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									          Lifeline                                                                         Your Safety Resource
                                 A publication of the Environmental Health & Safety Department
   Issue Number 39                                                                                                              October 2008
                                                              Laser Pointer Update                                Were You Prepared?
             Training Etiquette                    Mark Banister                                       Jim Gindlesperger
Jim Gindlesperger
                                                                                                       The aftermath of Hurricane Ike produced
Most of you are aware that EH&S offers                                                                 severe winds in the Pittsburgh area in mid-
numerous safety training classes. We are                                                               September.     Those high winds created
pleased that so many have taken advantage                                                              numerous power outages throughout the area.
of the opportunity to attend these classes.                                                            You may have been among the thousands
However, a disturbing trend is developing that                                                         who were affected.
we would like to reverse: Too many people
                                                   Laser pointers have been around now for
are signing up for the classes but not                                                                 Thinking back to those days, how did the
                                                   many, many years and are widely used in the
attending.                                                                                             power outages limit your activities? Were you
                                                   college and university environment. Most
                                                                                                       able to put gas in your car? Many service
                                                   laser pointers are “Class 3a,” referring to their
While this may seem like an insignificant                                                              stations could not provide gas because they
                                                   power and visible light emissions.        These
problem, there is much more to it than initially                                                       had no electricity to operate their pumps. Did
                                                   lasers are of sufficient power to be hazardous
appears.                                                                                               you try to use an ATM, only to find out that no
                                                   under both direct and certain reflected
                                                                                                       cash was available because the ATM wouldn’t
Class sizes are limited by the size of the                                                             operate?      How about water for cooking,
room. On many of our more popular classes it                                                           drinking, or sanitation at home? Did you have
                                                   There have been many reports of at least
is necessary to cut off registration when that                                                         to go to one of the centers providing water
                                                   temporary vision loss after brief, "prank-type"
limit is reached. Anyone wishing to sign up for                                                        from portable tanks, or had you followed
                                                   exposures. Verified retinal injuries have been
a class for which registration is closed must                                                          emergency instructions that recommended
                                                   confirmed from persons exposed to longer
wait until it is offered again. When people                                                            having a three-day supply of water on hand
                                                   periods of time.
sign up but do not attend, it deprives someone                                                         for every member of the family, should
else of the opportunity to acquire needed                                                              something like this occur?
                                                   Most recently, there has been a troubling
                                                   surge in the use of even more powerful laser
                                                                                                       Power can go off for many reasons, and often
                                                   pointers, available from outside the US. In
A recent class exemplifies this quite well. The                                                        it can be off for as long as weeks at a time.
                                                   addition to the increased hazard, many of
class limit of 25 participants was reached                                                             Wind, ice storms, blizzards, failures in the
                                                   these units are not properly labeled.
several weeks before the class was to meet.                                                            distribution grid . . . all these things can impact
On the day of the class, only seven of those                                                           our daily lives and prohibit us from doing the
                                                   Consider the following tips for laser pointer
who had signed up attended. This meant 18                                                              things we have come to take for granted.
people who may have attended were deprived
of that chance because others failed to let us                                                         Before the next emergency, whether it be a
                                                   •   Never look directly into a laser beam
know they would not attend.                                                                            power failure, flood, ice storm or some other
                                                   •   Never shine a laser pointer at anyone.
                                                                                                       type of emergency, it would be a good idea to
                                                       Laser pointers are designed to illustrate
We recognize that schedules often create                                                               set up an emergency plan for your home,
                                                       inanimate objects.
conflicts, but when possible, please contact                                                           including stocking up on water and food. For
EH&S when you become aware that you will           •   Do not allow minors to use a pointer            guidance on how to do this, go to the EH&S
not be able to attend a class that you had             unsupervised. Laser pointers are not            web           site:                 http://ehs-
signed up for. This is just good etiquette, and        toys.                                 
it will allow us to reopen the registration for    •   Do not point a laser pointer at mirror-like     cyOperations/EOPGeneral.htm and scroll
others who had wanted to attend but could not          surfaces. A reflected beam can act like a       down to Home Emergency Plan.
because the registration was closed.                   direct beam on the eye.
                                                   •   Never remove filters or otherwise alter the
To those of you who have contacted us when             device in any way.                                       LASER Cutting Devices
you were unable to attend, we thank you and        •   Do not purchase a laser pointer if it does      Andrew Lawson
want you to know we appreciate it. To those            not have a caution or danger sticker on it
of you who have not done so in the past,               identifying its class. Do not use a Class
please do so in the future when possible. It           3b or Class 4 laser pointer. Report
could be you who will get a second chance to           suspicious devices to the FDA.
register if someone else is courteous enough
to notify us when they will be unable to attend.   Laser pointers can be very helpful
We appreciate your cooperation on this.            instructional aids. Responsible use of them is      LASER cutting devices are very versatile tools
                                                   necessary due to their potential for harm.          that can be used to cut or drill wood, plastics,
                                                                                                       and metals. These devices are often very
                                                                                                       economical, efficient and can easily be
                                                                                                       automated. Due to these features, these
                                                                                                       devices have found their way to campus.
