University of Notre Dame
Flashpoint - Risk Management & Safety
February 2019

University pursues VPP certification over next 3 to 5 years

Over the next three to five years, the Risk Management and Safety Department will be working with faculty and staff across the University and the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA) to earn certification through the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).

VPP certification is a coveted mark of workplace safety, and data shows that injury rates are 50 to 70 percent lower at VPP workplaces than at workplaces that are not certified. In order to achieve certification, the University’s injury rate must be at or below the industry average for colleges and universities, and then IOSHA will assess the University against a set of criteria.

Everyone has a role to play in decreasing workplace injuries. RMS has established a VPP Outreach Committee that will be visiting leadership teams across campus and sharing next steps to create a safer workplace environment. 

How can you help?
Report potential hazards or near misses through the Incident Reporting Tool.
Report all workplace injuries immediately.

While the University’s ultimate goal would be to have no work-related injuries, pursuing VPP certification is one major step towards this goal. Learn more about the Voluntary Protection Program at Notre Dame.

Safety Alerts

Trip & Fall Incident - Notre Dame
An employee tripped, fell and suffered a head injury after tripping on a pile of snow. The employee was transported to the hospital, treated and hospitalized for three days as a result of the injury. For more information, read the Safety Alert here.
Iowa Machine Guarding Incident
Iowa OSHA issued two citations and $55,434 in penalties to Prinsco, Inc. after an employee was seriously injured by a moving saw blade. Employees were regularly exposed to running band saw blades when pushing scrap plastic onto a conveyor belt located behind the band saw. A worker was hospitalized after sustaining a
laceration to the hand after coming into contact with a band saw blade while removing scrap material from the danger zone.  For more information, read the complete alert here.
Lab Fire - Oregon State University
A lab fire originating in a scientific microwave oven at Oregon State University forced evacuation of two buildings and caused extension damage to the lab and water damage to the lab and rooms below. For more information, read the news article here.
Researcher Killed in Explosion - Indian Institute of Science 
A blast at Indian Institute of Science killed an engineer and injured three others was caused by the explosion of a cylinder that contained a hydrogen-oxygen mixture. For more information, read this article.
Lab Explosion - MIT
A small lab explosion at MIT caused by a chemical reaction was contained within a chemical fume hood. For more information, read here.
Lab Fire - University of Delaware 
No one was injured in a fire that occurred in a University of Delaware lab. The damage was contained to a water bath and a fume hood. While the student was working with hydrochloric and nitric acid, the cause has yet to be determined. For more information, read here.
Lab Fire - Cottonwood High School 
A smoldering A/C unit at a Cottonwood High School laboratory has brought about safety changes. A dangerous situation could have occurred considering a chemical inventory list for the laboratory was not available. For more information, read here.
Lab Explosion - UCLA
An explosion involving acetone in a UCLA lab caused superficial injuries to an employee's hand. Since this occurred in the lab's fume hood, the damage was minimal. For more information, read here.

Refrigerator Recall
Lowe’s refrigerators, made by Haier, have been recalled for a safety issue. Please review this notice to determine if your refrigerator is included in the recall and any appropriate actions to be taken.

Lab Fire - University of St. Andrews
A fire involving suspected hazardous materials occurred in the biomedical sciences building at University of  St. Andrews in Scotland. For more information, read the news story here.

UPS Fined for Blocked Aisles

United Parcel Service was cited by OSHA for exposing workers to fire, entrapment, and emergency evacuation hazards. Inspections revealed that exit routes were allowed to be blocked by packages and equipment. UPS will be facing over $200,000 in fines. For more information, read here.

OSHA 10 Most Cited Standards for 2018

This year had two newcomers to hit the list. For more information, read this article which includes a video of a presentation discussing the citations.


Based on the most frequently asked questions regarding training in complyND, the following are provided as friendly reminders: 

• Some courses require supplemental materials to be reviewed. Be sure to download     and review any additional material located under the “Documents” section on the       Launch Course Page before submitting.
• The Laboratory Safety Parts 1-3 courses each have non-embedded quizzes that a         trainee must complete to satisfy course requirements. The quizzes will appear in        the trainee’s “Pending Tests” section of their My Trainings page. As an additional      note, Parts 1-3 are initial only courses and do not automatically regenerate on a           recurring basis.
• The Laboratory Safety Refresher course is to be assigned to users one year upon         completion of their Parts 1-3 assignments.
• New system trainees are encouraged to review the Quick Reference Guide for               Trainees, the Take a Course How to Video, and the Course Completion Report             Video.
• Supervisors attempting to create training assignments for personnel should review     the Quick Reference Guide for Supervisors and the Ad-Hoc Course Setup How To       Video located at

To report any issues, please contact the complyND Team at

Environmental Corner

Chemicals used in laboratories and operational units on campus are University property and should always be stored on campus. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires workplaces to control and prevent dangers resulting from improperly storing or disposing hazardous materials. Since University-owned hazardous materials stored in off-site facilities like storage units or in individuals’ homes pose a threat to the individual and the public, University-owned materials should always be stored on campus in accordance with University procedures and policies. 

For more information on proper storage and disposal of chemicals, visit the RMS Laboratory Safety and Hazardous Waste web pages. If you have additional questions on hazardous material storage contact Jason DeWispeleare or hazardous material disposal contact Erin Hafner.

Flashpoint Risk Management & Safety
University of Notre Dame
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