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Physical Address:

Administration Bldg Room 211
Moscow ID 83844-3168

Mailing Address:
Division of Finance and Administration
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3168
Moscow ID 83844-3168

Phone: 208-885-6174

Fax: 208-885-5504

Email: vpfinance@uidaho.edu

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Safety Tip of the Week

The university cares about the safety and wellbeing of our faculty and staff and has invested in a pilot winter weather slip and fall prevention program. Risk Management and Environmental Health and Safety are launching the program with the purchase of approximately 900 Korkeez-brand traction pullovers. These traction pull-over devices are intended for employees to use. The Korkeez are easy to use and reduce the chance of slipping on the ice and snow. Their compact size makes them ideal to keep in your vehicle or winter coat pocket.

The traction devices may be picked up in person by faculty and staff free of charge through U of I Risk (TLC 048 and 049) and Environmental Health and Safety (west campus) on a first come first served basis, starting October 15. Employees will be asked to bring a signed Traction Device Checkout Form which will be available on the EHS and Risk websites starting on October 15.

U of I faculty, staff and students may also purchase traction pullovers locally from a number of vendors in a variety of styles and sizes. Traction pullovers may be purchased by departments for use on-the-job directly from U of I Facilities Shop Stores. To order from Shop Stores, or for additional information, please call 208-885-7555.

This pilot program is to increase awareness about wearing appropriate footwear, using available handrails and walking on maintained pedestrian sidewalks and walkways. Using traction pullovers on shoes and boots during the winter months is an additional precaution that can significantly reduce the risk of slips and falls when walking on snow-covered, icy walking surfaces - a frequent cause of serious injuries to U of I employees.

Please note: This equipment is designed and intended for exterior use only and not to be worn inside buildings on hard floor surfaces.

For additional information about this program, please contact EHS at 208-885-6524 or safety@uidaho.edu, or contact Risk at 208-885-7177 or risk@uidaho.edu.

As anyone that has tried to cross campus when classes are changing knows, there are a lot of people walking on and around campus, interacting with vehicles, skateboarders, cyclists and others. As a pedestrian, there are a number of steps you can take to keep yourself safe.

Be Visible

Make sure you are visible to drivers at all times and make eye contact with them whenever possible. This is especially important at night, in low-light conditions such as dusk or dawn or in inclement weather. According to NHTSA's National Center for Statistics and Analysis, 32 percent of all pedestrian fatalities occur between 8 p.m. and 11:59 p.m.

  • Wear light colored or reflective clothing at night and brightly colored clothing during the day.
  • Stay in well-lit areas, especially when crossing the street.
  • If possible, make eye contact with drivers in stopped vehicles to ensure they see you before you cross in front of them.
  • Use marked crosswalks and stay in the markings when crossing. Darting out into traffic or crossing diagonally across a crosswalk or street is dangerous, as vehicle operators are not expecting this.

Consider the Weather

  • In fall and spring, be on the lookout for wet conditions and leaf debris that can cause slippery walking conditions.
  • When roads are covered with snow or ice, never assume a driver will be able to stop in time to grant you the right of way.
  • Wear traction devices for snowy walkways; while snow and ice mitigation on campus walks is a priority, freezing weather can occur quickly and sporadically in colder spots, like on the north side of buildings. Pay attention when walking on sloped walkways, stairs or shaded walkways.

Stay Alert - Avoid Distractions

Distractions are everywhere today and becoming more and more difficult to avoid. Remember that, as a pedestrian, your eyes and ears are your best tools for keeping safe. Put your cell phone or tablet away and pay attention to your surroundings. Ear buds and headphones greatly decrease your ability to hear warning signals or approaching vehicles or equipment. Leave them off.

Follow the Rules

  • Think like a driver; know and follow all traffic rules, signs and signals. You need to be aware of the rules vehicles around you must follow to properly anticipate what drivers will do. This will help increase your safety.
  • Never assume a driver will give you the right of way. Make every effort to make eye contact with the driver of a stopped or approaching vehicle before entering the roadway.

Walk in Safe Places

  • Use crosswalks when crossing the street. If a crosswalk is unavailable, be sure to find the most well-lit spot on the road to cross and wait for a long enough gap in traffic to make it safely across the street.
  • If there are two or more lanes of traffic flowing the same direction through a crosswalk, make sure that all vehicles are stopping for you. You may be hidden by a courteous driver's vehicle in the closer lane, and the second lane of traffic may not stop if you are not visible to them.
  • Stay on sidewalks whenever possible. If a sidewalk is not available, be sure to walk on the far side of the road facing traffic. This will help increase your visibility to drivers.
  • Avoid walking along highways or other roadways where pedestrians are prohibited.

Avoid Alcohol Consumption

Almost half of all traffic crashes resulting in pedestrian casualties involve alcohol consumption. Surprisingly, 34 percent of that total was on the part of the pedestrian. Alcohol impairs your decision-making skills, physical reflexes and other abilities just as much on your feet as it does behind the wheel.

In an ongoing effort to develop and advance the University of Idaho's Safety Culture, lab users were asked to review safety compliance efforts in their labs and post a commitment to the five safety target areas identified in the university's Laboratory Safety Commitment and Target Areas initiative. U of I's Department of Environmental Health and Safety conducted walkthroughs of 227 labs last October and a summary report documenting the findings of these walkthroughs is now available for review as you prepare for another round of walkthroughs this October.

