Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a topic to view frequently asked questions and their answers. If you are curious about a particular service and aren’t sure if our office can help, our “Who do I contact?” resource may be of some assistance. If your question is not answered or if you still require additional information, feel free to contact us.

Emergency Management

Emergency Plans

What emergency plans does the university have in place?

George Mason University maintains an all-hazards Emergency Operations Plan in accordance with state requirements. Mason’s Emergency Operations Plan defines the structure and general procedures that should be followed in an emergency. This plan is supported by emergency support functions that help direct function-specific (i.e., communications, transportation, mass care, etc.) response activities. Hazard-specific plans have been developed to respond to unique emergency events and are integrated into the Emergency Operations Plan. Due to the sensitive nature of the information contained within emergency plans, the university does not make them available to the public. If you have specific questions or concerns about emergency preparedness and response procedures at George Mason University please contact the Environmental Health and Safety Office at (703) 993-8448 or safety@gmu.edu.

How do I develop an emergency plan for my work area / classroom?

Emergency preparedness guides provide specific information about how to prepare for an emergency and what you should do during an emergency. EHS will assist you in completing and compiling these guides for your work area and provide training on how to respond to emergencies. For more information or assistance please contact EHS at (703) 993-8448 or safety@gmu.edu.

Where do I find information on building evacuation procedures?

Where do I find information on where to go or what to do during severe weather?

What do I do if there is an earthquake?

What if I am unable to leave campus during an emergency?

When the university experiences a regional emergency, university-wide emergency, or severe weather event and determines that it is not safe for students, faculty, and staff to leave campus, instructions will be provided on where to assembly, who to contact for assistance, and the services available. Information and messages regarding emergencies will be sent to you via Mason Alert (George Mason University’s emergency notification system alert.gmu.edu) and posted on the university’s homepage www.gmu.edu.

Where can I find information on specific emergencies that may occur at George Mason University?

Sign up for Mason Alert, George Mason University’s emergency messaging system at alert.gmu.edu. You can also look at the university’s homepage, www.gmu.edu, for information about the university’s operating status.

Mason Alert

What is Mason Alert?

Mason Alert is George Mason University’s emergency notification system that is used to send emergency notifications and timely warnings to the university community via text, email, telephone call, and digital signage.

How do I register to receive emergency notification of an emergency on campus?

All university students and employees are automatically enrolled in Mason Alert. You will only receive emergency messages via email unless you have registered you cell phone number(s) with Mason Alert. If you are new user or have not logged into your Mason Alert account:

  • Your user name is your mason email address, (username@gmu.edu or username@masonlive.gmu.edu).
  • Your temporary password is: “mason” (all lower case letters).

How do parents of students receive emergency notifications (Mason Alert messages)?

Parents may register for Mason Alert by creating a guest account at alert.gmu.edu.

How do I access my Mason Alert account?

Go to alert.gmu.edu to access your account. Your user name is your George Mason University email address or the email address that you used to register for a Mason Alert account (remember to include the “@gmu.edu” or “@masonlive.gmu.edu”). Your password is a unique password that you create(d). Your password will not be the same as your George Mason University email password unless you set up your Mason Alert account with the same password.

I forgot my Mason alert email or password. How do I retrieve them?

If you forgot your email address, it is your @masonlive.gmu.edu or @gmu.edu email address. If you forgot your password go to alert.gmu.edu and click on “Lost Password.”

If you need additional assistance, email alert@gmu.edu.

What types of alerts will I get from Mason Alert?

Mason Alert provides emergency information regarding hazardous or emergency situations on campus. Emergency messages will include information about changes to the university’s operating schedule, canceled classes, and warnings about situations that occur on campus and the actions you should take to protect yourself from harm. You may also elect to receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service.

Personal Preparedness

What steps should I take to be prepared at home and at work?

Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed. Information on each of these actions is available at www.ready.gov.

How do I make an emergency supply kit for work and at home?

Go to www.ready.gov, click on “build a kit”. There you will find information on what to include in your emergency supply kit, where to store it, and how to maintain it.

