Industrial Hygiene

Research and instruction at the Colorado School of Mines involves interactions between people and a variety of hazardous substances and physical agents. The CSM Environmental Health and Safety Department provides assistance to faculty and students in identifying, evaluating, and controlling hazards.

EHS has equipment and expertise in laboratory ventilation, chemical hygiene, personal protective equipment, personnel monitoring to determine employee exposures, and engineering controls. We assist CSM personnel in the handling and management of hazardous and toxic chemicals, radioactive materials, gases, noise exposures, biological agents, and indoor air quality.

Please contact EHS if you have a need for the identification, monitoring, or control of hazards such as asbestos, lead, radiation, toxic gases, noise, or other hazards.

Occupational Safety

Industrial safety issues may arise for students and faculty as well as University maintenance personnel. The CSM campus contains a wide variety of dangerous or potentially dangerous equipment. It is essential that persons working with dangerous machines or laboratory apparatus be knowledgeable of potential hazards and safe operating procedures. Each individual's experience with specific equipment should be evaluated prior to unsupervised operation. If training is needed, it should be provided in advance. Evaluation and training are generally accomplished by staff of the department owning the apparatus, who are most familiar with its operation.

The EHS Department notifies academic departments and incoming graduate students of this requirement for evaluation and training. The EHS Department coordinates training, provides resources, evaluates hazards and determines regulatory requirements. EHS training includes Confined Space Entry, Control of Hazardous Energy and Fork Truck Operation.

Annual inspections of campus shops and labs help to identify and eliminate potential hazards to users of those facilities. Investigations are conducted for reports of unsafe conditions and all accidents, regardless of whether injuries resulted. The intent of these investigations is not to assign blame, but to identify and remove any unnecessary condition which could contribute to a future incident.

Medical Surveillance

Working with hazardous substances or materials can cause injury or illness. In order to ensure that CSM faculty, staff, and students avoid unnecessary exposures and risks, certain personnel are monitored with regular physical examinations.

Individuals who may be exposed to asbestos, lead, or cadmium in the course of their duties, and EHS personnel who handle hazardous waste or participate in the Spill Response Team are all required to undergo annual physical examinations. In addition, any individual whose job requires the wearing of a protective respirator is required to have physical examinations. These exams are designed to monitor for biological changes and early warning signs of disease that are specific to the types of exposures that may occur.

CSM contracts with occupational health physicians to provide physical examinations and biological testing. The physicians we contract with are specialists in occupational health who provide general physical examinations, x-rays, blood and urine testing, and OSHA required procedures for CSM clients.

Ozone Depleting Chemicals Used As Refrigerants (Mandatory)

State regulations require the training and certification of HVAC personnel and auto mechanics who handle certain refrigerants. EHS coordinates this training and certification process with Plant Facilities

Confined Space Entry (Mandatory)

OSHA regulations require the training of employees who may enter confined spaces such as tanks, pits, sewers, crawlspaces, etc.... The EHS Department periodically provides this training to Plant Facilities personnel and to outside contractors who have a need to enter confined spaces on campus.

Shop Equipment Training for Students

Several departments have workshops which contain metal and wood working machines. This equipment is made available for use by students. Operations in these shops are supervised by Departmental Technicians. The EHS Department has recommended that each department set up a student training program for shop equipment. According to our recommendation, students should not be allowed to use shop equipment until they are trained and authorized.

Miscellaneous Topics

OSHA regulations require training on numerous industrial safety topics. Plant Facilities and Student Life maintenance and custodial personnel are the primary target groups for this training. The University Safety Officer develops training programs which cover various industrial safety topics and arranges to provide this training for small employee groups. The groups usually consist of employees in individual shops. These training sessions are held in the employees' shop or work area. The purpose of providing safety training in this manner is to reduce the scheduling problems associated with holding large assemblies of support/service personnel. Examples of training topics which may be addressed in this manner include the following:

  • Back and Lifting Safety
  • Fall Protection
  • Trench Shoring
  • Lock Out/Tag Out
  • Use of Fire Extinguishers