At Chicago State University, the safety of our students, employees, and the local
community is our highest priority. We also strive to use environmentally responsible
practices whenever possible. In order to achieve these goals, we follow a number of
policies and practices, as well as specialized safety equipment. Areas of safety include
Emergency Response, Indoor Air Quality, Laboratory Safety, and Hazardous Waste Management.
If you have a question about an area not discussed here, please contact the Environmental
Health and Safety (EHS) Specialist or the Life Safety Specialist at the contact information
shown on the PFPM website Directory.
In case of emergency, the most important rule is: DON'T PANIC! Panicking will not
help the situation, and will probably make situation worse. Staying calm and in control
can make the situation much easier to manage, both for you and emergency responders.
Understanding what to do in an emergency situation before emergency actually occur
is an excellent way to be prepared and able to take actions that can save lives and
prevent further damage. The University Police have prepared guidance on how to prepare
for and respond to a wide range of different emergencies, including crime, fires,
chemical spills, and extreme weather conditions. It is strongly recommended for all
people affiliated with the University to carefully review the Emergency Guide.
Some potential health threats can be controlled more easily than others. For example,
the use of properly working laboratory fume hoods will prevent air contamination from
lab work, however not smoking inside or near the entrances of buildings will prevent
exposure to secondhand smoke and carbon monoxide.
If you believe there is an air quality issue that needs to be addressed, email the
EHS specialist and arrange for a consultation. Providing information on when the issue
seems to be occurring or other additional details will likely assist the investigation.
ABSOLUTELY NO SMOKING IS ALLOWED IN CSU BUILDINGS. This includes within 15 feet of
the entryways to a building, and also includes electronic cigarettes and any other
tobacco products. This mandate comes from the Smoke Free Illinois Act, 410 ILCS 82.
Asbestos is a mineral that naturally occurs in the form of fibers that were historically
used in building materials. Inhaling asbestos fibers is a known cause of cancer, and
should always be avoided. However, asbestos fibers present much less hazard if they
are bound into building materials, as they must be disturbed or damaged in order to
become airborne. Several of the buildings from the original construction on CSU campus
may contain building materials with bound asbestos, particularly in spray-on fireproofing
and floor tile.
The asbestos present at CSU does not present a health hazard unless it is damaged. Check with the EHS specialist before you do any work in any of the CSU campus buildings.
Especially those which involve working above a suspended ceiling or could involve
breaking the floor tile. The EHS specialist can discuss methods of preventing asbestos
from being released.
All Physical Facilities Planning and Management employees must complete Asbestos Awareness training annually. Sessions will be held for all shifts
as scheduled by PFPM.
Mold spores are a common occurrence. The microscopic fungi are a natural part of the
decay of dead plants in the environment, and small amounts of mold spores are found
in almost every building. Dry building materials are generally not vulnerable to mold
growth, but wet building materials can be a fertile environment for mold growth. As
the mold grows, it produces spores that enter the air. Significant quantities of mold
spores can irritate the airways of susceptible people or produce other adverse health.
Promptly report water leaks or damages to the PFPM on extension 2140 and your department
head; consequently, it is important to act quickly, the longer mold has a chance to
grow, the more difficult it is to remove. Submit a work order (following your department's
work order policy) to have the situation corrected promptly. If you suspect the presence
of mold growth in an area, please contact Physical Facilities to arrange for a consultation.
There are departments across the CSU campus that work with chemicals on a laboratory
scale. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), laboratory scale means "work with substances in which the containers used for reactions,
transfers, and other handling of substances are designed to be easily and safely manipulated
by one person. 'Laboratory scale' excludes those workplaces whose function is to produce
commercial quantities of materials."
All workers in laboratories, including student assistants and researchers, should
receive training in laboratory safety. Online safety training is currently in development.
Please contact the EHS specialist if you need assistance in arranging safety training.
Laboratory supervisors are responsible for identifying hazardous chemicals that require
special handling procedures, such as pyrophoric chemicals or other highly reactive
materials. The EHS specialist can assist in the developing these standard operating
procedures, and assist in determining the best approach for working with particularly
Laboratory scale work with hazardous materials at CSU is governed by the Chemical
Hygiene Plan, regardless of department. If you have questions about the chemical hygiene
plan, please contact our EHS Specialist at email shown in the PFPM Directory.
A number of university operations produce waste that maybe defined as hazardous. The
US Environmental Protection Agency defines hazardous waste as waste that is listed as a hazardous waste or possesses at least one of the four hazardous characteristics:
Contact the EHS specialist if you need assistance in determining if a waste is hazardous.
Laboratory hazardous wastes are normally removed once per semester, but special pickups
can be arranged for laboratory cleanouts. Each department that generates hazardous
wastes on a regular basis should have a contact person. Speak with your department
head for more information.
The Laboratory Waste Management Plan describes how the university manages potentially
hazardous waste generated in laboratories. If you have questions about laboratory
waste, please contact our EHS Specialist at the email shown on the PFPM Directory.
All waste containers need to be labeled accurately with the contents and the date
the waste was first added to the container (The accumulation start date). The PDF
files are designed to make it easy to list all of the necessary information on the
labels, and include the Avery Label Number in case you would like to make your own
What should I do with the container that used to hold a hazardous material?
If the container is empty, you can place it in the garbage or recycling after you
make the label unreadable (such as by painting over it or removing it from the bottle).
A good rule of thumb to know if a container is empty is that empty containers do not
drip or otherwise have materials fall out when held upside down.
Can I neutralize/treat a waste so that I can dispose of it as normal waste?
Unless the treatment is part of the chemical reaction process, you should not try
to treat hazardous waste. The only exception is neutralization of corrosive wastes
that have no other hazardous characteristics. If possible, try to use up as much of
a hazardous material before declaring it to be a waste.
What do I need to include when requesting a waste pickup?
The most important information to include on the spreadsheet or table sent to the
EHS specialist is the following:
• An accurate description of the waste material. Some information on the chemical
composition is necessary – the more detailed the better.
• The quantities of waste for each material, either by volume or mass.
• The location of the waste.
• A contact person in case questions arise about the waste
Some wastes that are hazardous can be recycled, and are eligible for special consideration
as Universal Waste. The most common types of universal waste are used fluorescent
bulbs and batteries, but mercury-containing equipment is also included these materials
should never be thrown in the normal garbage. Contact the EHS specialist if you need
to dispose of mercury-containing equipment.
Fluorescent bulbs will be removed by the electricians. Ultraviolet lamps and specialized
fluorescent lights should be kept separate from standard tubes and labeled accordingly.
Batteries can be brought to the recycling stations in the Cordell Reed Student Union
and in the Cook Administration Building. If you generate large quantities of batteries,
please contact the EHS specialist to obtain a container and arrange for regular pickups.
Students in the residence hall can help protect our natural environment by practicing
good waste management. Following these three rules will help make that toxic materials
are disposed of promptly.
• Do not throw out used fluorescent bulbs or batteries in the trash. This includes
CFLs. The front desk has containers for used bulbs and batteries. Any rechargeable
lithium batteries (like those in cell phones) should be returned to their manufacturer
• Avoid breaking fluorescent bulbs. If you break a fluorescent bulb, open a window
to ventilate the room and clean up the broken glass with a brush and dustpan. Place
the remains of the bulb and broken glass in a sealed container and bring it to the
• Avoid using hazardous chemicals if possible. If you do use a hazardous cleaner or
chemical, do not throw the bottle in the garbage unless it is empty (nothing dripping
from the container turned upside down). If you can't use the entire hazardous chemical,
contact the residence hall director to arrange a pickup.