Frequently Asked Questions

General Safety Questions

Does LSU have a safety policy? Where can it be found?

Yes, the University Safety Policy , PS 19, is LSU’s overall controlling framework for the environmental, health and safety program on campus.

This policy is located on this website and can also be found on the LSU website under Policies and Procedures.  The word “safety” from the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) department means “accident prevention”. The more common use of the term “safety” on campus relates to personal security, which is administered by the LSU Police with support from other law enforcement agencies and campus administrators.

Does LSU have a safety manual, if so, where can it be found?

Yes, LSU has a Safety Manual, which is located on this site: University Safety Manual.

The LSU Safety Manual is provided to give safety rules and procedures for working safely and providing protection to our environment. Many topics are covered in the manual, and it is the most comprehensive document for campus safety information.

Are there any new employee forms/documents required by EHS?

New Employee Orientation Guide and Checklist

What if I observe a hazard on campus or someone working unsafely?

If you are in a work group, report it to your supervisor. The supervisor will address the concern. If it is out of the supervisor’s control or there is no supervisor around, please call the EHS Office at 225 578 8498 or use the Hazard Hotline on this webpage. The email address goes to the Director of EHS, so this will provide a quick method to assure the problem is reported and corrected.

If you observe behavior that is strange or unusual, and you think it may be indicative of mental or physical impairment or a threat to safety/security, please call LSU Police at 225 578 3231 and report it.  You should also report it to your supervisor.

If you smell natural gas or any other odor that may be indicative of a leak or spill, call LSU Police at 225 578 3231 and Facility Services at 225 578 2327. If you need assistance from EHS, feel free to call our office at 225 578 5640.

What if I feel my job assignment is unsafe or my work may be harming the environment?

First discuss it with your supervisor, and try to find a solution that you feel is safe and/or environmentally compliant. If this does not result in a solution that relieves your anxiety about the matter, you may “bump” it up to the next level of supervision. You may also call us at EHS to get assistance in getting the matter resolved. Safety is our highest priority, so we encourage employees and others to identify issues that should be looked into to improve our safety program.

Does LSU have a policy on drug and alcohol abuse?

LSU’s policy on drug and alcohol abuse, PS 67, can be found on the LSU website under Policies and Procedures as Misuse of Drugs or Alcohol.  

Where do I report problems with lighting on campus?

If the lighting problem is in or on a campus building, report it to the Building Coordinator for that building.  If the lighting is outside in a parking lot or other location on campus, call Facility Services at 225 578 2327. Facility Services maintains lighting on campus.

You can also use the EHS Hazard Hotline or call our office at 225 578 5640.

What do I do if I drive for LSU?

Prior to driving a University-owned vehicle, a person must become a University Authorized Driver.  Vehicle use guidelines, information and forms can be found on the Office of Risk Management Vehicles Website.  

Who do I call to get a safety review of a process?

Phone 578-5640 or can be used to request a safety review of a process or project. Depending on the scope of your project, one or more of our personnel will meet with you to discuss and review your project for Environmental Health and Safety concerns.

The Fire Marshal inspected my facility, now what?

After the inspection, the Fire Marshal representative will meet with EHS to review their findings. We will send the report to Facility Development to address building maintenance and design issues. We will send a copy of the report to your Building Coordinator to address only the areas highlighted on the report (Typically areas within the control of Building personnel, i.e. improper storage, fire doors blocked, etc.).

How do I get an emergency plan?

EHS provides an Emergency Plan Template that can be used to develop the plan. We would be happy to assist you in customizing your plan to suit your particular needs. Make sure your personnel are trained in the plan and practice it annually. We can also assist you in getting floor plans for your location

Questions on indoor air quality, workstation problems, and respiratory protection

What do I do if I smell a strange odor in my Office/Lab/Building?

Report the odor to LSU Police at 225-578-3231 and to Facility Services at 225 578 2327. Please provide the following information to Police:

  • Your Name
  • Contact Number
  • Precise location (building, room number, street location, etc.)
  • Description of the odor.
  • This information will be forwarded to EHS and will be investigated.

Is it Mold?

It probably is. Most of us have seen mold growth on an indoor surface, and know that where there is moisture, mold growth is sure to follow. In South Louisiana’s semitropical climate with its high humidity and temperature; frequent storms and heavy rainfall; not to mention the occasional building water line failure; interior moisture and associated mold growth in campus buildings is not unusual.

EHS and Facility Services policy is that visible mold growth in an indoor environment is unacceptable and should be removed. More importantly, the source of moisture should be resolved so that mold growth does not return. EHS works closely with the Office of Facility Services to evaluate mold problems, see that visible mold growth is removed safely, and address moisture intrusion into buildings.

Why is there a "Danger"/"Caution" sign on my chemical fume hood?

EHS annually inspects over 950 chemical fume hoods on campus. Hood face velocity (average flow rate of air being pulled into the hood) is the primary function necessary to prevent exposure to airborne hazardous materials. Hoods found to have serious flow rate deficiencies are posted with "Caution" or "Danger" warning signs to indicate usage limitations. EHS submits work orders for hood repair to Facility Services, and hoods are re-inspected when repairs are completed. For more information about fume hoods go to EHS Fume Hood Inspection.

Chemical Laboratory Safety Questions

Is there laboratory safety training on the EHS website?