What emergency supplies should I keep in my car?

Go to www.ready.gov, click on “get a kit”, and then select “for your vehicle.”

Does George Mason University keep a list of emergency contacts for employees in case of an emergency?

Employees are encouraged to provide information for one or more emergency contacts to the university in the event that an emergency occurs and the university must contact an employee’s emergency contact. Emergency contact information can be entered in Patriotweb (patriotweb.gmu.edu). Visit Patriotweb, log in, select “Personal Information”, select “View Emergency Contacts”, and select “Update Emergency Contacts” at the bottom of the page.

What happens if I cannot come to work or am unable to leave the university because of an emergency?

If you cannot come to work due to unsafe conditions and the university has not altered its operating schedule, contact your supervisor to discuss your work arrangements and concerns.

When the university experiences a regional emergency, university-wide emergency, or severe weather event and determines that it is not safe for students, faculty and staff to leave campus, instructions will be provided on where to assembly, who to contact for assistance, and the services available. Information and messages regarding emergencies will be sent to you via Mason Alert (George Mason University’s emergency notification system alert.gmu.edu) and posted on the university webpage www.gmu.edu.

Regional Emergency

What is a regional emergency?

A regional emergency is an emergency that is large enough or severe enough to impact a portion of the D.C. Metropolitan Region, Northern Virginia, or the Commonwealth of Virginia that causes severe disruptions to traffic, utilities, transportation, or the climate. Examples include hurricanes, major snowstorms, flooding, pandemic diseases, terrorism, and regional power outages.

What is George Mason University’s role during a regional emergency?

George Mason University cooperates with state and local governments, community partners, and surrounding states to respond to regional emergencies. The role that George Mason University will assume in a regional emergency is dependent up the location, severity, and impact of the emergency. The university maintains plans in accordance with state regulations that will assist the university in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from emergencies of all types.

Student Residents

What information and resources regarding emergency procedures are available to student residents?

Please reference the Resident Safety Program webpage for information on resident student policies and frequently asked questions.

Fires and Building Evacuations

When should I evacuate a building and what should I do?

Evacuate the building when the fire alarm sounds or when a university official or first responder instructs you to evacuate. You should report to directly to your building’s Designated Assembly Area, identified on the evacuation plan located throughout each building. Failure to evacuate a building when the fire alarm is sounding is a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment.

What is a designated assembly area and where is it?

A Designated Assembly Area is a pre-identified outdoor location that is at least 50 feet from a building where individuals should go if they have to evacuate the building. You can find the designated assembly area on Evacuation Plans posted throughout university buildings.

Each Evacuation Plan has at least two Designated Assembly Areas identified (primary and alternate). Know where both are located in case one is not available. In the event that the Designated Assembly Areas cannot be occupied due to a hazard, are occupied by emergency response personnel, or are otherwise unsafe, select an alternate assembly area that meets the criteria outlined in the Emergency Evacuation Guide.

When is it safe to re-enter a building?

It is only safe to reenter a building that has been evacuated when the fire department, university official, or emergency response personnel tells you it is safe to do so.

Emergency Information

Where do I get information on when classes are canceled?

Sign up for Mason Alert. You can also look on the university homepage www.gmu.edu for additional information about university operations.

Individuals with Disabilities

What if I am unable to evacuate a building due to disability?

If you have a disability, you are encouraged to identify an Evacuation Assistant. This person may be a co-worker or friend who volunteers to assist you during an emergency. If you are unable to evacuate a building during an emergency, you should let your Evacuation Assistant or someone know you are unable to evacuate and go to an Area of Assistance. An Area of Assistance is an area that is reasonably protected from fire and severe weather; it should provide temporary shelter until emergency response personnel arrive. If you need assistance identifying an area of assistance, please contact EHS at (703) 993-8448 or safety@gmu.edu.

Emergency Preparedness Training

Does EHS provide training on how to respond to emergencies?

EHS provides Emergency Preparedness training as needed or as requested by Departments and Units at the university. Contact EHS to learn more.

