News and Announcements 2010

The ability to quickly and knowledgeably respond to equipment or room alarms (for example, freezer and cold room alarms) is a critical factor that may allow for the rescue of irreplaceable research materials during an emergency in a way that does not jeopardize personnel safety.  EH&S has developed stickers that are to be affixed to critical equipment - especially equipment in common or shared areas -  and outside of environmental rooms, to provide a 24-hour contact number where University responders can obtain hazard assessment and response information in the event of an emergency or other alarm situation.

These stickers will be distributed by EH&S shortly.  In the interim, you may click this link to download the labels if you wish to put them up sooner.

Principal Investigators and Laboratory Managers -

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and US Department of Transportation (DOT) are dramatically increasing inspection and enforcement activities.  In recent weeks, attention has focused on laboratory and research operations involving the shipment of hazardous materials* via common carrier (e.g., FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc), which included a visit to Columbia University by FAA to investigate shipping document errors for several packages. 

As part of EH&S’ ongoing efforts to provide the University community with the tools and training necessary to conduct safe and compliant research, we are offering one-day training sessions April 6th, 7th and 8th 2010, from 9:30am-5:00pm, at the CUMC campus, location/directions below.  Completion of the training will provide attendees with the information necessary to ensure that shipments originating from Columbia University laboratories are properly prepared to ensure safe transit and minimize regulatory scrutiny and the potential for significant monetary penalties.  The training will be conducted by a facilitator from the Environmental Resource Center, and will combine material that is normally delivered over a 3-day course, into each custom designed, one-day session.  The sessions will be offered free of charge and lunch will be provided.

All personnel, including Principal Investigators, who are involved in any aspect of preparing hazardous materials shipments, including packaging, labeling, completion or signature of dangerous goods declarations or paperwork, or any other handling activity must attend one of the sessions.

Please reply directly to labsafety@columbia.edu by April 1, 2010, indicating the name and UNI of each employee from your lab who will plan to attend a session, and the session they wish to attend, or at a minimum, the total number of personnel who will attend.

Thank you in advance for your prompt attention and support of this training effort. 

Shipping Hazardous Materials information page

Please contact Christopher Pitoscia, Biological Safety Officer, EH&S, with any questions or concerns.

EH&S Medical Center: 212-305-6780

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* “hazardous materials” include - chemicals, biological/infectious materials , radioactive materials and equipment containing radioactive materials/sources, and dry ice, including the return of these materials to a distributor/generator either as part of a return program or due to order error.

Location/Directions -
Tuesday, April 6th in the Heart Center Auditorium 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Wednesday, April 7th in Meeting Rooms 1 & 2 (HC Conference Center) from 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Thursday, April 8th in Meeting Rooms 1 & 2 (HC Conference Center) from 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Dear Colleagues:

We would like to inform you of several changes affecting the joint Radiation Safety Office (RSO) of Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), New York-Presbyterian Hospital (NYPH) and New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI).  Effective January 7, 2010, the RSO has become part of the University’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) under the leadership of Kathleen Crowley, the Associate Vice President for EH&S.  We are creating a new position of Executive Director of Radiation Safety who will oversee all activities pertaining to radiation safety across the University, NYPH and NYSPI.  We will be initiating a national search for the Executive Director and hope to fill the position as soon as possible. 

After many years of dedicated service, Salmen Loksen has stepped down as Director of the RSO.  We wish him well in his future endeavors.

During the search for an Executive Director, George Hamawy, who has been the Radiation Safety Officer for the Morningside, Nevis and Lamont campuses, and Barnard College, for the past fourteen years, will serve as interim Radiation Safety Officer for CUMC, NYPH and NYSPI.  George is certified by the American Board of Scientists in Nuclear Medicine in Radiochemistry and in Nuclear Pharmacy.

The operations of Environmental Health and Safety at CUMC and Environmental Health and Radiation Safety at the other campuses, which had previously existed as separate offices, have been consolidated since 2005.  We believe that bringing the RSO under EH&S will assure consistency in the application of University policies and governmental regulations and better coordination with respect to the management of our radiation safety programs and the delivery of services to investigators.

Kathleen Crowley has served CUMC and NYPH for many years.  Prior to becoming Associate Vice President for EH&S in 2005, she served as Director of Environmental Health and Safety at CUMC from 1999-2005 and Director of the Occupational Health Service at NYPH from 1992-1999.  She is a graduate of SUNY Stony Brook and has a MPH from the Mailman School of Public Health.

At this point of transition in the RSO, we would like to reaffirm our commitment to maintaining the highest standards of research using radiation at CUMC, NYPH and NYSPI, as well as the safety and well-being of our patients, visitors, students, faculty, staff and the community at large.

David Brenner, Ph.D, D.Sc
Director, CUMC Center for Radiological Research             
Chair, Joint Radiation Safety Committee and Radioactive Drug Research Committee

David Hirsh, Ph.D
Executive Vice President for Research

Lisa Hogarty
Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, CUMC