The report concludes that there is much room for safety improvements in our laboratories. You are encouraged to do a self-inspection of your lab space in accordance with the Laboratory Safety Commitment and Target Areas Initiative. Once Environmental Health and Safety has conducted lab walkthroughs this fall, results will be reviewed by the Institutional Safety Culture Steering Committee and distributed to all units later this year.

The Laboratory Safety Commitment and Target Areas initiative began in January 2017, when deans, directors and department heads received an email outlining the five aspects of lab safety selected as target areas for the upcoming year. This initiative, a collaborative effort by Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) and the Office of Research Assurances (ORA), is part of the larger University of Idaho Culture of Safety Initiative.

The Report a Safety Concern form provides users a quick and easy way to submit safety concerns on campus. With three required questions: what the safety concern/issue is, location and date observed; it only takes a moment to complete the mobile-friendly form. You also have the option to include a picture of the hazard if applicable. The form may be submitted anonymously if desired, keeping in mind it may be harder to resolve the situation if further information is required.

Submitted forms receive immediate attention and are directed to the appropriate department/unit for review and consideration.

The Report a Safety Concern form can be found on these U of I websites: I-Safety, Environmental Health and Safety, Facilities and Parking and Transportation Services.

Thank you for taking the time to report a safety issue or concern right away. For questions, please contact EHS at 208-885-6524 or safety@uidaho.edu.

While the risk from wasps, including yellow jackets and hornets, can be a year-round threat, their activity is peaking now as the worker wasps are trying to find new food sources. With the queen moving from egg production and into hibernation, the workers lose a primary source of food, a special secretion that the wasp  larvae produce, and are forced to find an alternative. Often this comes in the form of fruit, which may be rotting and fermenting. Fermenting fruit consumed by an insect that is already prone to stinging results in a "mean drunk" --  a critter no one likes to be around.

With that in mind, it is a good idea to give these wasps their space and don't do things that can increase their aggressiveness, like swatting at them. The control of nuisance insects is a task that falls to Facilities, who remind us that "at this time of year, when the evenings/nights get cool, the yellow jackets/wasps (cold-blooded animals) need to warm up during the day - they often hang around hot metal objects (sign posts, building signs, the metal base of aggregate street/sidewalk lights, etc.). They are also quite agitated late in the year and become aggressive. Their nests could be anywhere - across the street, across the parking lot, on the building's roof - anywhere. We do not spray signs/metal objects to keep the insects away. That's a waste of insecticide, an unnecessary toxin applied to the environment, and an ineffective control measure. Please endure a bit longer, the nuisance insects will die off soon." Nests that may directly impact human activity (e.g., close to a walkway or building entry) however, should be reported to Facilities.

If you do get stung, the first thing to do is to move away from the area calmly. Some insects release pheromones after stinging that can attract more stinging insects, creating a vicious feedback loop. If you are highly allergic to insect stings and bites, it may be necessary to go to a hospital for treatment. However, most people will be able to treat a sting at home.

Next, determine whether the stinger was left behind. If so, it must be removed from the wound before additional treatment steps can be taken. This can be done by scraping a hard, flat object such as a fingernail or credit card across the sting. The stingers of wasps are typically smooth, which means they are capable of repeated stings without leaving the stinger behind. Once a stinger is no longer evident in the wound, wash the area with plenty of soap and water, and then put ice on the site of the wound to reduce swelling. An antihistamine can also be taken to reduce swelling further and help alleviate itching that can accompany insect bites and stings.

If you are allergic to insect stings, it is a good idea to let your co-workers know about your allergy and if you carry an epi-pen for this type of emergency. This can help them assist you if you do get stung.

Environmental Health and Safety's lab signage program helps to protect public health and safety, prevent disruptions to your research when building infrastructure needs attention, make others aware of the various hazards and personal protective equipment required to enter the lab and meet our ethical obligations to keep our people safe.

Why should you want a lab sign? Occasionally emergencies happen, and when research labs are involved it is best to reach out to those most knowledgeable about the work being done within a lab. EHS provides lab signage to include emergency contacts of the Principle Investigator or Lab Manager or those most familiar with the work being performed within the lab. If an emergency occurs within your lab, having emergency contact information readily available minimizes impacts on research while also getting information on how to protect our employees from hazards that may exist within the lab.

In addition to contact information, specific chemical, biological, radioactive and physical hazards that may pose a danger to those unfamiliar with the lab should be included on the lab signage. Standardized pictograms from the globally harmonized system (GHS) of classifying and labeling chemicals are used to depict the type of hazards present within your lab.

If you work in a lab and notice there are no signs to indicate the hazards that you or others might deal with, contact EHS today; we will work with you to create lab signage that meets the requirements of your lab. More information is available on the Lab Signage webpage, or you may complete the Lab Signage Request Checklist to get signs for your lab.

We're all familiar with the warnings against feeding animals in our state and national parks. While we don't typically find bears on the Moscow campus, the same constraints apply to the feeding of other animals. Faculty, staff and students are guided by U of I policy (APM 40.22) which notes "Feeding of natural and feral wildlife is prohibited because of ongoing safety and health issues, vermin population increases around campus buildings and damage to landscape plant materials from increased and non-sustainable animal populations."