How do I register for fire extinguisher training?

Fire extinguisher training is available to everyone at George Mason University at no cost. To learn more and to register, visit ehs.gmu.edu/training.

How do I register for CPR/AED and First Aid training?

CPR/AED and First Aid training are available at no cost to some members of the university based on their job function. Please contact EHS at (703) 993-8448 or safety@gmu.edu for more information.

See Also: American Heart Association

Environmental Compliance

Chemical Spills

How do I clean up a broken compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL)?

Each compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) contains a very small amount of mercury in either powder or pellet form; however, the greatest risk to you from a broken bulb is getting cut by glass shards. The amount of mercury in a light bulb is extremely small, however precautions must still be taken. The following steps should be taken for clean-up of hard surfaces:

  • Before starting to cleanup, ventilate the room. Open a window or door for 15 minutes and turn off central heating/cooling systems. Contact Facilities Management to temporarily shut the heating/cooling system if you are unable to do so.
  • Gently sweep up – don’t vacuum – all of the glass fragment and fine particles. Place all waste in rigid lined container such as a plastic bag inside of a small box.
  • Use tape (e.g., duct tape, or packing tape) to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and place it in the waste container.
  • Wipe the area clean with a damp paper towel or disposable wet wipe, and place in the waste container.
  • Seal the container and label the exterior with the date and name of the contents: “Light bulb debris.”
  • Contact EHS to collect waste materials or for assistance in cleanup.

Hazardous Materials

What is a considered hazardous waste?

A waste with properties that make it dangerous or potentially harmful to human health or the environment and exhibits at least one of four characteristics: ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity.

How do I properly dispose of hazardous materials?

EHS oversees the management of hazardous substances and waste generated by facility maintenance, laboratory, and support operations. EHS has programs to help manage, store, collect, and dispose of hazardous chemical, biological, and radioactive materials. All hazardous waste should be managed in the following manner:
  • Collect hazardous wastes in a tight sealing container that is compatible with the hazardous materials it is intended to store.
  • Label the exterior of the container with the complete chemical name(s). Do not use abbreviations, trade names, chemical formulas, or chemical structures.
  • If broken glass or sharp objects are present, place them in a solid container such as a box or bottle. Sharps containers are available from EHS-Laboratory Safety for collection of needles or other sharp objects. Broken glass boxes are also available from EHS-Laboratory Safety.
  • Contact EHS-Laboratory Safety at labsafe@gmu.edu to schedule a pickup.

If you or your department generates hazardous waste on a routine basis, please contact EHS. EHS has additional programs, supplies, and support to help you properly manage hazardous waste.

What hazardous materials may be poured down the drain?

George Mason University does not permit any hazardous chemicals or waste to be poured down the drain without prior authorization from EHS-Laboratory Safety. There are some chemicals and hazardous materials that may be disposed of in the sanitary sewer system; however, EHS will review the material, quantity, and concentration of the material to ensure that disposal does not violate Federal, state, and local environmental regulations.

How can I properly dispose of aerosol cans?

Aerosol cans are considered a hazardous waste, even when the cans are empty, and therefore must be collected and managed as hazardous waste. Please place the cap back on aerosol can(s) and collect them in a rigid container. Contact EHS- Laboratory Safety at labsafe@gmu.edu to pick up and properly dispose of the aerosol cans.

Can I bring household hazardous materials to George Mason University for disposal?

Leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable (flammable), or reactive ingredients are considered to be “household hazardous waste” (HHW). Products such as oil-based paints (or other non-latex paints), cleaners, batteries, and pesticides contain potentially hazardous ingredients that require special care when you dispose of them. Most local jurisdictions have HHW days to collect household waste. Please contact your local solid waste authority (landfill) for additional information. You may not bring HHW to campus for disposal. Anyone found dumping or abandoning hazardous materials or solid waste on George Mason University property may be prosecuted.

What happens to hazardous waste once it is collected?

