Mark McLane, Associate Director, Rutgers Environmental Health and Safety, (REHS) addressed safety concerns, mainly in the area of mail handling. Guidelines, Safeguards and Procedures for Identifying and Handling Suspicious Mail have been distributed to the university community from Leslie Fehrenbach, Associate VP for Administration and Public Safety, and distributed via email by Chief Anthony Murphy. The guidelines are to be followed.
Employees are to be alert for any suspicious mail. Do not open the letters. Call the police immediately. REHS will investigate the letters. The university is taking suspicious mail seriously and has a plan in place for handling anthrax mail. At this time there are no creditable threats at the university but we must be diligent, remain calm, but be especially alert. If something suspicious occurs, alert a supervisor, if you are alone, then contact the police directly. Overall, use good common sense and don't hesitate to call the police.
Departments may consider ordering gloves for employees who open mail and wish to take precautions by wearing gloves. REHS recommends nitrile gloves rather than latex as some persons are allergic to latex. Masks with N95 rating are sufficient. Lab Safety Supplies handles these items and has a campus phone number and a web page: http://www.labsafety.com/.
McLane arranged for the visit from a REHS representative who came in the afternoon to Shipping and Receiving at the Alexander Library to demonstrate proper procedures for using gloves and masks and to address any concerns.
Rutgers employees are being offered free flu shots at the campus health centers and many RUL employees have already taken them. It's particularly important this year because the initial symptoms of Anthrax are similar to flu symptoms and protection may reduce undue anxiety. Employees concerned about an allergic reaction to the flu shots can consult with their personal physician if they desire but they can also consult with the University Occupational Health Physician in NB or the Student Health Physicians in Newark and Camden.
Two sub-committees were formed: Inta Sams and Bernice Weinberg will investigate CPR training for RUL employees and report back about setting up training and re-certification for our employees on all campuses who wish to volunteer to be certified to perform CPR.
Kristen St. John and Jazmine Faherty will study updating the emergency manuals and developing an online generic version for RUL.
The Health and Safety Committee's next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, December 6, 2001. We will arrange for university police, fire and EMS representatives to further brief us.
Chair, RUL Health & Safety Committee