News

Cleaning Supplies and PPE

University departments, schools and colleges may request COVID-19 related PPE and sanitizing supplies for their areas and employees from the University’s central supply.  EHSS’ COVID Supply request form is available for use in submitting supply requests.  If you have any questions, EHSS staff is available to assist.

Face Masks Now Required in NYS

Effective immediately and until further notice, in response to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order requiring everyone in New York State to wear a mask or face covering when out in public, all students and employees currently working or living on campus are required to wear a face mask when out in public or when social distancing is not possible. Employees working alone in their offices and students who are alone in a room do not need to wear masks, but anytime someone is on campus and within 6 feet of another person, the mask needs to be on. Either a cloth or surgical mask can be worn. The use of a face covering can potentially slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.

How to obtain a mask:

Faculty and Staff Welcome Kits: Welcome Kits will be provided to faculty and staff as they are approved to return to campus during the University’s phased reopening. The kits contain an initial supply of reusable (washable) cloth face masks.

Student Welcome Kits: Welcome kits will be provided to students as they return for the fall semester.  The kits will contain a supply of face masks.  

Face mask dos and don’ts:

  • Face masks are only effective for protection if they are handled, worn, stored, and disposed of properly. And experts continue to strongly urge everyone to maintain at least 6 feet of social distancing when possible—even with the use of face masks.
  • Do practice proper hand hygiene. Before and after handling the mask (to put on, adjust, or take off), either wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to reduce cross-contamination risk. The outside of the mask is considered dirty.
  • Do mark the outside of the mask in some way so you can easily identify which side is the outside of the mask and handle it accordingly. Some individuals mark the outside with their initials in permanent ink.
  • Do keep a paper bag handy for storing the mask every time you take it off; an open plastic Ziploc-style baggie is an alternative if a paper bag is not available. Always store a mask in a clean place. Never store it in a purse or pocket.
  • Don’t touch the outside of your mask while it is on your face.
  • Don’t pull your mask below your chin while you are wearing it. Leaving the mask dangling or improperly fitted to your face creates opportunities for cross-contamination.

CDC Guidance on How to Safely Wear and Take Off a Cloth Face Mask

Spill Drill

On Thursday, August 8, Environmental Health and Safety Services conducted a hands-on chemical spill drill where EHSS staff responded to two mock laboratory chemical spill scenarios.  During the drill, EHSS staff worked through the entire process of responding to a chemical spill, from receiving initial notification to assessing the hazards, donning appropriate protective equipment, and physically performing the mock spill cleanup.

Our staff divided into two teams and participated in two separate spill scenario drills.  Both drills involved a spill of a chemical(s) in a science building – one in a research laboratory and one in a stairwell.  EHSS staff did a great job working through the spill scenarios from initial notification, to response planning, PPE selection, and clean up of the mock spills (simulated with ketchup and shaving cream).  After the drills, the staff regrouped and discussed their responses and lessons learned to help us continually improve.

The drill was well received by all staff and helped us to identify a few improvements!

Seasonal Bat Activity

BatDuring the late summer and early fall months there is a seasonal increase in bat activity in and around Central New York. Because a small percentage of bats may carry the rabies virus, it is important to avoid any physical contact with a bat.

If you suspect any contact with a bat while on University premises, or if there is a bat in your campus work area or room, please call Public Safety @ 315.443.2224 and also report it to area supervisory personnel. Trained University personnel will take appropriate action to capture or remove/relocate the bat.

Individuals who have had any contact with a bat or potential unknowing contact (e.g., bat found in the room with a sleeping person or child, etc.) should contact Health Services at 315.443.9005 as soon as possible for an exposure assessment.  Syracuse University Health Services is located at 111 Waverly Ave.

For additional information please see our webpage on Bats and Wild Animals.

Laboratory Departure

If you work in a laboratory and are departing the University or transferring to another laboratory, please be sure all of your hazardous materials, including samples, solutions, etc., are properly disposed of or acknowledged and inventoried by your principle investigator prior to your departure. Contact EHSS for assistant with disposal of unwanted hazardous materials or for guidance in decommissioning your laboratory or workarea.

Following proper laboratory departure protocol accommodates new research, transfers accountability for hazardous materials, and most importantly, minimizes potential hazards to others.

Mercury Waste Round Up

Elemental mercury poses a unique hazard to human health and the environment. Mercury disposal and treatment methods can be costly. EHSS is encouraging labs to review their inventory of elemental mercury, mercury containing equipment or mercury thermometers and dispose of unneeded materials with EHSS during the month of December. Please contact EHSS’s Hazardous Waste group at 315.443.9132 or https://ehss.syr.edu/about/request-for-service/ to schedule a pick up.

EHSS’ New Website

EHSS is excited to launch its new website!  Our main goal in redesigning this website was to provide the University community with easy to find, concise information on the safety and compliance programs managed by EHSS.  A new feature on the website is our Request for Service Form which provides a simple way to request services or seek guidance and assistance from EHSS staff.  Similarly, EHSS’ Training webpage offers a single Training Registration Form to register for any of the safety and compliance trainings offered by EHSS.  Thank you for checking out our new website and we welcome your feedback!