The science and evidence behind this policy clearly shows this practice is harmful to wildlife populations in the long run. A quick web search on this topic provides numerous informational articles as to why this practice is a bad deal for our wildlife populations here on campus, and in our parks, campgrounds and forests:

  • Wildlife fed by humans often become dependent on this unnatural and sporadic food source, and depending on what is being offered to them, it may cause wildlife to suffer nutritionally as well.

  • Feeding wildlife also decreases an animal's natural fear of humans and can lead to more aggressive behavior towards humans because of population increases or a reduction in these non-sustainable food sources.

  • Feeding of birds and feral cats is especially problematic on our campus because of the increase in other wildlife and rodent populations that eat the same foods as these animals and can lead to increased infestations of mice, rats and insects in buildings and increased amounts of fecal matter and other unsanitary litter around buildings. Also, without regular and thorough cleaning of feeders and food bowls, there is an increased potential of causing a disease outbreak amongst the various wildlife.

  • Currently U of I spends thousands of dollars annually in the mitigation of building pests. Supplying these creatures with a food source near buildings negates mitigation efforts and exacerbates this problem.

  • Lastly, a specific issue affecting the U of I campus is the current overpopulation of squirrels is having a damaging effect on our iconic Camperdown elms due to the chewing damage they do to these historic trees throughout the year. Twenty years ago, this wasn't much of an issue, but in the last ten years, it has become significant.

The campus landscape plantings provide an ample food supply of nuts, seeds and fruits for our campus wildlife population. Upsetting this balance only causes long term problems for the wildlife and the campus community. Please support a long term sustainable wildlife population on our campus by not feeding them.

Thank You, the Landscape Staff

Summer is in full swing and construction work is going on throughout campus. The university is very good at posting construction areas, so pay attention to email alerts and signage at the doors of buildings or on sandwich boards so you know when and where the construction is going to take place.

As a pedestrian, bicyclist or skateboarder it is important, now more than ever, to pay attention to what is going on around you. Here are some basic tips to follow:

  • Always use walkways or designated alternate routes
  • Do not enter an area that has signs, caution tape, cones or fencing
  • Do not move barriers that are "in your way"; this puts you, construction workers and others that may follow at unnecessary risk of injury
  • Comply with posted restrictions both inside buildings and around construction sites
  • If you must use the street to bypass construction areas, face oncoming traffic so you can make eye contact with drivers
  • Wear bright colored clothing to increase visibility to those around you
  • Carry a flashlight/use lights during the hours of darkness
  • Pay attention to large trucks and mobile equipment; you will see them before they see you
  • Make eye contact with drivers of the trucks and mobile equipment operators before proceeding

Construction work is dangerous, and workers need to be able to focus on their own safety. Following their directions will help them, and you, be safe during these activities. If you have questions or concerns about construction projects on campus, please contact Facilities at 208-885-6246 or facilities@uidaho.edu.

The risk from bees, wasps, and other stinging insects can be a year-round threat. Their activity often peaks in late summer, a prime time for getting stung while on the job or off the clock, doing yard work or having fun.

A well-known aggressive stinging insect is the yellowjacket, a yellow and black wasp resembling a bee, but with a narrower body and no fuzz. Because they often build their nests underground it can be easy to accidentally stumble over their homes, causing them to become agitated. These can be more aggressive than bees and may even sting without being provoked. It is usually a good idea to give yellowjackets plenty of space and try not to leave out food such as sweet liquids that might attract them.

Bees are a more docile stinging insect. These creatures can be identified by their substantial yellow and black bodies, which are covered in fine hairs. While out and about foraging for nectar and pollen, bees are rarely aggressive and usually only sting when provoked. If you leave them alone, they'll often return the favor. However, this doesn't mean that they are completely safe to be around. Bees can become aggressive in defense of their colonies, which may be found in enclosed areas such as crevices around buildings or inside walls or trees.

If you do get stung, this first thing to do is to move away from the area calmly. Some insects release pheromones after stinging that can attract more stinging insects, creating a vicious feedback loop. If you are highly allergic to insect stings and bites, it may be necessary to go to a hospital for treatment. However, most people will be able to treat a sting from a bee or wasp at home.

First, it is important to determine whether the stinger is left behind. A honeybee stinger is highly barbed, and must be removed from the wound before additional treatment steps can be taken. This can be done by scraping a hard, flat object such as a fingernail or credit card across the sting. In contrast, the stingers of bumblebees and wasps are smoother and these insects are capable of repeated stings without leaving the stinger behind. Once a stinger is no longer evident in the wound, the procedure for treating these stings is the same. Wash the area with plenty of soap and water, and then put ice on the site of the wound to reduce swelling. An antihistamine can also be taken to reduce swelling further and help alleviate itching that can accompany insect bites and stings.

If you are allergic to insect stings, it is a good idea to let your co-workers know, especially if you work outdoors, and if you carry an epi-pen for this type of emergency. This can help them help you if you do get stung.

