Safety Topics

Ergonomic Assessments

The EHS Manager is available, by appointment, to conduct ergonomic evaluations of employee workstations. The intention of this process is to address and minimize the occurrence of cumulative trauma injuries (i.e. musculoskeletal disorders and repetitive motion injuries) in the workplace. If you have a physician’s note requesting an ergonomic assessment of your workstation, forward it to the Employee Services office. The college’s HR Director will coordinate an assessment on your behalf.


Tools & Guides

Hazardous Materials

Container Labeling

Every chemical or material container must be clearly and properly labeled. The label must include the identity of all hazardous components and applicable hazard warnings. Secondary containers such as squeeze bottles and other refillable storage units must be labeled in the same manner. Whenever possible, obtain pre-labeled secondary containers from the material supplier.


Employee Training

Employees must be trained on the hazardous materials in their work area at the time of hire and whenever a new hazardous material is introduced into their work area. Training should include familiarization with the hazardous materials inventory (safety data sheet binder), how to utilize and understand label information, and the hazards and protective measures specific to their work. Occasionally an employee may be required to perform non-routine work that may expose them to hazardous materials. In such cases, the employee must be informed of all hazardous materials to which they may be exposed via the same training guidelines as above.

Personal Protective Equipment

Protective clothing and/or equipment MUST be used whenever required by federal, state, or local regulation. Each department is responsible for providing proper protective equipment for all students and employees, and must ensure such equipment is functional and in good repair.

NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards – OSHA

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

In every area where students or employees work with or may be exposed to hazardous materials, a list of all such materials must be kept in an easily accessible location. Supervisors are responsible for maintaining and updating their lists, including SDS for each hazardous material. Students and employees should know where the binder is kept and be instructed on how to use SDS information. Suppliers should provide an SDS with purchase or make them available for download on their website. The College also provides access to MSDS Online as a resource. If you need assistance with SDS, contact the Employee Health and Safety Manager.

Hazard Communication Program (pdf)

Indoor Air Quality

“Indoor Air Quality” (IAQ) generally refers to indoor office, classroom, or laboratory environments, as opposed to industrial or outdoor settings. These have ventilation from a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Common causes of air quality complaints include inadequate outdoor air supply, odors from indoor and outdoor sources, and mold. Industrial environments, as well as some labs, workshops, and classrooms, contain sources of air contaminants, such as chemicals, particulates, aerosols, or fumes. These contaminants should be controlled by specific, engineered solutions (e.g. fume hoods, increased general dilution ventilation, etc.).

Refer to this chart (pdf) to determine which department should be contacted about different IAQ issues.


Biomedical Waste

For our purposes, biomedical waste is any solid or liquid waste that may present a threat of infection to humans. Items may be sharps (used needles, razor or scalpel blades, etc.) or non-sharps (blood-contaminated materials, waste from microbiology courses, etc.). If you believe your area produces this type of waste, please contact the EHS Manager.

Hazardous and Universal Waste

The Washington State Department of Ecology regulates hazardous and universal waste. Hazardous materials are corrosive, flammable, reactive, and/or toxic. Universal waste is a special category that includes batteries, fluorescent bulbs, used oil, and certain types of ballasts. All waste must be designated (i.e. assigned a type and hazard class) and properly labeled and contained prior to disposal. The EHS Manager inspects waste accumulation areas weekly and coordinates all hazardous and universal waste removal from campus. If you are unsure what to do with your waste, contact the EHS Manager.