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Occupational Health and Safety

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    Indoor Air Quality

    Indoor air quality (IAQ) problems can result from many causes. While mold growth has received considerable attention, it is not the only cause of indoor air quality complaints. The Indoor Air Quality Standard Operating Procedure is posted on the Resources page.

    If you have an IAQ complaint, but do not have related health symptoms, call the Physical Plant at 549-2211 and report the problem.

    If you have an IAQ complaint and suffer related health symptoms, call Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) at 549-2747 or use the report function on this website to report the problem.

    Report all water intrusion events IMMEDIATELY to the Physical Plant x2211. To the extent known, include information on the source and approximate quantity, affected areas, water-damaged materials, and whether the source has been controlled. Clean water left for more than 24-48 hours can lead to mold growth. Events involving sewage backflows are very serious. Report the problem IMMEDIATELY and do not attempt to clean or remove affected materials. The Physical Plant and Facilities Department will manage the response.

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    Asbestos

    Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that is an almost indestructible. Asbestos containing materials (ACM) may be found in many different products and many different places. Examples of products that might contain asbestos are:

    • sprayed-on fire proofing and insulation
    • insulation for pipes and boilers
    • wall and ceiling insulation
    • ceiling tiles
    • floor tile

    Asbestos materials present a potential hazard only if the material can be easily broken up by hand (called friability) and becomes airborne. Non-friable ACM that is in good condition is not a hazard and can be safely managed in buildings.

    Breathing high levels of asbestos fibers can lead to an increased risk of:

    • lung cancer.
    • mesothelioma, a cancer of the chest lining and the abdominal cavity.
    • asbestosis, in which the lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue.

    Most likely everyone has breathed asbestos fibers. It is rare, however, for people exposed to small amounts of asbestos to develop these health problems.

    While the newer CSU-Pueblo buildings do not contain ACM, some older buildings may contain ACM. Wherever identified ACM is found to be in poor condition or where building renovation is planned, ACM is removed using regulated methods to protect building occupants.

    If you see damaged or deteriorated materials, such as floor or ceiling tiles or pipe insulation that may be asbestos-containing avoid contact with the material. Notify the EH&S Director at 719-549-2747 so that the material's asbestos content can be determined.

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    Using Chemicals and Your Right to Know

    Over 30 million American workers are exposed to hazardous chemicals in their workplace. Chemicals can be dangerous, particularly if they are not used properly. Even seemingly non-hazardous chemicals such as cleaning agents can be harmful if high enough concentrations are inhaled. Some chemicals also can cause adverse health effects if absorbed into the skin. Anybody using chemicals in their work should be thoroughly trained on the associated hazards of the chemical and on its proper use.

    The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has mandated that employees have a right to know of the associated health and safety hazards of chemicals being used at work and that employers implement appropriate measures to protect the worker. Through the Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200, OSHA requires (1) the employer to train its employees and (2) manufacturers to evaluate the hazards of chemicals that they produce or import. Additionally, the manufacturer must convey hazard information to its customers by way of labeling and a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).

    Remember while you have a right to know about the hazards of chemicals in your work area you have an obligation to make sure you fully understand such hazards. Your health and safety is top priority. If you feel unsafe or even uncomfortable working with a chemical you are encouraged to stop work to discuss your concerns with either your supervisor or the EH&S Manager.

    For more information on Chemical Safety, please use the Chemical Safety page or forward any questions or concerns to EHS.

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    Heat Stress

    Heat stress is a potentially serious phenomenon that can cause different types of heat illnesses ranging from simple cramping or fatigue to death. The sum of the external heat from the environment and the internal heat from the body determines your Heat Stress. As the temperatures increase and you start working harder your risk of a heat illness increases.

    The best way to avoid heat stress is to drink plenty of water before you start work, wear light clothing, and make sure that you are feeling well enough to work. Some signs that you may be experiencing heat stress, during hot weather work, include fatigue, weakness, nausea, dizziness, headache, red face and skin, and disorientation. If you are not feeling good while working in hot weather it is highly recommended that you stop work, find a cool place to rest, and drink cool water.

    For concerns about heat stress contact the EH&S Director at 719-549-2747.

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    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

    Every workday over 1000 people are injured on the job, in the United States. These injuries range from relatively minor lacerations or sprains, to serious accidents with multiple days off of work, to fatalities. The seriousness of an accident may be significantly reduced by the use of personal protective equipment or PPE.

    PPE includes various types of equipment that protect the whole body or parts of the body exposed to a hazard. Examples of PPE include hard hats, gloves, safety shoes, safety glasses, ear plugs, and respirators.

    The use of PPE is extremely important. If you are working a hazardous job:

    1. Identify the hazard. 
    2. Determine what PPE should be worn. Know its limitations.
    3. Take care of your PPE. Store it properly.
    4. Make sure your PPE is not malfunctioning or damaged.

    While some PPE can be uncomfortable, take steps to make sure that your PPE is reasonably comfortable and does not cause additional problems.

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    Electrical Safety

    All of us use electricity everyday but the risk of an electrical shock is reduced because of the safety measures in place such as insulated wiring, guarding, grounding, and electrical protective devices, which include fuses, circuit breakers, and ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI). Electrical protective devices are designed to stop current flow when a circuit is overloaded or in the case of the GFCI, when a loss of current occurs.

    For most workers there is little risk associated with electricity.