Off Highway Vehicles (OHVs), also known as Specialty OHVs (SOHVs), are increasingly used for work and play because of the growing availability and versatility of these vehicles. SOHVs include golf carts, utility vehicles, 4-wheelers, ATVs, carts, gators, mules and other low speed vehicles, and the widespread use has increased the number of accidents and fatalities caused by misuse. According to the US Consumer Products Safety Commission, there are more than 100,000 injuries and 700 deaths annually involving ATVs.

While the university is currently working on a policy specific to operating SOHVs, state/federal laws and UI/Departmental vehicle use agreements still apply. When driving these vehicles on campus, additional rules apply such as operating at pedestrian speeds and following the vehicle use policy. Be aware of your surroundings when you park your SOHV as well; these vehicles can become quite hot underneath and ignite dry grasses below them. Yes, this actually has happened on campus! Some additional safety tips are below.

  • Get hands on training: Many deaths and injuries occur when an inexperienced driver loses control of an ATV, is thrown from an ATV, overturns the vehicle or collides with a fixed object or a motor vehicle. Hands-on training can give experienced and first-time riders the skills to handle multiple riding situations that can happen in off-road conditions. Check in your area for classes in safe operation of your ATV or motorbike. If purchasing a new toy, ask the dealer for recommendations and be sure to get a thorough orientation to your equipment before taking it out to play. Rental facilities should also provide orientation to the machine before use.
  • Don't overload the vehicle: Allowing more people or gear on the vehicle than it was designed to carry can shift the balance causing it to overturn, affect braking and impede the driver's ability to control the vehicle.
  • Ensure age appropriateness: The vehicle should be designed for the age, size and weight of the operator. Many injuries and fatalities occur when a vehicle is operated by a person who does not have the motor skills for safe operation. Never permit youngsters to ride dirt bikes or ATVs that are too tall or too powerful for their capabilities.
  • Always wear helmets and other protective gear: CPSC and the ATV Safety Institute recommend U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and/or the Snell Memorial Foundation (Snell) certified helmets. Riders should also wear goggles, gloves, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and over-the-ankle boots.

As when using any motorized vehicle, separate your driving from use of alcohol or recreational drugs. More information and tips are available through OSHA's website on ATV hazards.

Working in the heat stresses the body and can lead to illness and even death. Exposure to heat can also increase the risk of other injuries because of sweaty palms, fogged glasses, dizziness and burns from hot surfaces. Every year thousands of workers become sick from heat exposure and many workers die. Most heat-related health problems are preventable, or the risk of developing them can be reduced.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed a Heat Safety smartphone app in both English and Spanish. The app provides reminders about protective measures that should be taken at the indicated risk level to protect workers from heat-related illness; for example, reminders about drinking enough water, recognizing signs and symptoms of heat-related illness and planning for and knowing what to do in an emergency.

If you or a coworker are experiencing symptoms of a heat-related illness, move to a cool, shaded or air-conditioned area; drink water if conscious; apply cold compresses and use caution when standing.

Symptoms to watch for:

  • Headache, dizziness or fainting
  • Profuse sweating
  • Irritability
  • Weak, rapid pulse
  • Shallow breathing
  • Pale, cool, clammy skin
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps

Call 911 and cool the victim by any means when symptoms include:

  • Absence of sweating
  • Pulsating headache
  • Hot, red, dry skin
  • High body temperature (above 103F)
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Strong, rapid pulse
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions
  • Loss of consciousness

Risk factors for developing a heat-related illness are a combination of weather/working conditions and personal factors/physical demands. The risk of heat stress is relative to temperature, humidity, sunlight and wind speed. High temperature and humidity, direct sunlight and low wind speed make the worst combination. Working indoors in areas where heat is generated and/or is not easily dissipated can also increase risk. Personal factors and physical demands contribute to a person's risk: a physically demanding job increases body temperature; working such a job in an environment that is hot with high humidity greatly increases risk. Older workers, obese workers and persons taking certain types of medication, such as antihistamines, have a greater risk as well.

Ways to Reduce Your Risk:

  • Scheduling. Whenever possible, schedule heavy work during cooler times of day.
  • Acclimation. Gradually increasing exposure time and work load will increase heat tolerance. New employees and workers returning from an absence of a week or more should take care to re-acclimate to the conditions.
  • Appropriate Clothing. Wear light, loose, breathable clothing and a hat that doesn't interfere with your work safety. In some cases, personal cooling devices (such as water circulating cooling vests) may be advisable.
  • Hydration. Pre-hydrate the body by drinking 8 - 16 ounces of water before working in the heat. Keep water or an electrolyte drink within easy reach and consume about 8 ounces of fluid every 15 - 20 minutes, not just during rest breaks. Avoid alcohol, coffee, tea or soda, which act as diuretics and further dehydrate the body. Monitor your urine output - small volumes and/or dark urine may be indicators of dehydration.
  • Adequate Rest Periods. Avoid overexertion and work at a steady pace. Heed the body's signals. Take plenty of breaks in shaded or cooler areas.
  • Job Rotation. When possible, rotate difficult work tasks in hot conditions between two or more employees.

Remember, heat-induced illnesses should not be taken lightly. Keep an eye on yourself and co-workers for any symptoms that might indicate heat stress and take action if they appear. For more information, contact Environmental Health and Safety at 208-885-6524 or safety@uidaho.edu.

