags?
When you submit your request online (icon on homepage), put in the comments section that more tags are required.

 

Can I throw any chemicals down the drain?
Our general policy is that we do not advise anyone to dispose of any chemicals down the drain.  Please label all chemicals properly and put in for a chemical waste pickup (icon on homepage) to dispose of any chemicals.

 

How do I properly dispose of unwanted chemicals?
To dispose of unwanted chemicals either label the chemicals appropriately and request a pickup or work with the Chemical Safety Division (7-2955) to have the chemicals transferred from your inventory to one of your co-workers inventories. 
           
What is Specific Chemical Hazard Training?
Specific Chemical Hazard Training is training provided by the Principal Investigator or your supervisor as to the chemical hazards associated with chemicals located in your laboratory and as to the precautions or where to locate the Material Safety Data Sheets in the event of an emergency.  This training should be kept on file for 60 months and repeated for any new chemicals or inventory that is received by the laboratory.

 

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Radiation Questions:

How do I ship radioactive materials to someone outside UT Health Science Center at San Antonio?
Please call the Radiation Safety Division at 567-2955 to help ensure that all shipments are accurately sent according to DOT and IATA regulations.  The Radiation Safety Division has all of the completed training and can help guide you to the training classes required for shipments.  Please be prepared to give us
the radionuclide, quantity of radionuclides, physical forms, activity, and where the package is to be shipped.

 

How do I know what survey instrument to purchase?
Please call the Radiation Safety Division for advice.  In general for pure beta emitters a pancake Geiger Mueller detector can be used.  For tritium (3H), a Liquid Scintillation Counter should be used.  For beta and gamma emitters, a Geiger Mueller detector should be used and Sodium Iodide detector for the pure gamma emitters. 

 

How often do I have to survey my work area after working with Radioactive Materials?
The work area should be surveyed after each use including your lab coat and yourself.  The laboratory area should be wipe tested weekly during use of radioactive materials and a no-use wipe log should be filled out for all other weeks of the year that no materials are being used.

 

When doing a radiation survey with a meter, how close do I perform the survey?
The survey should be performed approximately an inch or so from the surface of the area.  There has to be enough space between the meter and the contamination to prevent direct contact with the meter and contamination thereof the meter.  For surveys, please move the meter slowly across the area to get an accurate reading. 

 

How should Radioactive Waste be packaged?
Radioactive waste should be categorized into four groups: dry (solid) waste, liquid waste, liquid scintillation vials, and animal carcasses.  There are various requirements for each.  Before performing radioactive material experiments, all laboratory personnel are trained within these procedures.  Please refer back to the radiation handbook on our site under procedures to help out with any additional questions.  PLEASE make sure that waste tag is completed with the name of the user, laboratory number, isotope, activity, and date prior to requesting a pickup.

 

How do I get radioactive waste tags?
Call EH&S at 567-2955 or go to our Radioactive Waste Pickup icon on our homepage and enter how many in the comments section. 

 

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How do I determine the radioactivity in liquid waste?
Pull a liquid sample of the radioactive waste through pipetting and place inside of a liquid scintillation vial.  Insert liquid scintillation cocktail and read using a Liquid Scintillation Counter.  You can determine the counts per minute from the printout and then divide the counts per minute by the efficiency of the LSC to get dpm.  DPM can be converted into activity by dividing by 2.22 x 106 dpm/microcurie. 

 

How do I determine the level of radioactivity in dry waste?
Please keep track of the amount of radiation being inserted into the container during experiments.  The best way is to keep a running log of waste going into the container and use the compiled log to fill out the waste tag.

 

What do I do with animal carcasses or bedding containing radioactive materials?
Please call the Radiation Safety Division at 567-2955 to make arrangements for a pickup.  Please do not throw in the regular waste or biohazardous waste. 

 

How to I get shielding for radioactive materials?
You can contact the Radiation Safety Division for advice on shielding products from various companies and to help provide you with the calculation of the needed shielding for your various experiments.  Your individual department or principal investigator within the University will be responsible for providing/paying the shielding for your laboratory. 

 

Why can’t I put lead pigs in the radioactive waste?
Lead should be not be placed within the radioactive waste due to the fact that lead cannot be disposed of at the landfill.  Lead should be kept separate for recycling purposes.

 

What should I do with any unused radioisotopes?
All unused radioisotopes can be placed appropriately in either the radioactive liquid waste or the solid waste containers.  Please remember that no liquid can be put in the solid waste containers.  In the event of any questions, please feel free to contact the Radiation Safety Division to assist in disposal or for just a complete vial pickup.

 

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