George Mason University utilizes the services of a licensed and permitted vendor for disposal of hazardous waste. The vendor collects, segregates, and packages hazardous waste according to Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations, then ships the waste to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved disposal facility. Disposal methods range from incineration, waste water treatment, recovery/recycling, and stabilization. EHS encourages everyone to reduce the quantity of hazardous substances purchased to only those amounts necessary for their activities in an effort to reduce the volume of hazardous waste generated.

How do I ship hazardous materials? Do the regulations apply to very small quantities?

The Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates shipping of all hazardous materials, even small quantities. The regulations are quite complex, and require training and certification in order to ship hazardous materials. EHS staff coordinate and ship hazardous materials for university activities. Please contact EHS at least two business days in advance to coordinate hazardous materials or research material shipment. Please also refer to the Hazardous Materials Shipping and Receiving Guide.

Pollution Prevention

What steps can I take to minimize pollution and be compliant with environmental regulations?

The largest contribution to pollution that most individuals make is the amount of trash, paper, and chemicals generated by business and personal activities. Reducing consumption, recycling, and using less harmful or better engineered products such as recycled paper, less hazardous chemicals or naturally safe alternatives, and using energy efficient equipment, are the best ways to reduce pollution.

George Mason University is subject to a variety of environmental regulations, most of which address the management of hazardous materials, emissions, and protecting the natural landscape during development. If you are concerned about waste materials that you generate, please contact EHS to discuss proper disposal or recycling options. Contact EHS if you have specific questions about environmental regulations and how they apply to your activities or George Mason University.

What programs does George Mason University have in place to prevent pollution or control emissions?

Facilities Management has undertaken several programs and implemented best practices to prevent pollution and control emissions. Clean burning natural gas is used to heat campus buildings, and all generators and equipment use ultra-low sulfur fuel wherever feasible.

All new buildings are designed to meet new standards for energy efficiency. All new office and industrial equipment purchased should be Energy STAR rated by the EPA and Department of Energy. Staff and students receive commuter benefits such as free transportation on the Fairfax County CUE bus, and George Mason University encourages employees to telecommute when possible. George Mason University has increased public transportation services between campuses and to campus from public transportation hubs in an effort to reduce the amount of traffic on campus and reduce emissions.

Recyclable Materials

Where can I find out more information about sustainability, recycling, and green issues?

Please visit George Mason University’s Office of Sustainability website to obtain more information sustainability programs and campus initiatives to go green!

Please visit George Mason University’s recycling website for more information about recycling programs, acceptable recycling materials, and recycling locations.

What items may be recycled, and where are they collected?

There are ongoing programs for the collection of office paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, and plastic bottles (#1 and #7). Recycling collection containers are located throughout the university.

Currently, there are no local, regional, or national programs in place that George Mason University can participate in to recycle alkaline batteries.

Rechargeable batteries (nickel cadmium- Ni-Cad, lithium ion – Li-ion, nickel metal hydride – NMH or Ni-MH, and all cell phone batteries) and cell phones are collected for recycling. Recycling containers are located at:

  • Sub I and Sub II – The HUB Information Desks.
  • Patriot Computer in Johnson Center.
  • Potomac Heights Housing Office.
  • Discovery Hall Security Desk.
  • Occoquan Building, outside of the bookstore.
  • Bull Run Hall, outside of the Classroom Technology Office.
  • Arlington Classroom Technology Office.

Fire Safety

Appliances

May I use a space heater, i.e., portable heater?

Under desk electrical heaters are not recommended but may be used if the following criteria are met:

  • Approved by Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) (this will appear on the manufacture’s label);
  • Equipped with an intrinsic tip-over protection feature that automatically shuts off the heater if it is accidentally knocked over;
  • All combustible materials (i.e., paper, cloth, cardboard) must be kept at least three feet away from the heater;
  • Plugged directly into a wall outlet; extension cords or power strips may not be used in conjunction with a space heater; and
  • Unplugged when not in use.

May I use a grill or open flame cooking device on campus?

