Risk Management & Safety

Please note that the information in archived safety tips may not reflect current policies. These are maintained primarily as a historical archive. For the latest policies, check other sections of the RMS website.

December 2013: Space Heater Safety

As cooler weather makes it way into Las Vegas this winter, space heaters are becoming more common on campus. Risk Management and Safety strongly discourages the use of space heaters at UNLV. They are not highly efficient and have significant fire and safety issues associated with their use. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 25,000 residential fires resulting in over 300 deaths each year are associated with space heaters. An additional 6,000 persons receive medical care related to burns when handling hot space heaters.

If you have problems with heating or ventilation in your building, contact Facilities Management at 5-4357 for assistance.

If a space must be used, these safety precautions must be observed:

  • Space heaters must be tested and certified by an independent testing laboratory such as Underwriter's Laboratories (UL)
  • Space heaters must have 3 feet of clearance on all sides
  • Space heaters must have an automatic shutoff feature if it accidentally tips over
  • Space heaters must be plugged directly into an outlet in the wall, not an extension cord nor power strip
  • Space heaters must be turned off whenever you leave the room and unplugged when you leave for the day

RMS reserves the right to confiscate space heaters if used in an unsafe manner.

Contact Risk Management and Safety at 895-4226 if you have additional questions.

November 2013: Hazard Communication Training

RMS would like to remind those employees who work with hazardous materials of the requirement to update their Hazard Communication training. This training is required for all employees (including student workers) who work in laboratories or other areas with chemicals.

Any employee who has not completed Hazard Communication or Chemical Hygiene training in 2013 must complete the updated training by December 1st.

This training may be taken online at http://rms.unlv.edu/training/hazcom_v2/.

You may contact Risk Management and Safety at 895-4226 for more information.

October 2013: Fire Safety

Fire remains one of the most common types of emergencies on campuses and in homes across the country. RMS would like to remind the campus of the following safety precautions if a fire occurs:

  • Report any fire to UNLV Police Services by calling 911 from any campus phone or 895-3668 from a cell phone.
  • Be familiar with your workplace and know the evacuation routes in your building.
  • Have an exit strategy by planning at least two escape routes.
  • When an alarm sounds, assume a real emergency exists and evacuate quickly and safely.
  • If individuals require assistance during an evacuation, follow the procedures established in your departments.
  • Immediately report any problems with smoke alarms to Facilities Management.

A critical decision in planning for fires is if you should fight a fire with a fire extinguisher or flee to a safe area. This decision is based on a quick risk assessment that evaluates the size of the fire, the evacuation route, and the atmosphere near the fire. An updated safety training class on how to use a fire extinguisher is available online. RMS also offers live fire extinguisher training for those who complete the online class.

Please help us maintain a safe campus. Fires can cause severe pain and disfigurement. It may also destroy valuable research in minutes.

Contact Risk Management and Safety at 895-4226 for more information.

September 2013: Cart Safety II

UNLV has a Cart Safety Program which establishes the minimum requirement necessary to operate a utility cart safely on campus. The following points are important to remember when operating a cart.

  • All cart operators must complete cart safety training before operating a cart. A newly-revised training course may be completed online at http://rms.unlv.edu/training/cart_v2/.
  • Obey all traffic laws, including posted speed limits and parking restrictions.
  • The use of cell phones, headphones, iPods, or any device the covers the ears is prohibited while operating a cart.
  • Smoking in carts is prohibited.
  • Pedestrians on sidewalks always have the right of way. Use reduced speed on walkways and in heavy pedestrian traffic.
  • Approach blind corners with caution. It is possible for vehicle drivers to not see cart drivers approaching.
  • Do not misuse the cart. Do not exceed the maximum capacity for each cart and passengers must sit in designated seats.
  • Unauthorized use would be considered theft of UNLV property and handled accordingly.
  • Do not operate carts on a public highway, including the main roads surrounding UNLV. Carts must remain on UNLV property.
  • Be sure the cart is secured by removing the key after each use.

For more detailed information, visit our Cart Safety webpage. Please note, privileges can be revoked if rules concerning the use of carts are violated.

August 2013: Animals on Campus

In consideration of safety and sanitation, only the following animals are permitted inside campus facilities:

  • Service animals for persons with disabilities or for law enforcement
  • Laboratory or research animals
  • Show animals used in productions or other events for display in campus-sanctioned activities

Animals shall be allowed on campus under conditions of the Clark County Code Title 10.36.040(a) which states, "No person owning or having possession of any animal, shall cause, permit, or allow the animal to stray, run or in any manner be at large." Owners violating this policy will be asked to leash the animals or Clark County Animal Control will be notified to assist in the removal of the animal from campus.

