AFNS North Campus Health and Safety committee minutes
Date: December 10, 2018
Time: 9:30 am – 10:05 am
Place: 4-10C Ag/For Centre
Chair: Dr. Urmila Basu
Attendees: Dr. Michael Ganzle, Dr. Urmila Basu, Kelvin Lien, Heather Vandertol-Vanier, Ileana Strelkov, Ereddad Kharraz, Adele Gagnon (representing Stephanie Ramage).
Regrets: Zhigang Tian, Jingui Lan
1. New committee structure and revised TOR for committee’s approval
Occupational Health and Safety worksite legislation was amended in June 2018. For this reason, the AFNS Safety committee was restructured. During the last AFNS safety committee meeting, changes to the structure of the committee were discussed. Before changes could be made, the definition of who is an employer and who is an employee needed clarification. After discussion with Andrew Cooper, EHS, the following was advised: the University of Alberta is the employer and faculty, non- academic staff, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, undergraduate students etc… are all employees. The committee will not be called a Joint Workplace committee but will be called a Health and Safety committee. There will be 2 committees. One committee for North campus to include Ag/For, LikaShing and SAB called AFNS North Campus Health and Safety committee. One committee for South campus will be called AFNS South Campus Health and Safety committee. The Department is following the recommendations of EHS regarding the structure of the committees.
New terms of reference were developed for the committee. Discussion about the terms of reference did not indicate that changes were required and they were approved. These will be taken to next department council meeting for approval.
2. Biosafety Update
• It was reported that there have been incidents on campus about improper biohazardous waste removal. Cleaning staff was removing contaminated waste that had not yet been decontaminated. It was clearly marked as biohazardous. The cleaning crews were retrained. If there are similar incidents in Ag/For, report them to Urmila Basu or Heather Vandertol-Vanier.
• All labs that produce biohazardous waste are required to have a biohazardous waste transport protocol. Heather has written a protocol and posted it on the safety drive.
• All biosafety level 2 labs require an inventory of all level 2 organisms. The inventory should be updated whenever an archival stock is produced. An archival stock is defined as anything stored for more than 30 days. The inventory should include the following: genus/species, strain, risk group, specimen type, location, date generated and date used/destroyed, MTA/restrictions. As well, the inventory should be physically checked once per year.
3. Level 2 lab doors
Public Health Agency of Canada requires the following: all Biosafety level 2 doors must remain closed at all times when personnel are present, all biosafety level 2 doors must be closed and locked at all times when personnel are not present.
There are several Level 2 labs that do not have swipe card access or have automatic door closures. As many of these are core facilities with many users, the doors can be left unlocked at the end of the day. It may be necessary to change the lock so that they cannot be left unlocked. Users would have to unlock the door every time they enter.
4. Chemical Safety
• Perchloric acid
Environmental Health and Safety recently identified some issues with the use of perchloric acid on campus. When perchloric acid is used improperly, it can concentrate. Once the concentration is high enough perchlorate crystals can form, which are shock sensitive. EHS contacted AFNS stores to identify research groups which have ordered perchloric acid. Anyone who ordered perchloric acid received an email asking about any protocols with perchloric acid. It was discovered that a research group in Li Ka Shing was heating perchloric acid on the bench.
There is a perchloric acid fumehood in 3-60 Ag/For which is all metal and has a wash down system. The research group from Li Ka Shing will be bringing their samples over to Ag/For to process. There is currently some discussion regarding how to properly transport the samples from building to building.
• Hydrofluoric acid
This acid is very dangerous causing serious burns if exposed. Anyone using this acid must have the appropriate antidote available at all times. If there are users in Ag/For, AFNS will carry the antidote.
5. Other items for discussion
• The radioisotope lab in 3-56 Ag/For has been decommissioned. If anyone needs to perform radioisotope work, there is a space in Gavin Chen’s lab.
• The ALES safety committee will be meeting on December 14, 2018. The AFNS North committee members were asked if there were any concerns that needed to be brought to this meeting. No concerns were identified.
• The meeting minutes will be posted on the AFNS safety website. An email will be sent out to let people know where the meeting minutes are located.
• Urmila will put the terms of reference on the website once they are approved at the next Department Council meeting.
• Lab safety inspections were discussed. Safety inspections should target the needs of the labs in Ag/For and should be done by floor.