Outdoor grills and open flame cooking devices may be used on campus if the following guidelines are followed:

  • Compressed gas (propane) grills are not permitted to be used on campus.
  • Cooking devices must be placed at least 20 feet from all buildings, tents, or other structures.
  • Cannot be used near air intake vents on buildings.
  • Cooking devices may never be left unattended when in use.
  • Every cooking device must have a 5lb ABC fire extinguisher located within 10 feet of the cooking area.
  • Charcoal and wood ashes must be completely cooled before being disposed of, and must be disposed of in an approved container.
  • Charcoal grills may not be stored indoors.
  • Lighter fluid, charcoal or other flammable substances used in the cooking process may not be stored indoors unless stored in an approved fire rated cabinet.

Are halogen lamps allowed to be used?

Halogen lamps are not permitted to be used on campus due to their inherent fire hazard.

What is a UL listing and why is it important?

“UL” is an abbreviation for Underwriters Laboratory; an international corporation that tests appliances and devices to ensure that they meet minimum safety and design standards. There are other corporations that test appliances and devices (e.g., ETL) however their standards are lower than UL’s. George Mason University only allows appliances that are approved by UL and posses the appropriate UL markings.

Fire Extinguishers

Where are fire extinguishers located?

One or more fire extinguishers are located on each floor of a building. The specific locations of the fire extinguishers are denoted on Evacuation Plans posted throughout university buildings. Fire extinguishers may be found in wall mounted cabinets (recessed or protruding) or hanging on a wall mounted bracket.

Who maintains the fire extinguishers on campus?

Fire extinguishers are certified annually and maintained by the Fire Safety group within the Environmental Health and Safety Office. If you have specific concerns about a particular fire extinguisher or if you believe that one needs maintenance please call EHS at 703.993.8448 and provide EHS with the location of the extinguisher and your concern.

Where can I get training on how to use a fire extinguisher?

Fire Extinguisher Training is provided by the Fire Safety group within the Environmental Health and Safety Office. Training is offered routinely and takes about one hour. Training consists of a one-half-hour classroom training and one-half-hour hands-on practice with a fire extinguisher simulator. Please click here for a complete list of training offered by EHS-Fire Safety.

Power Strips and Extension Cords

May I use an extension cord?

Extension cords are only permitted to be used for temporary, portable appliances. They may not be utilized as a substitute for permanent wiring. Cords cannot be fastened or hung in a way that can damage the outer jacket or insulation. UL approved fused power strips can be used to extend power to permanent devices or appliances except for those listed in FAQ#5 in this section.

May I use a multi-plug adaptor?

Multi-plug adaptors can be used if they contain the following:

  • A power switch;
  • A fuse;
  • Are UL listed and have the appropriate markings; and
  • Are not used in conjunction with any other multi-plug device(s).

What is considered an approved power strip?

Fused power strips are the only approved device that may be used to increase the number of outlets available from a single outlet. All power strips must be UL listed and in good working order. They must possess a power switch, and be equipped with a fuse.

May I use more than one power strip?

Multiple power strips can be used provided that they are all plugged directly into the wall outlet and not plugged into an extension cord or into another power strip.

What needs to be plugged directly into the wall?

Some devices draw significant amounts of current, and should be plugged directly into the wall. Contact Environmental Health and Safety Office- Fire Safety if you have specific questions about how to power your devices/appliances. The Electrical Safety Guide can also provide information about the safe powering of devices. The following devices should always be plugged directly into the wall:

  • Portable heaters (i.e., space heaters)
  • Refrigerators
  • Large fans
  • Microwaves
  • Power strips
  • Coffee pots
  • Any device that draws over 10 amperes

Events

What is required if I want to erect a tent for an event on campus?