Stray animals create a potentially unhealthy environment. Stray animals, usually cats, occasionally inhabit areas on campus. UNLV employees and students are asked to not feed these stray animals to discourage them from roaming in or around campus facilities.

Please contact Risk Management and Safety at 895-4861 for more information.

July 2013: Cart Safety

UNLV has a Cart Safety Program which establishes the minimum requirement necessary to operate a utility cart safely on campus. The following points are important to remember when operating a cart.

  • All cart operators must complete cart safety training before operating a cart. Training may be completed online at http://rms.unlv.edu/training/cart/.
  • Cart drivers must have a valid driver's license to operate a cart.
  • Obey all traffic laws, including posted speed limits and parking restrictions.
  • The use of cell phones, headphones, iPods, or any device the covers the ears is prohibited while operating a cart.
  • Pedestrians on sidewalks always have the right of way. Use reduced speed on walkways and in heavy pedestrian traffic.
  • Approach blind corners with caution. It is possible for vehicle drivers to not see cart drivers approaching.
  • Do not misuse the cart. Unauthorized use would be considered theft of UNLV property and handled accordingly.
  • Do not operate carts on a public highway, including the main roads surrounding UNLV. Carts must remain on UNLV property.
  • Do not exceed the maximum capacity for each cart and passengers must sit in designated seats.
  • Be sure the cart is secured after each use.

For more detailed information, please visit our Cart Safety webpage. Please note, privileges can be revoked if rules concerning the use of carts are violated.

If you have any questions, please contact Risk Management and Safety at 895-4226.

June 2013: Heat Stress

Whether you work outside or indoors, Risk Management and Safety would like to remind you of the importance of remaining safe during the hot summer months. Summer in Las Vegas can be uncomfortable, especially with temperatures regularly over 100 degrees. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious medical emergencies resulting from unhealthy and unsafe practices in hot environments. Some tips to remain safe and healthy in hot weather include:

  • Drink plenty of water: OSHA recommends drinking small amounts of water frequently throughout the day. Generally, adults should drink 64 ounces of water daily - more if you work outdoors and sweat often.
  • Dress appropriately: When outside, wear lightweight, natural fabrics and a hat if possible.
  • Eat light: Heavy and hot foods sometimes accelerate dehydration. Light, refreshing foods like fruits and vegetables help keep you hydrated.
  • Stay inside when possible: Limit outdoor activity during the hottest parts of the day.

A training course has been developed to help you recognize the signs and symptoms of heat stress and what you can do to protect yourself. The training is at http://rms.unlv.edu/training/HeatStress/.

OSHA has additional information at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatstress/index.html.

Please contact Risk Management and Safety at 895-4226 with any questions regarding heat stress.

May 2013: Assisting the Disabled During an Emergency

In the event of any emergency evacuation from a building, the risk management and safety office (RMS) would like to remind the campus of the following procedures to ensure the safety of everyone in the building.

Assisting the Visually Impaired

In the event of an emergency, tell the person the nature of the emergency and offer to guide him/her to the nearest emergency exit. Have the person take your elbow (this is the preferred method when acting as a sighted guide) and guide them towards the nearest exit.

Assisting the Hearing Impaired

Write a note to the person, telling them of the emergency and the nearest evacuation route. For example, write "FIRE exit out the rear door to the right and down. NOW!" Turn the light switch off and on repeatedly to gain attention and then indicate through gestures what is occurring and what response to take.

Assisting People Using Crutches, Canes, or Walkers

Carrying options include a two-person, lock-arm position or having the person sit in a sturdy chair, preferably one with arms.

Assisting Non-ambulatory People or People in Wheelchairs

First, unless there is IMMINENT DANGER, do no attempt to carry persons with mobility impairments. Instead escort them to the nearest stairwell and have at least two people wait with them in case further evacuation becomes necessary. The escort or floor monitor should specify or inform a person to notify the Clark County Fire Department that a person is in a specific stairwell and floor landing level. There are many considerations when moving a person in a wheelchair. Wheelchairs have movable parts; some are not designed to withstand the stress of lifting. You may have to remove the chair batteries. Life support equipment may be attached. Lifting a person with little or no ability to move may be dangerous to their well-being. Always consult with the person in the chair regarding:

  • The number of people necessary for assistance.
  • Ways of being removed from the wheelchair.
  • Whether the seat cushion pad should be brought along when the person is removed from the chair.
  • Whether to extend or bend extremities when lifting because of pain, catheter, leg bands, braces, etc.
  • Being carried forward or backward on a flight of stairs.
  • The type of assistance necessary after evacuation.

If you have any questions, please contact RMS at ext. 5-4226.

