Engineering Environment, Health, and Safety

Emergency Preparedness

This element of the Engineering Health and Safety program will help you understand the basic requirements to manage the safety of your students and staff in case an emergency was to occur.

Working Alone Procedure/Plan

All laboratory and office spaces require a working alone plan/procedure. Should a need arise to work alone, this plan will assist you in doing so safely. Always try not to work alone, but if you must this plan will help you. Make sure you have a ‘buddy’ assigned while working alone. Your working alone plan must include a ‘buddy system’. The buddy will check up on the individual working alone on a assigned frequency (example every hour). The individual working alone must inform their buddy when they have finished their work and leaving the site. The buddy must be someone that knows where the work site is, ideally your supervisor or a delegate, however you may choose any member of your team to be a buddy as well.

EHS has create a safety app named ‘UofA Safe’ (link in the side bar). This is available on both the Google Play Store and Apple AppStore. The app includes a working alone buddy system. The app will only work if you have internet access (cellular data or UWS). 

Emergency Shut-off/EMO

It is paramount that all lab staff be made aware of emergency shut-off.

Power

For high voltage and/or high hazard equipment a mushroom type EMO switch is recommended, and in some cases it is required. In certain cases you may not have an electricity shut-off specifically installed for a piece of equipment, in which case the electricity circuit breakers in the work site may act as your emergency shut-off switches if the need arises. All electrical panels must be accessible at all times with at least 1 meter clearance around them.

Valve

If there are compressed gases piped into a lab, all staff and students must be aware on the emergency shut-off procedures. If gas lines are installed from cylinders to a piece of equipment (example Gas Chromatography GC) you must ensure that all staff and students know how to shut the line off, a gas leak test is completed for all pipe fittings, and inspected on a regular bases. 

Spill kits

There are several types of spill kits. To select an appropriate spill kit you will need to review the work place hazardous material usage.

Chemical

For labs with chemicals, a chemical spill kit must be available with the location marked clearly. In spaces with high chemical utilization, a department provided chemical spill kit is available in the corridor for major spills. You must also report all spills to EHS through the online incident reporting portal. For all assistance, feel free to contact control centre at 780-492-5555 and ask for EHS on-call person.

Biological

If you have bio-hazards in your laboratory, you must also have a biological spill kit available and marked, for more details on the spill kit requirements please refer to the EHS bio-safety guidelines document and the biological spill remediation protocol.

Other Hazards

There are other hazardous materials that require spill kits, such as radioactive materials. For more information refer to the central EHS website or contact the Faculty Safety Advisor for more information specific to your research.

Unit Action Plan

The central risk management services emergency management team has created a bank of unit action plans for all buildings on campus. You may utilize the link to review your buildings plan under the faculty of engineering. If your group has specific hazards that may require a special response plan, please create a unit specific unit action plan for your group including the building template.