           Lifeline                                                                         Your Safety Resource
                                  A publication of the Environmental Health & Safety Department
Before you purchase this type of equipment          been prevented if the person had been                      Shipping of Dangerous Goods
there are some things to consider.                  wearing eye protection.                             Jeffrey Harris

Typically, these LASERs are classified by the       One of the most common safety violations in
American National Standards Institute (ANSI)        Carnegie Mellon’s labs is not wearing
as Class 1 LASERs. Class 1 LASERs emit              adequate eye protection. Contact with
low levels of energy that are not hazardous to      chemicals caused one-fifth of all eye injuries
the eyes or skin. However, enclosed within          last year. Most of our lab areas contain
these devices are often Class 3B or 4               chemicals which could cause damage to your
                                                                                                        The Carnegie Mellon University Program for
LASERs which are capable of emitting high           eyes if they were to come in contact with
                                                                                                        Shipping of Dangerous Goods can be found
levels of energy which are hazardous to the         them. Safety glasses and goggles are
                                                                                                        under the Quick Links Tab on our website
eyes and skin.          Therefore, the beams        required in all areas that use or store
                                                                                                        ( Our office has staff that
generated by these devices are safe when            hazardous materials. Putting them on as soon
                                                                                                        are trained and certified in how to properly
operated      according     to   manufacturer’s     as you enter the lab is a good habit to get into.
                                                                                                        identify, classify, package, mark, label and
instructions, but only trained personnel should
                                                                                                        package in accordance with national and
perform maintenance and other procedures            Eye protection is a big deal in the workplace
                                                                                                        international regulations. Here are a few new
that involve breaching the enclosure.               outside of the university and failure to comply
                                                                                                        changes to know;
                                                    with your employer’s policies could result in
These devices can be hazardous, however,            suspension or even job loss. Repeated failure       Shipments to or from the European Union:
when the beam is used to cut or drill certain       to wear eye protection here at CMU could
                                                                                                        Customers who offer dangerous goods
metals, plastics, and other materials. As the       result in your losing lab privileges.
                                                                                                        shipments to or from European Union
beam strikes these materials they have the
                                                                                                        countries participating in the European
potential to produce Laser-generated Air            Most of the injured workers who did not wear
                                                                                                        Agreement Concerning the International
Contaminants (LGAC). These contaminants             their eye protection said they did not believe it
                                                                                                        Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR)
may be gaseous or particulate and can, under        was required by the situation. The lesson here
                                                                                                        are now required to include the following
certain conditions, pose health risks to those      is that you can never predict what will happen
                                                                                                        statement in the Additional Handling section of
exposed to them. The contaminant generated          next and that it is always better to be “safe
                                                                                                        their Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous
will depend on the type of material that is         than sorry”.
                                                                                                        Goods:        “ADR European Transport
being cut or drilled. Cutting or drilling of some
                                                                                                        Statement: Carriage in accordance with
materials can generate airborne benzene,            Besides safety glasses and goggles, make
toluene, hydrochloric acid, isocyanates, and        sure you know where your eyewash is located
other by-products which may be hazardous.           in your lab and how it operates. Remember
                                                                                                        If this statement is missing, your shipment
                                                    you need to flush your eyes for at least 15
                                                                                                        may be delayed by local Europen regulatory
To control the hazards associated with cutting      minutes. Test your eyewashes often to ensure
                                                                                                        agencies. This requirement applies to
or drilling certain metals, plastics, and other     that they are working properly and that you
                                                                                                        shipments to or from the following European
materials, ventilation systems must be used to      have a clean and clear flow of water.
                                                                                                        Union countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech
reduce or eliminate personnel exposures to
                                                                                                        Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Great
these hazards and to safely exhaust them            If you have any questions about CMU’s eye
                                                                                                        Britain,    Hungary,   Italy,   Luxembourg,
outside of the room in which they are               protection requirements or whether your
                                                                                                        Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and
generated.                                          situation requires the use of eye protection,
                                                    please     contact    Michael    Fouch     at
EH&S must be consulted before the purchase or by phone at                Leak-Proof Liner for Liquids:
or acquisition of these systems so that the         268-3221.
                                                                                                        If you are using outer packaging that is not
need for ventilation systems, if any, can be
                                                                                                        liquid-tight, a leak-proof liner is required for
adequately addressed and to ensure that all
                                                                                                        certain packing groups.
other potential hazards and issues are                           Congratulations!
evaluated and controlled to the greatest extent     Jim Gindlesperger                                   Unregulated Biological Material:
                                                                                                        If the shipment contains perishable biological
                                                                                                        materials, paste a purple Biological Perishable
For more information, please contact Andrew
                                                                                                        Materials sticker on box.          This includes
Lawson at 8-8405 or Mark Banister at 8-1493.
                                                                                                        biological material that definitely cannot cause
                                                    Andrew Lawson, the Biological Safety Officer        disease. Examples include purified enzymes,
                                                    for    EH&S,     recently    completed     the      sterilized specimens, non-pathogenic bacteria
                Eye Protection
                                                    requirements for his Master of Science degree       as well as toxins, antitoxins, vaccines, blood
Michael Fouch
                                                    in Industrial Hygiene at West Virginia              and blood products that are used for
                                                    University.    Please join us in offering           transplantation or in a transfusion, but have no
                                                    congratulations to Andrew for this outstanding      or very low probability of producing disease.
According to OSHA, an estimated 1,000 eye
injuries occur in American workplaces
everyday. Most of these injuries could have

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