2005 USNH Environmental Health and Safety Annual Report

2005 USNH Environmental Health and Safety Annual Report for Plymouth State University

Plymouth State University is committed to providing a healthy and safe environment for its students,
faculty, staff and visitors.

The Plymouth State University (PSU) Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) is responsible for the development and management of the University’s environmental health and safety program. Additional areas of responsibility include fire and life safety, hazardous material management, accident prevention, industrial hygiene, safety training and compliance with environmental and safety regulations and reporting requirements.
PSU complies with all required Federal, State and Local statutes and ordinances and with USNH Policy.

The responsibility and authority to establish and administer prudent property and environmental management practices was delegated to the chief executive officer of the University through the Board of Trustees policy (BOT VI.F.2), as approved by the
Chancellor of the University System of New Hampshire (USNH) in USY VI.6.
The USNH Council on Environmental Health and Safety has representation from each component institution; the Council measures compliance through internal audits, prepares an annual system wide report, and endeavors to support Vice Presidents, Deans, Directors and Chairs by providing technical consultation and program support. The Environmental Health & Safety Coordinator for Plymouth State University is the University representative on the USNH Council on Environmental Health and Safety.


The Campus Safety Committee continues to meet quarterly. The committee has representation from the Physical Education Center, the Art Department, the Science Department, University Police, the Physical Plant and from the PAT and Operating staffs. Minutes of the campus safety committee meetings can be viewed at:

The Art Department selected a different faculty member this year to continue the art safety efforts begun last year by Professor Terry Downs. The Art Department has made great strides in their efforts to ensure the safety of students and
faculty. With the assistance of the EHS office, they have developed and now maintain a safe and compliant hazardous
waste program.

The Traffic Light Summary included with this report shows the current status of the safety program elements. Because of the change in personnel in the Environmental Health and Safety Coordinator position at PSU, many of the programs are undergoing review and changes to reflect new federal requirements and to better address actual workplace conditions and exposures.


1. Industrial Hygiene
Asbestos abatement continues as needed for repairs or projects. During the summer of 2005, two smaller structures received complete asbestos abatements before demolition in preparation for the construction of the new Langdon Woods Residence Hall.
The EHS office has purchased new air and surface monitoring equipment to better respond to the concerns from faculty and staff regarding potential Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) issues. No unsafe levels of contaminants were noted during any IAQ evaluations this year.

Additional work on Rounds Hall this year, including the installation of a new foundation, appears to have been successful in eliminating moisture into the basement office area. It is expected this improvement will reduce concerns regarding IAQ in this building.

2. General Safety
In 2005, the University saw a solid reduction in injury claims requiring medical treatment and a reduction in the severity of those injuries, as the number of lost time accidents were down.
Two managers from the Physical Plant received training on confined space entry procedures. The training resulted in improvements to the existing entry plan. A new pump system purchase has made the required air monitoring easier
for the entry personnel.
A representative from MEMIC, the University System’s Worker Compensation carrier, provided on-campus training on fall protection. Personnel from the Physical Plant, the Student Union and the Performing Arts Center participated in the program.

The EHS Office performed only three ergonomic evaluations this year. These evaluations are done on request by faculty and staff. Representatives from MEMIC also conducted two on-site evaluations. The evaluations typically result in minor changes to work stations, especially key board trays and work surface height. The focus on ergonomics by EHS in recent years has resulted in a reduction of both claims and complaints in this area.

The EHS Coordinator has worked with MEMIC to develop a PSU specific action plan to address those tasks that have the highest number of injuries. MEMIC will provide assistance to the EHS office to address the new action plan. In addition, the EHS office continues to work with MEMIC and with the supervisor’s on campus to review and investigate all accidents.

The EHS office conducted a new safety awareness training program for all Physical Plant personnel. As a result of the training
and the feedback from the attendees, several safety policies are being reviewed and enhanced.

3. Radiation Safety
This program is not applicable at PSU.

4. Fire Protection
The EHS office continues to work closely with the Residential Life Staff to ensure that fire and life safety equipment and programs are maintained in the Residence Halls and in the Student Apartments. Regular inspections by Residential Life Staff, the EHS office and the Plymouth Fire Department are conducted.

Fire drills are conducted each fall in all Residence Halls and Student Apartments. The drills are conducted under the supervision of the Plymouth Fire Department.

The Plymouth and Holderness Fire Departments also conduct annual inspections of most major buildings on campus, including the PE Center, Boyd Hall, Draper & Maynard and the Silver Center for the Arts. The EHS office maintains copies of all of the Fire Department issued occupancy permits. Original permits are also available for review in their respective buildings.

In addition to the above mentioned drills and inspections, the EHS office is currently working with the Plymouth Fire Department to develop and print a fire safety bulletin for students living both on and off campus.

5. Occupational Health and Medicine
New employees continue to be brought into the current Respiratory Protection and Hepatitis B vaccination programs. These programs include all employees with the potential for occupational exposure to airborne contaminants and blood borne pathogens, respectively.

On November 17th of this year, the campus instituted a new smoking policy which prohibits smoking within 20 feet of any campus building. New signs have been posted on all campus buildings and representatives from the Smoking Committee continue to evaluate the program.

6. Disaster Preparedness
The EHS office, along with the University Police Department are reviewing the current emergency preparedness plan to determine what changes may be required to ensure the plan meets all new state and federal guidelines. The PSU Emergency Response Team will convene in the spring to review any recommendations and implement any required changes.