Tents, depending on their size, must undergo a permitting and inspection process. Specific requirements for tents can be found in the Temporary Structure Permit Guide. All tents must abide by the following minimum requirements:

  • Be placed at least 20 feet from the exterior of surrounding buildings.
  • Not block:
    • Any means of ingress or egress of other structures;
    • Emergency fire lanes; or
    • Any equipment that pertains or aids in the suppression of a fire (e.g., fire hydrant, fire department connection, or post indicator valve).
  • Open flames or cooking devices may not be used under tents. All cooking appliances or open flames to include grills may not be used within 20 feet of a tent.
  • May not be occupied when local winds are forecasted or known to be greater than 40 miles per hour.
  • All tents are subject to removal by the Event Coordinator, EHS, Facilities Management, or vendor due to severe weather.
  • Provide adequate clear paths for egress/exiting.
  • Maintain a copy of the Tent Permit (if required) on-site.
  • Have original manufacture’s tags attached indicating that the material of the tent is flame retardant (if tent is 400 square feet or greater).
  • Tents may only be occupied during daylight, unless code compliant electrical lighting is provided.
  • Properly marked and lighted emergency exits (for tents with sidewalls and 900 square feet or greater).
  • Additional regulations may be stipulated in the permit issued by the Commonwealth.

Are there any restrictions on erecting a stage on campus?

Stages that are owned or rented and erected on campus must have a permit. Specific requirements and the permit application can be found in the Temporary Structure Permit Guide.

What must I do to have an inflatable device or carnival ride at a university sponsored event on campus?

All inflatable devices (e.g., bouncy houses, obstacle courses, etc) require a permit, and an inspection by a third party inspector at the cost of the event coordinator. Detailed information about the process for permitting and inspecting inflatable devices can be found in the Temporary Structure Permit Guide.

Large Events: Are there any additional requirements for events with over 1,000 attendees?

Events that are expected to have over 1,000 people (including event staff and performers) must have designated Crowd Managers. There must be at least one trained crowd manager for every 250 people at the event. The duties and responsibilities of the crowd manager can be found in the Crowd Manager Guide. For more information about university events please see University Policy 1103: Space Utilization and Scheduling.

Building Fire Safety

Do I have to participate in fire drills and how often do they happen?

All persons who are in a building when a fire alarm sounds must exit the building or go to the nearest Area of Assistance. Fire drills are conducted in accordance with the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code. The frequency of fire drills depends on the occupancy use of the building. See the following table for more information.

Group or OccupancyFrequencyExamples
Assembly Buildings Group AQuarterlyPatriot Center, Center for the Arts, Johnson Center
Education / Business Group BAnnually Innovation Hall, Occoquan Hall, Founders Hall
Adult and Child Care Group EMonthlyChild Development Center
Residence Halls Group R-2Four AnnuallyNorthern Neck, Potomac Heights, Whitetop Hall

 

What does the Environmental Health and Safety Office – Fire Safety do to mitigate the threat of fire?

Building Inspections: All university owned buildings and some leased spaces (depending upon the lease agreement) are inspected at least annually by a certified fire safety inspector. Any violations that are noted are shared with the appropriate party and are revisited after the building occupant or university has had an opportunity to correct any deficiencies. Additional inspections of university buildings and leased spaces may be inspected by the State Fire Marshalls Office (SFMO) with or without noticed and as deemed necessary by the SFMO.

Fire Suppression and Alarm Systems Inspections: All fire suppression systems (e.g., sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, and cooking hood suppression systems) and their associated audio and visual alarm systems are inspected routinely. The inspection frequency of these systems is determined by the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code; fire suppression systems are tested quarterly, fire alarm systems are tested annually.

Are buildings safe to be in while fire alarm or fire suppression systems are being tested, inspected, or serviced?

Fire suppression and alarm systems are routinely tested and maintained in order to ensure that they are in working order. For some testing and repairs to be performed the system must be taken out of service. While fire detection and suppression systems are impaired, a fire watch must be posted in order to maintain a safe environment. For further information about fire watch, see the Fire Watch Guide.

What are the most common fire safety deficiencies found on campus?

Most common fire safety deficiencies are easily remedied. Please consider these issues when working on campus.