Whenever you are cleaning out your office, lab or other work space, keep in mind the corridors must remain open to allow for rapid evacuation to safety in case of emergencies. Items removed from your area cannot be stored in the corridors as it reduces the egress widths and can become an impediment to safe evacuation. If you no longer need these items, they should be disposed of through recycling, surplus or put into the general waste stream (if appropriate). If you cannot fit the larger items that you want to keep in other rooms and want to temporarily store them in a hallway please fill out the Corridor Use Exemption form AND contact EHS at 208-885-6524 or safety@uidaho.edu. Chemicals, flammable liquids, readily combustible and unstable items should never be stored in hallways.

Recycle, reuse or surplus those items that you can. The Recycling Surplus and Solid Waste (RSSW) group in Facilities can assist in rehoming many of your things. Departmental responsibilities in removing items of university property include:

  • Fill out the General Surplus form for university items being sent to surplus.

  • Notify Surplus before bringing or sending items over so that we can ensure someone is available to receive them and document the transfer of property.

  • Make arrangements with City North American for moving any items that require moving services (this is a departmental expense).

Please visit the RSSW Policies and Guidelines web site for more information on how to surplus university property.

For additional information on corridor use relating to egress and evacuations, please visit the EHS Fire Safety web site.

Himalayan salt lamps have been popular over the years as many find the glow from these lamps to be aesthetically pleasing, and the soft, warm light can be very relaxing. Less relaxing is the potential shock and fire hazards that have been identified in certain models. If you have a salt lamp, whether at home or on campus, you'll want to know about a product recall from Michaels that could include your item. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission's recall information, the dimmer switch and/or outlet plug can overheat and ignite, posing shock and fire hazards. The lamps were sold at Michaels stores between July and November 2016, but also online on Amazon. Some manufacturers or outlets are offering refunds. If you do have one of the products listed below, discontinue using it immediately and remove it from campus.

Salt lamps included in the January 10, 2017 recall are:

  • Rock of Gibraltar Lamp, SKU 495144, UPC 00886946056253
  • Carnival of Lights, SKU 495433, UPC 00886946058325
  • Basket of Rocks, SKU 495146, UPC 00886946056277

Additional models were also recalled in May of 2017; you can find this information at the CPSC website.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is an excellent source of product safety and recall information. The CPSC's work is credited with contributing to a decline in death and injury rates associated with consumer products over the last several decades. We encourage you to visit the web site, and they have an FAQ section that explains a lot about what they do and why they exist. The site is dynamic, updating as often as necessary to bring current safety information and product recalls to consumers. You can also subscribe to their news and information emails to receive daily alerts.

The University of Idaho (U of I) is blessed with a pastoral campus landscape and thousands of mature trees which provide an aesthetically appealing place to work, learn and enjoy. Ongoing maintenance and care is required to keep them safe and healthy so that they can provide our students, faculty and staff with decades of enjoyment, shade and clean air.

The Landscape Arboriculture team works year-round providing this service to keep the U of I campus safe and beautiful. Doing so requires pedestrian and vehicle safeguards be implemented whenever tree work is happening. The Fall Zone area is cordoned off with ribbon, cones or fencing to provide protection for you. Signage may be installed directing pedestrians and/or vehicles to use a different route. One or two ground persons in safety vests, hearing protection and helmets are there to deal with felled branches and logs and monitor the Fall Zone to make sure it remains clear of objects and people that could be damaged or injured.

As a pedestrian or vehicle driver it is imperative that you also make safety your priority by following all signage or verbal instructions when tree work is happening along your chosen route. When you see orange safety signs, vests and helmets in an area, it is time to more closely pay attention to your surroundings. Avoid distractions like cell phones or conversations and follow the safety guidelines put in place to protect you.

Never cross into the Fall Zone unless specifically allowed to by an authorized ground person. This is a time when your convenience is not a priority — your safety is. Paying attention to this work and following directions will allow you to safely reach your destination. Thank You.

Stashes of unknown chemicals, unidentified spills and contaminated equipment are all hazards to look out for in a laboratory setting. When you see these safety violations in an active lab, you can usually correct them by asking around and calling out the responsible parties. But what happens when a lab is abandoned? The work of determining how best to deal with hazardous unknowns becomes much more difficult (and expensive!). After all, a clear solution in an unmarked container could contain anything from water to an explosive compound or poison. Whether you're a student working in a lab who is about to graduate or a principal investigator moving to a new location, it's essential that you clean your lab space before heading out. As far as possible, your space should be returned to its original condition so that the next occupant isn't left dealing with potentially dangerous conditions. This includes:

  • Ensuring that useable chemicals are properly labeled and stored
  • Cleaning up all drips and spills of chemicals or hazardous materials
  • Fully cleaning and decontaminating equipment and work surfaces
  • Submitting all hazardous waste to EHS for disposal
  • Completing any department-specific requirements for leaving a lab

Principal investigators are required to follow the Laboratory Decommissioning Procedure and Checklist before renovating a lab, moving to a different lab space or leaving the university. If you choose to have help with this process, please ensure these assistants are properly trained and knowledgeable about the chemicals and equipment in your lab. For more information, check out the EHS Laboratory Safety pages or contact us at 208-885-6524 or safety@uidaho.edu.