The EHS office is also involved, along with representatives from University Police and the PE Center, in local efforts to update plans for mass inoculations. The program was originally begun after 9/11 to prepare for small pox outbreaks. The plan is now being upgraded to address any potential pandemic or public health concern, such as the avian flu. The PE Center at PSU will continue to be the Regional POD, or inoculation site, for Plymouth, Holderness, and eight surrounding towns.

The University now has a complete and approved Integrated Contingency/Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures Plan (SPCC) in place. This plan addresses the safe and monitored storage of oils on campus that are found in above ground oil tanks, pad mounted transformers and elevator hydraulic oil tanks.

7. Biological Safety
The Health and Human Performance Department, the Physical Education Center and the science departments continue to participate in the campus infectious waste program.

8. Diving Safety
Due to limited diving operations at Plymouth State, a Safety Control Board has not been convened. A Diving Safety Manual is reviewed by all students and safety checks are performed prior to actual dives whether on or off site.


1. Hazardous Waste Management
The EHS office oversees all hazardous waste activity on campus, including removal, and ensures the timely inspection of all waste accumulation and storage areas.

Plymouth State University now has 2 active EPA Identification numbers, one for the campus within the Town of Plymouth and one for the campus within the Town of Holderness. The Boyd Science Center’s number was declassified at the request of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.
Both campuses are small quantity-extended generators (SQG) of hazardous waste. This year, for the first time, PSU will be
required to submit SQG Hazardous Waste Self Certification Reports for both EPA sites.

The micro scale techniques in use in the Boyd Science Building continue, so waste streams there remain very small. Draper & Maynard art faculty continue to improve their waste streams through the use of less hazardous products and by eliminating the donations of hazardous materials into the program.

Waste disposal statistics for 2005 are as follows:

  • Regulated Chemical Waste: 2200 lbs.
  • Non-RCRA Regulated Waste: 7345 lbs.
  • Universal Waste-Batteries: 1240 lbs.
  • Universal Waste-Ballasts: 691 lbs.
  • Universal Waste-Compact/U-Bent fluorescents: 910
  • Universal Waste-Straight fluorescent tubes: 6473 linear feet

In February of this year, PSU did receive a notice of violations from the EPA based upon an inspection conducted in June of 2003. The EHS office worked closely with the Physical Plant and the Science and Art departments to ensure that all required program elements of the RCRA standard were followed and that any conditions that may have led to the enforcement action were properly addressed.

As part of the settlement with EPA, PSU will also be performing a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP). The EHS office will work with the NH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) and other NH College and University EHS staffs to assist secondary schools in the state with their hazardous waste programs. The group will conduct comprehensive regional educational programs for secondary school personnel across the state who use and manage hazardous materials and
waste. In addition to the training, a sub group of participating schools will be provided with services to safely dispose of unusable and/or dangerous chemicals and other hazardous wastes that may be identified as a result of the training.

2. Hazardous Materials Inventory and Reporting PSU has begun to utilize the Chemical Environmental Management System (CEMS) computer program developed by the University of New Hampshire. The program and the related training, hardware and software were made available to PSU through a US Department of Justice grant administered by Keene State College. Keene State representatives have assisted PSU in the inventory preparation and data entry, and have provided training to faculty, staff, and local emergency response personnel from the University, and from the Towns of Plymouth and Holderness.

The CEMS program will allow for computer access to Material Safety Data Sheets for faculty and staff. It will also assist in the
reduction of hazardous materials on site with the surplus chemical list that is part of the program.

The EHS office is grateful for the tremendous support and involvement from the faculty and staff of the Science, Art, and Performing Art departments and the staff of the Physical Plant. This program will be most effective with their continued involvement. The University Environmental Committee was also briefed on the CEMS program and they have pledged their support as well.

At the beginning of the year, an informal audit resulted in PSU filing Community Right to Know/SARA Title III reports with the state for the first time. The audit showed inventories of some chemicals were becoming high enough to warrant the filings.

PSU has an air permit for the heating plant in the PE Center. Inventories of emissions are filed on an annual basis with the state as required.

PSU utilizes several mechanisms to ensure that we meet all state and federal requirements, including the requirements mentioned in this report. Methods include, but are not limited to publications and membership in professional organizations like the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE). The EHS office is also actively involved with College and University organizations, including the New Hampshire College and University Compliance Assistance Cooperative (NHC3UA).

Formal training and internal procedures are also utilized to ensure compliance. Examples of this include:

Injury and Illness Prevention
Safety training was conducted this year for staff. Topics included fall protection, confined space entry and safety awareness. Both EHS and Police personnel have received training this year on the new national and state standards for emergency response plans. In addition, the EHS Coordinator attended conference training sessions on upcoming changes in the ADA regulations and state and international building codes.

Internal procedures for processes such as hot work and confined space require a reporting procedure that involves communication with the Plymouth Fire Department and forms that are reviewed and/or completed by the EHS office.

Regular inspections by local fire departments and the State Fire Marshal’s office combined with regular communication with the agencies over various matters also keep the EHS office up to date on any new or upcoming requirements.

Hazardous Materials/Environmental Management
Weekly inspections of accumulation areas are conducted by faculty and staff. The reports are reviewed by the EHS office. Any discrepancies are addressed and follow-up is conducted if necessary. Students, faculty and staff are trained on the requirements for the handling, labeling and storage of hazardous waste.

The main campus hazardous waste storage building has been redesigned to ensure complete compliance with all required state and federal regulations.

The EHS Coordinator obtained certification as a NH Hazardous Waste Coordinator. In order to maintain the certification, annual training conducted by the state will be required. In addition to the certification, the Coordinator also received training regarding EPA, OSHA and DOT regulations.

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