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Vivi's Safety Corner - April 2011

by: ESD Safety Coordinator Vivi Fissekidou (x5610)

Minimize Injury When Traversing Stairs

Stair-related slips, trips, and falls may result in serious injury (broken bones, serious lacerations, significant sprains, and in some cases, injuries to multiple parts of the body, including legs and feet).

  • Use elevators to transport bulky, heavy, or otherwise awkward items between levels in a facility.
  • Pay strict attention to your footing and maintain a visual focus on the stairs in front of you.
  • Do not run up or down stairs.

Before setting foot on a stairway, the following preventive measures should be physically in place or consciously in your mind:

  • Whether going up or down stairs, always use the handrail. 
  • Being able to see where you are going is important; make sure the stairs are well lit.
  • Make sure the stairs are clear and free of all obstacles and debris.
  • Take extra care when ascending/descending steps while wearing footwear such as high heels, sandals, or athletic shoes. During bad weather, avoid boots or shoes with smooth soles and heels.
  • Avoid carrying vision-blocking loads: don't carry so much up or down stairs that you can't see where you are stepping. Also, keep one hand free to hold onto the handrail. If necessary, make several trips with smaller loads.
  • Be on guard for single steps when entering or exiting a room—sudden level changes can be hazardous.
  • Keep your hands out of your pockets—hands in your pockets while walking decreases your center of gravity and balance. Also, with your hands free, you can also help break your fall if you do start to slip.
  • Try to avoid landing on your knees, wrists, or spine. Try to fall on a fleshy part of your body, such as your side.


Texting Can Wait 

(From Elizabeth Reyes, LBNL Operations Safety Coordinator)

In an ongoing effort to provide safety information at work and home please review the very sobering "texting can wait" video. Please share this with your family, if we can avoid one accident it will be well worth your time.

Go to: to view.


What Chemicals Belong in Chemical Management System (CMS)

All hazardous materials are required to be included in the Chemical Management System (CMS). Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for materials should be consulted to determine hazard status.

All chemicals that meet the OSHA definition of a hazardous chemical, i.e., a chemical that is either a health hazard or a physical hazard, are required to be included in the CMS. MSDS’s list both the health and physical hazards of chemicals and could be used to determine the extent of the hazard.

Health Hazard: A "health hazard" is a chemical for which there is statistically significant evidence, based on at least one study conducted in accordance with established scientific principles, that acute or chronic health effects may occur in exposed employees. The term "health hazard" includes chemicals that are carcinogens, toxic or highly toxic agents, reproductive toxins, irritants, corrosives, sensitizers, hepatotoxins (liver toxins), nephrotoxins (kidney toxins), neurotoxins, agents that act on the hematopoietic (blood-forming) system, and agents that damage the lungs, skin, eyes, or mucous membranes.

Physical Hazard: A chemical is a physical hazard if it has flammable, combustible, explosive, oxidizing, pyrophoric, or reactive (including water reactive) properties, or if it is an organic peroxide or compressed gas.

Work Leads are responsible for work involving particularly hazardous substances, ensuring that proper controls are in place and that area-specific training may be given. An EH&S Industrial Hygienist may be consulted to provide assistance. For some work, an Activity Hazard Document may be required.


Chemical Owners

A Chemical Owner is defined as the individual who will be ultimately held accountable for the safe storage of hazardous chemicals, though all chemical users share the responsibility to use and store hazardous materials safely.

A Chemical Owner is responsible for providing the resources to make safe storage possible. This responsibility includes the purchase of equipment and accessories, such as flammables or corrosives cabinets and storage containers, to control hazards. It also requires the authority to set administrative controls such as procedures for the safe storage of chemicals. Guests, students, visiting scientists, and other short-term staff usually do not meet these requirements, but it is up to each division to assign ownership of chemicals and hazardous materials. It is the Chemical Owner’s responsibility to ensure that all hazardous chemicals/materials for which they are responsible are entered into the CMS as soon as possible, and that all chemicals are removed/disposed from the inventory when the materials have been used up, disposed, or taken offsite.