Every time you start your mower, you are dealing with a dangerous and potentially deadly piece of equipment, both for yourself and others in the area. The leading cause of lawn mower injury is debris, such as rocks and branches, being propelled at high speed from mower blades, as reported in the journal Annals of Emergency Medicine.

OSHA and other lawn maintenance organizations recommend a thorough sweeping of a work area, removing debris and temporary fixtures, such as metal stakes, before performing any landscaping tasks. Specific important precautions include the following:

  • Clear the work area before you begin.
  • Pick up sticks, bottles, rocks, wires, and other debris before you begin.
  • Flag or mark objects that cannot be removed so they are more visible.
  • Keep children and bystanders away from the area.
  • Wear long pants to protect your legs from debris.
  • Wear safety glasses at all times unless you are inside an enclosed cab.
  • Workers in the area should wear safety glasses and a face shield when operating string and brush trimmers.
  • Shut off equipment when crossing a sidewalk, driveway, or road.

Unfortunately, these simple precautions are often not taken; precautions that may have prevented accidents like these:

  • A 30-year-old lawn care worker was killed as a result of being struck by a metal projectile kicked up by a coworker’s lawn mower. The projectile was a piece of a pet tie-out stake that was sheared off and thrown by the lawn mower.
  • An 11-year-old lost her foot when the mower she was riding on “just for fun” tipped over with the blade running.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that each year, 800 children are run over by riding mowers or small tractors and more than 600 of those incidents result in amputation; 75 people are killed, and 20,000 injured; one in five deaths involves a child. For children under age 10, the most common cause of major limb loss is lawn mowers.

Keep in mind these safety tips and actions and protect yourself, your loved ones and your neighbors!

We're all familiar with the warnings against feeding animals in our state and national parks. While we don't typically find bears on the Moscow campus, the same constraints apply to the feeding of other animals. Faculty, staff and students are guided by U of I policy (APM 40.22) which notes "Feeding of natural and feral wildlife is prohibited because of ongoing safety and health issues, vermin population increases around campus buildings and damage to landscape plant materials from increased and non-sustainable animal populations."

The science and evidence behind this policy clearly shows this practice is harmful to wildlife populations in the long run. A quick web search on this topic provides numerous informational articles as to why this practice is a bad deal for our wildlife populations here on campus, and in our parks, campgrounds and forests:

  • Wildlife fed by humans often become dependent on this unnatural and sporadic food source, and depending on what is being offered to them, it may cause wildlife to suffer nutritionally as well.
  • Feeding wildlife also decreases an animal's natural fear of humans and can lead to more aggressive behavior towards humans because of population increases or a reduction in these non-sustainable food sources.
  • Feeding of birds and feral cats is especially problematic on our campus because of the increase in other wildlife and rodent populations that eat the same foods as these animals and can lead to increased infestations of mice, rats and insects in buildings and increased amounts of fecal matter and other unsanitary litter around buildings. Also, without regular and thorough cleaning of feeders and food bowls, there is an increased potential of causing a disease outbreak among the various wildlife.
  • Currently U of I spends thousands of dollars annually in the mitigation of building pests. Supplying these creatures with a food source near buildings negates mitigation efforts and exacerbates this problem.
  • Lastly, a specific issue affecting the U of I campus is the current overpopulation of squirrels having a damaging effect on our iconic Camperdown elms due to the chewing damage they do to these historic trees throughout the year. Twenty years ago, this wasn't much of an issue, but in the last ten years, it has become significant.

The campus landscape plantings provide an ample food supply of nuts, seeds and fruits for our campus wildlife population. Upsetting this balance only causes long term problems for the wildlife and the campus community. Please support a long term sustainable wildlife population on our campus by not feeding them.

Thank You,
U of I Landscaping Staff

Spring semester marks the start of barbecuing season, and Environmental Health & Safety wants to help you enjoy your barbeque safely. Please contact us (208-885-6524) before your event for assistance in planning a safe location and meeting other university requirements listed below. At a minimum, we need to know a BBQ is happening for the calls we receive regarding billowing smoke from other concerned members of the Vandal community.

The following requirements must be met for every BBQ event on campus:

  • BBQs are allowed only when used a minimum of 10 feet from buildings, flammable landscaping or other readily ignitable fuel sources.
  • BBQs must be placed on a hard, noncombustible surface (concrete, asphalt, etc.).
  • BBQs must always be attended when lit.
  • Always keep a fire extinguisher handy. Loaners are available from EHS.
  • A metal drip pan is required to be used under the barbecue to catch grease.
  • Ensure charcoal remains (for charcoal grills) are completely extinguished when finished.
  • Do not dispose of charcoal in university dumpsters, trash containers or on the landscaping.
  • Do not dispose of spent fuel canisters in dumpsters or other trash containers.
  • Do not bring BBQs into buildings until cooled.
  • Propane tanks are not allowed in university buildings.
  • Lighter fluid must be properly stored as a flammable liquid.

Outdoor grilling on campus is restricted to university-affiliated departments and recognized student groups. Individuals and unauthorized groups may not conduct grilling on campus, except for tailgating during football games in designated parking lots. If you live on campus, University Housing has guidelines related to university apartments and residence halls; please contact them directly for this information.

