General Safety

Can equipment or furniture be stored in a corridor, and what are the restrictions?

Generally, items should not be stored in corridors. Certain equipment (lab refrigerators, metal enclosed file cabinets, etc.) may be stored in approved corridors under the following conditions:

  1. All items in any particular corridor are placed along one side of the corridor only, with the other side kept clear for emergency evacuation.
  2. An 18-inch clearance, from the top of any storage to the ceiling, to prevent interfering with the sprinkler system operation, is maintained.
  3. Do not block fire exits or entrance doors.
  4. A clearance of three feet around all safety showers is maintained.
  5. A minimum corridor width of 44 inches at any point for occupant movement/evacuation is maintained
  6. No work with any stored chemical or biological material is allowed.

For further clarification, please review the PDF icon EHS Corridor Safety and Emergency Egress Update.

During the winter my work area gets cold; can I use a space heater?

Space heaters are not allowed at WCM. For more information, please read the Engineering & Maintenance Space and Temperature Setpoint Standard.

There is a safety shower in the corridor outside my work area. Can I store equipment next to the safety shower, and are there any requirements I need to consider?

Generally, safety showers should be accessible and visible from all vantage points. There should be a clear path to the shower and adequate clearance around the shower. A sign identifying the shower should be posted conspicuously, and visible from all vantage points. Based on these criteria, the following can serve as a guideline for storage in the vicinity of a safety shower:

  • A minimum clearance of three feet should be maintained around the safety shower.
  • Items stored should not present an obstruction to access or shower operation.
  • Stored items should not block or obscure the safety shower signage from any vantage point.

Can we use electrical extension cords in our work area and run them through a cable organizer to prevent people from tripping over wires?

EHS discourages the use of electrical extension cords as a general practice. Extension cords expose occupants to additional shock hazards as an additional point of contact where electrical plugs can come loose from the extension cord. Additionally, the connector point is on the floor where water can come in contact with the extension cord. We also discourage the use of flexible cable organizers because wires can be worn or deteriorate over time as occupants walk on the conduit. Because the wires are hidden, worn electrical wires can go unnoticed and cause an electrical short which can lead to a fire. The best solution is to contact Facilities to conduct a survey, properly evaluate your power needs, and engineer a solution.

My lab is looking to purchase an industrial tool (e.g. drill press, bench grinder). Is safety information available for this type of equipment?

EHS has developed the PDF icon Physical Hazards of Machinery and Equipment Update to address safety concerns with this type of equipment. This update details the hazards in working with this type of equipment, and provides safe work practices, guarding requirements, and guidance on inspection and training.

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