  • Obstructed sprinkler heads: items must be kept at least 18 inches away from all sprinkler heads. Storage must be at least 18 inches away from the ceiling. This ensures that the sprinkler head has sufficient clearance to properly spray water throughout the area. This requirement also helps to prevent sprinkler heads from being struck by objects and accidentally activated.
  • Extension cords: Extension cords are only permitted to be used for temporary, portable appliances. They may not be utilized as a substitute for permanent wiring. Cords cannot be fastened or hung in a way that can damage the outer jacket or insulation.
  • Obstructed exits and pathways: doorways and hallways should be kept free of any objects that obstruct all or part of exit pathways and exits.
  • Fire doors propped open: Fire doors must not be tied or propped open. Fire doors are in place to control the spread of fire, and if they are unable to close properly that could lead to excessive fire spread.
  • Unapproved appliances: All appliances that are used on campus must be approved by the Underwriters Laboratory (UL). A “UL” sticker or stamp is placed on any appliance approved by the UL.

What do I do if I see a fire or hear a fire alarm?

If you discover a fire:

    1. Activate the fire alarm by using a manual pull station.
    2. If you are trained to use a portable fire extinguisher and are confident you can extinguish the fire, do so.
    3. Make sure that individuals around you are aware of the evacuation.
    4. Assist persons who are in need of direction or aid.
    5. Leave quickly in an orderly manner using the nearest emergency exit.
    6. Do not use elevators during an emergency evacuation.
    7. If you are unable to exit the building, proceed to the nearest Area of Assistance and emergency response personnel will provide assistance as necessary. Call the University Police by dialing 9-1-1 from a university phone or 703.993.2810 from a cell phone, and provide your name, contact information and your location.
    8. Close doors as you exit the building.
    9. Once outside the building, go to a Designated Assembly Area and wait for further information.
    10. Follow instructions from emergency response personnel and university officials.
    11. Do not re-enter the building until instructed to do so by University Police, emergency response personnel, or university official.

If you hear a fire alarm:

    1. Remain calm.
    2. Make sure that individuals around you are aware of the evacuation.
    3. Assist persons who are in need of direction or aid.
    4. Leave quickly in an orderly manner using the nearest emergency exit.
    5. Do not use elevators during an emergency evacuation.
    6. If you are unable to exit the building, proceed to the nearest Area of Assistance and emergency response personnel will provide assistance as necessary. Call the University Police by dialing 9-1-1 from a university phone or 703.993.2810 from a cell phone, and provide your name, contact information and your location.
    7. Close doors as you exit the building.
    8. Once outside the building, go to the Designated Assembly Area and wait for further information.
    9. Follow instructions from emergency response personnel and university officials.
    10. Do not re-enter the building until instructed to do so by University Police, emergency response personnel, or university official.

For further information about emergency evacuations please see the Emergency Evacuation Guide.

What should I do if I have a fire safety concern?

If you feel that there is an immediate threat of fire call the University Police by dialing 9-1-1 from a university phone or 703.993.2810 from a cell phone and provide specific details about the threat.

If you see something that is not an immediate threat, but is a concern, call or email the Environmental Health and Safety Office at 703.993.8448 or safety@gmu.edu and provide specific information about your concern.

Are there requirements for how hot work (welding, cutting, or brazing) is performed in university-owned or occupied buildings?

All hot work that is done on campus should be done in a safe manner and in compliance with all OSHA and Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code regulations. For further information about hot work, please see the Hot Work Safety Guide or contact EHS.

Laboratory Safety

General Laboratory Safety

What training is required to work in a laboratory?

George Mason University laboratory personnel, students, support services staff, and visitors entering laboratories or laboratory support rooms are required to receive safety training commensurate with their level of participation in laboratory activities and the duties they are to perform.

  • Laboratory Safety Orientation training is required and must be renewed annually (by way of Laboratory Safety Refresher) for anyone working in a laboratory, including BSL-2 laboratories.
  • Biological Safety for BSL-2 Laboratories training is required and must be renewed annually (by way of BSL-2 Biosafety Refresher) for all individuals conducting laboratory work in BSL-2 laboratories. This class also fulfills the annual Bloodborne Pathogens training requirement.
  • Animal & Vivarium Safety training is required for individuals working with animals, and must be renewed every three years.
  • Radiation Safety Fundamentals and Radiation Safety Program Hands-On training is required and must be renewed annually for individuals working with Radioactive Materials.