April 2013: Emergency Assistance During Travel & Workers' Compensation Coverage During Foreign Travel

Emergency Assistance During Travel

Nevada System of Higher Education contracts with St. Paul Traveler's Insurance Co. to provide global executive support services to NSHE travelers through the MEDEX program. The MEDEX program provides medical, travel, and personal assistance to NSHE employees in the event of an accident, injury, or loss.

Workers' Compensation Coverage During Foreign Travel

Employees planning foreign travel should be aware that there is no workers' compensation coverage for employees who travel to countries with U.S. sanctions. Employees who are traveling to countries that have U.S. travel warnings will have workers' compensation coverage; however, the U.S. State Department recommends that travel be avoided and the risks considered.

Additional information regarding travel assistance and foreign travel may be found on the risk management and safety (RMS) website or by contacting RMS at ext. 5-4226.

March 2013: Medical Treatment for Workers' Compensation Injuries

For work-related injuries, employees should utilize the services of the following medical providers when medical treatment is needed:

Concentra Medical Center

  • Airport/Polaris: 5850 S. Polaris Road, #100, 739-9957, open 24 hours
  • Henderson: 149 N. Gibson Road, Suite H, 558-6275, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • North Las Vegas/Brooks: 151 W. Brooks Ave., 399-6545, Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Paradise: 3900 Paradise Ave, Suite V, 369-0560, Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Center for Occupational Health and Wellness

  • Rancho/Charleston: 801 S. Rancho Road, Suite F1, 474-4454, Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Henderson: 9005 S. Pecos, Road, Suite 2610, 474-0472, Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Southern Nevada Occupational Health Center

  • North Las Vegas: 4100 N. Martin Luther King Blvd, Suite A, 380-1712, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Las Vegas: 1712 Bearden Drive., 380-1712, Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For life-threatening injuries or when employees require emergency care, please proceed to the nearest medical facility or contact police services (9-1-1 from a campus phone) to arrange for emergency transportation.

Employees should not use their personal medical provider for work-related injuries as this may delay the claim process. Southwest Medical Associates is NOT an approved medical provider.

Posters and maps for all clinics can be found here.

Should you have any questions about initial care services or workers' compensation, please contact the office of risk management and safety at ext. 5-4226 or here.

February 2013: Perchloric Acid Safety

In the United States over the last few years, several incidents involving the use or storage of perchloric acid have occurred in laboratories. These incidents have resulted in explosions, severe injuries, and death in some cases. Many of these incidents occurred due to improper cleaning or rinsing of hoods after the use of perchloric acid. Other incidents were caused by improper storage and use of the acid near organic materials. In general, perchloric acid is dangerously corrosive and forms explosive mixtures with metals and organic materials such as wood or plastic.

The office of risk management and safety (RMS) has noticed a wide range of practices regarding the use and storage of perchloric acid. The biggest problem appears to be the storage of perchloric acid with other chemicals. Storage of the acid in locations must be near an approved perchloric acid washdown hood. Any other storage location is an indication perchloric acid is used and stored improperly thereby putting users at risk.

For more information, please view these guidelines for the safe use and storage of perchloric acid or contact RMS at ext. 5-4226.

January 2013: Laser Pointer Safety

The use of laser pointers has become widespread. The pointers are useful tools for educators in the classroom and at conventions and meetings. However, due to the low cost and ubiquitous supply, these pointers are now being purchased and used by the general public, including children, and used in ways not intended by the manufacturers. As a result, serious concerns about the hazards of laser pointers have surfaced.

While the majority of the laser pointers contain low to moderately powered diode lasers, more powerful lasers can be found on the market, usually imported from other countries. These pointers present a significant potential for eye injury and are often not properly labeled according to FDA regulations.

There are currently no restrictions for purchasing laser pointers in the United States. The FDA has issued a warning for laser pointers, urging that the pointers be used as intended, not as toys, and not by children unless under adult supervision. The full text of the FDA warning may be found at www.fda.gov.

The hazards of laser pointers are limited to the eye. Although with most visible lasers, the largest concern is potential damage to the retina, most laser pointers are not likely to cause permanent retinal damage. Because of this hazard, RMS would like to remind the campus community of the following safety precautions using laser pointers.

  • Never look directly into the laser beam
  • Never point a laser beam at a person
  • Do not aim the laser at reflective surfaces
  • Never view a laser pointer using an optical instrument, such as binocular or a microscope
  • Do not allow children to use laser pointers, unless under the supervision of an adult

Use only laser pointers meeting the following criteria.

  • Labeled with FDA certification stating "DANGER: Laser Radiation" for Class 3R lasers or "CAUTION: Laser Radiation" for Class 2 pointers
  • Classified as Class 2 or 3R according to the label
  • Has a maximum output less than 5 mW (the lower the better)

Laser pointers are effective tools when used safely and properly. Contact Risk Management and Safety for additional information.

This document was last modified on January 11, 2017.