The Report a Safety Concern form now provides users the option to attach an image or picture. The mobile-friendly form was originally developed by the I-Safety Partnership group and went live early in December to the U of I community.

Any campus safety concern and/or issue discovered by faculty, students and staff can be reported through the form, anonymously if desired. Submitted forms receive immediate attention and are directed to the appropriate department/unit for review and consideration.The form asks three short questions: what the safety concern/issue is, location and date. U of I employees and students who submit the form will receive a personalized response if an email address is provided.

The Safety Concern form can be found on these U of I websites: I-Safety, Environmental Health and Safety, Facilities and Parking and Transportation Services. Thank you for taking the time to report a safety issue or concern right away if noticed. For questions, please contact EHS at 208-885-6524 or safety@uidaho.edu.

It's officially spring, and time to think about putting winter safety gear aside for another season. If you use studded snow tires, remember that the last day for using these tires in Idaho is April 30th. Even if it is still a legal time to use them, the metal cleats embedded in the tread can cause unnecessary wear on bare roadways. The Idaho Transportation Department encourages removing studded snow tires when conditions allow, which may be earlier than April 30th.

If you are traveling, it's important to know that studded tire laws vary in neighboring states:

  • Montana: Oct. 1 - May 31
  • Nevada: Oct. 1 - April 30
  • Utah: Oct. 15 - April 15
  • Oregon: Nov. 1 - March 31
  • Washington: Nov. 1 - March 31
  • Wyoming: Legal all year

While you're having your studded winter tires removed, it's a great time to have your alignment checked. Proper wheel alignment contributes to better fuel economy, handling and even tire wear.

"My bike is gone!" 

Does that sound like something you have said? If you are a college student or live in a college town, it's very likely you use a bicycle to get around on the convenient pathways, trails and walkways where you live. Keeping in mind that the APM 35.35 prohibits bringing bikes into university buildings, what can you do to make it more difficult for a thief to take your property? Here are smart, affordable steps you can use to protect what is yours.

  • Always lock up your bike, even at home.
  • Make sure you lock it to a fixed object.
  • Invest in two locking mechanisms, such as a U-bolt and chain lock, each greater than 6mm in thickness.
  • When using a U-bolt or chain, use up as much of the space inside the bolt or chain as possible.
  • Lock up your bike in a well-lit, high-traffic area.
  • Don’t lock it up in the same location every time. Shake it up a bit!
  • Register your bike through your local police department or a national registry.

The National Bike Registry website is convenient and makes it easy to register your bike. When you register your bike, you will be sent a tamper-resistant label to put on your bike and a certificate containing pertinent information. Registering allows local police to check if your bike has turned up anywhere else, and pawn shops will be able to easily report it as stolen property. In addition to the steps above, there is a lot of new technology available that is cost-effective, such as GPS trackers, Bluetooth-enabled chains with phone apps and more.

It is up to you, the owner, to take common-sense practical steps to protect what is yours. How much or how little you need is up to you!

As a pedestrian, there are a number of steps you can take to keep yourself safe, such as never assuming a driver can see you or will be able to stop in time to grant you the right of way.

Be Visible

Make sure you’re visible to drivers at all times and make eye contact with them whenever possible. This is especially important at night, in low-light conditions such as dusk or dawn or in inclement weather. According to NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis, 32 percent of all pedestrian fatalities occur between 8 p.m. and 11:59 p.m.

  • Wear light colored or reflective clothing at night and brightly colored clothing during the day.
  • Stay in well-lit areas, especially when crossing the street.
  • If possible, make eye contact with drivers in stopped vehicles to ensure they see you before you cross in front of them.

Stay Alert – Avoid Distractions

  • Distractions are everywhere today and becoming more and more difficult to avoid. Remember that, as a pedestrian, your eyes and ears are your best tools for keeping safe. Stay alert and watch out.
  • Put down your phone. Smartphones and handheld electronic devices are a daily part of life, but they take your eyes off the road and distract your attention.
  • Don’t wear headphones. Your ears will tell you a lot about what is happening around you – be sure to use them.

Follow the Rules

  • Think like a driver; know and follow all traffic rules, signs and signals. You need to be aware of the rules vehicles around you must follow to properly anticipate what drivers will do. This will help increase your safety.
  • Never assume a driver will give you the right of way. Make every effort to make eye contact with the driver of a stopped or approaching vehicle before entering the roadway.

Walk in Safe Places

  • Use crosswalks when crossing the street. If a crosswalk is unavailable, be sure to find the most well-lit spot on the road to cross and wait for a long enough gap in traffic to make it safely across the street.
  • Stay on sidewalks whenever possible. If a sidewalk is not available, be sure to walk on the far side of the road facing traffic. This will help increase your visibility to drivers.
  • Avoid walking along highways or other roadways where pedestrians are prohibited.

Avoid Alcohol Consumption

Almost half of all traffic crashes resulting in pedestrian casualties involve alcohol consumption. Surprisingly, 34 percent of that total was on the part of the pedestrian. Alcohol impairs your decision-making skills, physical reflexes and other abilities just as much on your feet as it does behind the wheel.

