ORAT (Online Risk Assessment Tool)

The ORAT (Online Risk Assessment Tool) was released in November 2017; this replaces the Occupational Health Registry used in the past.  The ORAT will walk you through the process for assessing potential risks due to contact with animals, hazardous agents, operation or environments.  The ORAT employs a simple question and answer model that builds a personalized risk assessment designed to the specific hazards that may be encountered as part of work-related responsibilities.  You will be contacted if it is determined a medical examination is required.

It is recommended that ALL new employees and any employee that has changed positions to fill out the ORAT.  Any employee that has not filled out the old Occupational Health Registry should also fill the ORAT out.  You will receive an annual renewal reminder thereafter.

To fill the ORAT out please follow this link.



Safety Tips for Using an Autoclave

It’s no secret that autoclaves can be very dangerous to work around.  I compare them to a pressure cooker in my mind and remember what my mother told me about how dangerous those can be.  As a child I locked the lid on ours and the water inside boiled so violently the whole pot was dancing around on the stove top.  I released the lid, bad idea, and boiling hot water went everywhere!  Luckily, no one was hurt which is an absolute miracle!

The following articles are from Lab Manager magazine about the safety hazards of autoclaves and what you can do to stay safe while using them.  For example, did you know that if you use your autoclave to inactivate substances such as human pathogens, blood, tissues, and clinical samples, testing is required after every 40 hours of use?  Autoclaves used to sterilize other materials must be tested every six months.  Check out these articles to learn more and help keep yourself and others that work in your lab safe.

12 Scalding Hot Safety Tips for Using an Autoclave

Safe Use of Autoclave Sterilizers


Prevent Winter House Fires and CO Poisoning

Winter is a time for holiday decorations and staying warm.  Many of us live and/or work in older structures and use alternative means of heat such as; wood burning stoves and fireplaces, space heaters, and fuel fired furnaces.  The National Fire Protection Association has some great information and infographics on how to avoid potential disastrous events during this cold but happy time of year.  Read more here.  You can also check out this video of a Christmas tree fire, it is very eye opening.

Also check out this great article by Lisa Pfeifer from OSU Ag Safety and Health Education about carbon monoxide and ways to protect yourself against this silent killer.

Stay safe out there and enjoy this winter season!

First Aid Kits

It is important to check your first aid kit regularly to be sure all items are fully stocked, unexpired (yes; antibiotic ointment and antiseptic wipes DO expire), and in good working order.

Have your first aid kit well stocked and ready when you need it.  Don’t be caught off guard with old useless supplies in a time of need.


A basic first aid kit may contain:

  • absorbent compress dressings
  • adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
  • adhesive cloth tape
  • antiseptic wipes
  • antibiotic ointment packets
  • instant cold compress
  • non-latex gloves
  • scissors
  • rolled bandages
  • sterile gauze pads
  • tweezers

Of course, you are welcome to add any other items you would like to help in a situation that first aid is needed.  Feel free to add items that pertain to the type of work you do or the place in which work is being done.  If you are in an area that involves mostly outdoor work adding some hydrocortisone ointment packets and calamine lotion may be helpful for seasonal allergies, insect bits or stings.

Many people are unaware that OARDC Store Room offers first aid kits and refill supplies for first aid kits free for campus use.  Fill out an erequest with the proper information from the online catalog if you are in need of a new first aid kit or refills for your current first aid kit.

Check out this link for a great infographic from Cleveland Clinic on first aid kits and their use.


Flu Season

  • Body or muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat

Is it a cold or the flu?  Colds rarely cause a fever or headaches.  Flu almost never causes an upset stomach.  And “stomach flu” isn’t really flu at all, but gastroenteritis.

Most people with the flu recover on their own without medical care.  People with mild cases of the flu should stay home and avoid contact with others, except to get medical care.  If you get the flu, your healthcare provider may prescribe medicine to help your body fight the infection and lessen symptoms.

The main way to keep from getting the flu is to get a yearly flu vaccine.  Good hygiene, including hand washing, can also help.

Source: National Institutes of Health (NIH): National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Where to get a Flu Vaccine:

  • contact your Primary Care Provider for an appointment
  • contact your local Health Department for flu vaccine clinic locations and hours
  • most pharmacies have a walk-in, no appointment necessary flu vaccine clinic


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