Yes, there are many on-line safety training classes that pertain to the laboratories on the EHS Assistant in the EHS website.  There are on-line classes that are required for Laboratory Accreditation and to comply with Federal regulations.  All active lab personal are required to take Laboratory Safety, Emergency Response, Hazard Communication, and Hazardous Waste Handling.  Take Cylinder Safety if you handle gas cylinders. If you work with biological materials, you are required to take the Basic Biosafety course.  If you work with BL2 or BL3 materials, there are additional biological laboratories safety training classes required.  

Are there really rules for chemical storage?

Guidelines for chemical storage were developed to prevent chemicals in storage from reacting with each other.  In general, chemicals need to be stored by chemical classes in separate areas. Guidelines and examples can be found in the Laboratory Safety and Hazardous Waste Handling safety classes found on the EHS web site under the EHS Assistant Portal Page

How do I put chemicals on the inventory and how do I take them off?  Isn’t it difficult?

Adding or deleting chemicals in the chemicals inventory system is not difficult once you become familiar with the system.  A general add/delete tutorial on the chemical inventory process can be found on the EHS Assistant Portal Page.

Can earphones/ear buds be used in the laboratory?

Headphones or earbuds use for entertainment is not allowed in the laboratory.  You must be able to hear what is going on around you.  These devices make it very hard to hear emergency alerts such as fire alarms.  Another concern is that headphone/earbud use makes it difficult for workers to remain “aware of their surroundings” and “maintain an appropriate level of safety consciousness.”  Other forms of music/radio may be played in the lab but nothing requiring the use of headphones.

Biological Laboratory Questions

What type of laboratory training may be required for our lab personnel?

The EHS Assistant Web Based Training Package works in conjunction with the Chemical and Biological Management Inventory Program to meet the regulatory based training requirements. The on-line safety training classes that pertain to the biological laboratories can be found in the EHS Assistant Portal Page in the EHS website.  All active lab personal are required to take the five general chemical laboratory safety courses. If you work with any biological materials, you are required to take the Basic Biosafety course.  If you work with BL2 materials, you must also tale Biosafety Cabinets, Risk Assessment, and Blood Borne Pathogens. BL3 personnel are required to complete additional classes, which are determined on a lab by lab basis.  All training can be accessed from the EHS web site under the Training Icon (Add Link) in the EHS Assistant Web Portal Page.

How do I determine if I need to register a project with the Institutional Biological and Recombinant DNA Safety Committee (IBRDSC)?

If you are working with any microorganism from BSL-1 to BSL-3 or any doing any recombinant DNA work the committee would like for you register.  This includes research, diagnostic testing or classroom teaching.  The committee will determine if the work is exempt or not.  For microorganisms please refer to HHS publication, Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) 5th Edition.

If you are doing recombinant DNA work please refer to the NIH publication, NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules.

What is involved in a biological safety inspection and what does the inspector look for?

A biological safety inspector will contact you (or you may contact them).  They will set up a date and time that is convenient for you.  Inspections follow HHS/CDC and/or NIH guidelines. View checklists.

What is a “Select Agent”?

Select agents are pathogens or biological toxins which have been declared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to have the “potential to pose a severe threat to public health and safety”. 

Hazardous Material Questions

How do we handle waste?

Waste should be handled in accordance with Federal regulations as detailed in the Hazardous Waste Handling training class. All waste containers must be properly labeled. Labels can be printed using the EHS Assistant.  Additional information can be found in Hazardous Materials Management section of the EHS Webpage

We have hazardous or chemical material for disposal, how do we get it picked up?

All waste requests must be submitted on-line using the Waste Pickup section of the EHS Assistant.

How do we handle our fluorescent light bulbs?

They can be picked up by EHS or delivered to the hazardous material control center. Used bulbs should be placed into the original bulb container and properly sealed.

Fluorescent Bulb Handling Instructions

How do we handle our batteries?

Several battery recycle containers are located throughout campus. Batteries can also be picked up by EHS. LSU EHS accepts all types of batteries. EHS prefers having alkaline batteries separated from other types of batteries. All batteries are recycled.

How do we handle our empty chemical containers?

Empty glass chemical containers may be placed in a broken glass box or other sturdy cardboard box, properly sealed, and carried by lab employees to the trash dumpster. Certain empty plastic containers may be suitable for the recycle dumpster.

Can we pour chemicals down the drain?

Chemicals cannot be poured down the drain. We are served by the Baton Rouge city sewer system, and introduction of chemicals into the drains can result in unsafe conditions for campus personnel and even personnel off campus in neighboring communities. Do not dispose of hazardous waste in the trash or evaporate in fume hoods. If you have a question about what can be placed in the drains, please call our office at 578-5640.

How long can I store reactive chemicals and peroxide forming chemicals?

Reactive and Peroxide forming compounds must have a date of receipt and opening date written on the container. The maximum storage period must not have expired. This is generally six months to one year.

What are the procedures if I am closing my lab?

Proper disposal of hazardous materials is required whenever a responsible individual leaves Louisiana State University or transfers to a different laboratory. Plan the disposal of hazardous materials carefully. Hazardous materials can injure personnel if handled inappropriately.  The primary responsibility for the proper disposal of all hazardous materials used in laboratories lies with the principal investigator or researcher.  Ultimate responsibility for hazardous materials management lies with each department.  Additional information can be found in the Close-Out Procedures for Laboratory Operations Using Hazardous Materials.