Yearly winter sand and gravel cleanup starts the week of spring break here at the University of Idaho; this year, that is March 12th – 18th. Generally, Parking & Transportation Services will post all impacted streets the week prior, advising students and staff to move their cars off the streets and into storage lots to allow street cleaning equipment to get to curb lines. No street parking is allowed in these areas until after spring break. Work begins on streets and walkways, and then the Hardscape team will move into parking lots. Meanwhile, the Landscape staff works to move gravel from the turf and into the street for easier collection by the street sweeper.

Anyone noting the street sweeper while driving should pay careful attention to it, as it makes sharp turns as it cleans the streets. Stay safely back and away from it until you are clear to pass, as rock can be thrown by this machine. Landscape staff using blowers and power brooms are using hearing protection, and they may not hear or see pedestrians approaching. Give them a wide berth as well for your safety.

Sand and gravel cleanup continues until all the campus hardscape has been dealt with. This can easily go up to and through commencement, depending on the severity of the previous winter. At the same time, other Facilities staff are working hard to clear the storm drains across campus of rock and debris that has gathered over the winter as well. Every year tons of rock and sand are gathered during cleanup, and much of it is re-used on campus gravel roads or elsewhere where winter rock can be of use again.

Be alert during this time for your own safety.

Weather during the winter and spring months can lead to water damage to buildings and the contents inside. Environmental Health and Safety, Risk and Facilities urge all university locations to inspect property and look for ways to prevent water intrusions and damage. We encourage reporting of large snow loads, frost heaves, cracks or fissures that drain snow melt into unwanted areas and freezing of pipes. If you notice any of these issues on the Moscow campus, please report your concerns immediately to Facilities 208-885-6246 so that we can work to prevent loss of infrastructure and resources in a timely manner. A water leak is an emergency – do not rely on voicemail. Outside of regular working hours, contact Security 208-885-7054. If a loss occurs, contact Risk 208-885-7177 immediately so an adjustor can be assigned.

What to watch for and report:

  • Building exteriors: signs of heavy snow load or ice damming. Make sure drains are free of snow/ice and operable.
  • Building interiors: signs of sagging ceiling components, doors and windows that do not open or close properly, wet carpet or stained ceiling tiles, cracks in walls or masonry and leaks.
  • Noise: popping, cracking or creaking noises can indicate imminent trouble, such as structural collapse.

What you can do to help:

  • Anticipate and take steps to prevent water from entering unwanted areas.
  • Elevate contents (e.g., records, equipment) that may be subject to backup of drains or water from other sources.

Concern about indoor exposure to mold has been increasing as the public becomes aware that exposure to mold can cause health effects and symptoms. Reporting water intrusion immediately is extremely important because water should be dried out within 48 hours to prevent mold growth. If you have inquiries about ways to help prevent water intrusions and damage, contact EHS at 208-885-6524.

Flash floods and rising waters can occur quickly and are not uncommon on the Palouse this time of year. Please be wise about your actions when weather reports predict the possibility of this happening. Warning signs: unusually hard rain over several hours; steady substantial rain over several days; and rains in conjunction with a spring thaw.

Precautions to take: although these seem obvious, they are important!

  • Remain aware and monitor local radio, television and go online for up-to-date National Weather Service alerts. If flash floods are possible, move to higher ground.
  • Be watchful at bridges and low areas that could have rushing water and over running banks, especially Paradise Creek in Moscow.
  • Avoid flood waters and fast moving creeks and rivers. Don't walk or drive into moving water. Just inches of moving water can knock you down. Read more about flood safety.
  • Refrain from kayaking, inner tubing or doing any other water activity during flood conditions. Floodwater may be contaminated with oil, gasoline or raw sewage. Floodwater may also be charged with electricity from fallen power lines.
  • Almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. Moving water is very easy to underestimate. Driving through any sort of moving water can sweep your car right off the road, even in seemingly mild flooding as shallow as a few inches.

U of I will host the 2018 Idaho Music Educators Association (IMEA) All-State Conference on Wednesday, Jan. 31 – Saturday, Feb. 3 in Moscow. Nearly 1,000 participants and 100 vehicles and buses are expected with this event. Please stay alert, be visible and use extreme caution when driving and walking around campus during the four day conference.

If you notice a safety issue and/or have a concern any time, please submit the Report a Safety Concern form. This form can be submitted anonymously if desired.

Campus Security Offers Free Safe Walk Services

University of Idaho Campus Security wants to remind the Vandal Community about a free, 24/7 service it offers year-round called Safe Walk. This service is available to all students, faculty, staff and U of I visitors.

A quick call to U of I Security is all that is needed to request the Safe Walk service — no questions asked. A security officer will meet a caller any place on the Moscow campus and walk that person(s) to their destination on campus. U of I Security encourages the campus community to use Safe Walk when needed.

Call 208-885-7054, or an alternative number is 208-874-7550. For more information or questions, go to Safe Walk or contact U of I Campus Security at 208-885-7054, or email at campus-security@uidaho.edu.

Contact Us

Physical Address:

Administration Bldg Room 211
Moscow ID 83844-3168

Mailing Address:
Division of Finance and Administration
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3168
Moscow ID 83844-3168

Phone: 208-885-6174

Fax: 208-885-5504

Email: vpfinance@uidaho.edu

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