Missouri State University
EHS Insider – Safety and Other Hazardous Thoughts

The Golden Rules of Lab Waste Management

Common Satellite Accumulation Areas Violations

A common source of RCRA violations during facility inspections is hazardous waste containers, and waste containers in Satellite Accumulation Areas (SAAs) can be significant contributors to the issues. Training and awareness can greatly reduce the occurrence of SAA issues. The items listed below are the most common issues observed in SAAs; most can be eliminated by very simple actions, such as writing a date or placing a cap on the container.

Common satellite accumulation area mistakes include:

  1. Failure to mark the accumulation start date on the label when waste is initially placed in the container. Other start date issues include:
    1. Not showing month, day, AND year
    2. Changing the date when adding add’l waste
  2. Unlabeled containers:
    1. No labeling at all
    2. Label missing information
      1. Contact information
      2. List of waste components in container
      3. Accumulation start date (see #1)
      4. Illegible writing
  1. Transferring waste between SAAs
    1. Moving from one lab to another
  2. Open containers
    1. Cap or lid not tightly secured
    2. Funnel left open in mouth of container
    3. Open bucket or pail
  3. Use of chemical formulas instead of chemical names on the label
  4. Exceeding the 1-year storage limit
  5. Having duplicate (or multiple) containers of the same waste
  6. SAA not located at or near the point of generation
  7. Use of inappropriate containers
    1. Containers that have severe rusting, denting, bulging, and structural defects

Why are these requirements important? They make the lab (or studio) a safer place for everyone, and they can save you from the financial pain of fines leveled by the inspecting agency.

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Research Lab Accident at KU-Lawrence

Report notes that a ‘chemical reaction’ caused a flask to explode, damaging hood and injuring 2 students. Fortunately injuries are listed as non-life threatening, but still makes for a bad day. No details on the chemicals in use, but as more info becomes available I will update this post. Feel free to add a comment if you find anything further.

http://www.kansan.com/news/two-students-injured-in-explosion-at-malott-hall-lab/article_ea0ae538-1393-11e5-94dd-4f6fff399fb4.html

 

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Safety engagement reduces lab accidents

Well, this certainly makes sense. Students follow the lead of the PI or lab supervisor, so if safety is not actively stressed the lab is a less safe place.

Compliance personnel can help, but generally just don’t have the time to spend in each individual lab to create the ‘culture of safety’ that’s needed. The leader has to be the one to set the tone for the activities that go on in their area. And if safety isn’t the first priority, then what is?

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Putting the CDC Back On Track

Short interview article from Scientific American talking to the authors of recent report on CDC. Report identifies problems leading to recent high-profile incidents within CDC, and addresses potential fixes. This is an important issue; the CDC sets the guidelines for all laboratory work, and should be the premiere example of practice in this country, if not the world. Good read if you work in any lab, but especially where biosafety is involved. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-the-cdc-was-blasted-over-lab-safety-violations/

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