     What are the causes of electrical accidents? There are basically three factors that contribute to an accident or injury in working with electricity:

    1. unsafe equipment and/or installation
    2. unsafe workplaces caused by environmental factors
    3. unsafe work practices

    Listed below is guidance to follow regarding electricity:

    • Only authorized, qualified electricians shall install, service, or repair electrical equipment or wiring.
    • All electrical equipment, including wiring, must be tested and approved by a recognized testing laboratory, e.g., Underwriters Laboratory (UL).
    • Use power tools and appliances that are free of cracks, fraying, and insulation damage.
    • Use only electrical equipment that has grounded three-pronged plugs.
    • Use non-conducting or insulated tools and equipment when working near electricity.
    • Do not touch electrical tools, equipment, or cords that are wet, or with wet hands.
    • Use only outdoor receptacles that have a weatherproof cap installed.
    • Do not run cords through puddles of standing liquids, such as water or oils.
    • Electrical panels must have a minimum of three feet of clearance. Circuit breakers must have a current legend identifying each breaker switch’s area of control and have no exposed wiring.
    • Extension cords must always be used in accordance with manufacture’s guidance and applicable codes. Specifically, per Fire Code and the Pueblo Fire Department, the use of extension cords as permanent wiring is prohibited.
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    Slips, Trips, and Falls

    Slips, Trips, & Falls are the #1 leading cause of injury. 

    Slip is a loss of balance caused by too little friction between a person’s foot and a walking surface. Common causes include:

    • wet or oily surfaces
    • occasional spills
    • weather hazards
    • loose, unanchored rugs or mats
    • flooring or other walking surfaces that are worn.

    Trip is when you hit an object, lose your balance and fall. Common causes include:

    • obstructed view
    • poor lighting
    • clutter in your way
    • wrinkled carpeting
    • uncovered cables
    • drawers not being closed
    • uneven (steps, thresholds) walking surfaces

    Fall is when you lose your balance & drop to the floor. There are three types of falls:

    • falls on the same level - Slip or trip immediately precedes fall to floor or walkway
    • falls to lower level - Falls are from platforms, docks, ladders, steps or stairs
    • Jumps to lower level - An intentional jump from one level to another or the Employee jumps off ladder, dock, equipment.

    What can you do to prevent slipping, tripping, or falling?

    1. Maintain good housekeeping:

    • Clean up spills immediately.
    • Mark spills and wet areas.
    • Mop or sweep debris from floor.
    • Remove obstacles from walkways.
    • Keep walkways free of clutter.
    • Secure mats, rugs and carpets.
    • Close file cabinet or storage drawers.
    • Cover cables that cross walkways.
    • Keep working areas and walkways well lit.
    • Replace burned out bulbs.

    2. Maintain the quality of walking surfaces (flooring). This can be achieved by changing or modifying walking surfaces by:

    • recoating or replacing floors
    • installing mats
    • using pressure-sensitive abrasive strips
    • applying abrasive-filled paint-on coating or metal or synthetic decking.

    3. Selection and use of proper footwear, which is dependent upon conditions, i.e. wear safety shoes when applicable safety hazards exist or don’t wear high heels when icy conditions exist.

    Here are some general tips to avoid Slipping, Tripping, or Falling:

    • Pay attention. Watch where you are walking.
    • Take your time (react to a change in traction during icy conditions).
    • Adjust stride to the task.
    • Wear slip-resistant shoes or overshoes.
    • Walk with feet pointed slightly outward.
    • Make wide turns at corners.
    • Treat walking surfaces.

    What do you do if you see a slip, trip, or fall hazard?

      1. Try to fix it yourself.
      2. If you can’t fix it, immediately report the hazard to your supervisor, to Facilities Management to initiate a work order, or to the EH&S Director at 719-547-2747.
      3. Protect the area, i.e. use barricade tape or safety cones, to keep people from getting hurt.
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    Lifting Safety

    Did you know that …?

    • More than one million workers suffer back injuries each year.
    • Back injuries account for one of every five workplace injuries or illness.
    • One-fourth of all worker compensation paid claims involve back injuries to the lower back.

    Back injuries are a national workplace safety problem and are caused by:

    • lifting or moving a load that is too heavy and/or
    • lifting or moving a load the wrong way.

    You should know your capabilities and the approximate weight of the load. You should also know how to properly lift. It may take a co-worker’s help or a mechanical device such as a hand truck.

    Prior to lifting, ask yourself the following questions:

    • Am I physically & mentally prepared?
    • Can I use a mechanical device, such as a hand truck?
    • How heavy is the load?
    • Is it packed correctly?
    • Is it easy to reach to load?
    • Should I get help to lift the load?
    • Should I make the load smaller?
    • Is there a better way?

    Follow these tips for a lift:

    • Place feet correctly; firmly apart.
    • Maintain neutral body posture; squat down bending at the knees.
    • Get a firm grip.
    • Begin slowly; avoid sudden movement.
    • Keep load close to you.

Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the study of work. It is a science that studies people's physical and mental capacities and limitations, including issues of mobility and work-related stress.

Ergonomics is the science of fitting the job to the worker and has proven important in preventing the types of musculoskeletal injuries that contribute to increasing workplace related disability claims. Ergonomic implementation works to prevent injuries rather than treat them. A complete ergonomics program includes the education about risk factors and causes of injuries, and encourages good habits in posture, body mechanics and exercise at work, at home and at leisure.

Goals of Ergonomics

  • Promote Physical Comfort
  • Promote Productivity and Efficiency
  • Reducing Risk Factors for Injury, Stress, and Fatigue

Learn more about Ergonomics

New Summer School Opportunities

Summer School Opportunities
  • Increased work-study jobs and Pell Grants
  • Housing and out-of-state tuition discounts
  • More online and face-to-face Gen Ed courses
  • See your advisor to enroll today!

Environmental Health & Safety Director

Staff

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