Training is offered monthly at both the Science & Technology and Fairfax campuses. For a complete list of training and to register, click here.

How do I order a lab coat?

Requests for lab coats are handled by your department. To order a lab coat, contact the lab coat liaison for your department. If you do not know your lab coat liaison, contact EHS and provide your supervisor’s name and laboratory location.

Lab coats are required for BSL-1 and BSL-2 research laboratories and for instructional laboratories operating at BSL-2. Lab coats are recommended for instructional laboratories operating at BSL-1. Lab coats should cover the entire upper body, extend to the knees, and fit comfortably without hanging too loosely from the arms. Lab coats are laundered by an outside contractor on a routine basis. Lab coats should not be laundered by laboratory personnel.

What is the policy for volunteers and/or minors working in laboratories?

Please refer to the Volunteers and Minors in the Laboratory Guide. Contact EHS with any additional questions.

How do I order waste supplies?

To order chemical, biological, or radiological waste supplies, contact EHS and provide a brief description of the container or supply you are ordering. Please give information regarding the material, color, capacity, and anything specific about the item. Also provide your name, building, laboratory room number, and a telephone number where you can be reached for supply drop-off.

When does EHS pick up hazardous waste?

EHS conducts routine inspections of all Satellite Accumulation Areas. Pickups occur once a week, however, more frequent pickups can be scheduled in situations where laboratories will generate a high volume of waste in a short period of time. To schedule a waste pickup, contact EHS.

What do I need to consider when receiving a package that contains chemicals or biological materials?

  • Inspect the package for signs of damage including leaks, broken outer packaging, or a strange odor.
  • If the package is damaged or leaking, do not accept it.
  • In the event the transporter does not accept the package, move the package to a fume hood and contact EHS.
  • If the package is in good condition, take it to the appropriate laboratory.
  • If the package includes potentially-infectious materials, open the package inside a biosafety cabinet.
  • Dry ice from these packages should be placed in a chemical fume hood to sublime. Never place dry ice into a laboratory sink as it may cause pipes to rupture.

How do I ship chemicals, biological materials, or radioactive materials?

Laboratory personnel must ship all chemical and radioactive materials through EHS. Biological materials and dry ice are also shipped by EHS. If laboratory personnel frequently ship biological materials or dry ice, they may be trained to ship these materials. This decision is made on a case-by-case basis by EHS.

Personnel who wish to ship materials through EHS must contact EHS at least two working days prior to the desired shipping date.

When requesting that EHS ship laboratory materials, laboratory personnel must provide:

  • Itemized list of contents of the package that includes the complete name, volume/weight, and physical state.
  • An appropriate shipping container that meets UN packaging requirements. (This can be purchased through EHS if the department does not have the appropriate containers and the shipment is urgent).
  • Dry ice (if required) and the weight of the dry ice to be included in the package.
  • Package dimension(length, width, height, and weight).
  • Insurance for the package (if any).
  • Sender address and contact information.
  • Recipient name and address, including telephone number.
  • Payment information (fund code or org number to be used to conduct a journal voucher).

On the day of shipment, bring the package to EHS before 12:00 pm.

Who removes broken glassware boxes from laboratory spaces?

Housekeeping removes broken glassware boxes from laboratories. However, housekeeping will not remove overfilled boxes or boxes that are dangerous to handle (i.e., shards of glass sticking out of the sides or glass protruding from the opening). Prepare your broken glass as follows in order to ensure housekeeping pick up:

  • Construct broken glass box, line with plastic bag, and place the cover on top.
  • Do not overfill broken glassware boxes.
  • Close the box when it is 75% full.
  • Label the box as trash to assist housekeeping in identifying boxes that are ready for pickup.

If housekeeping does not remove broken glassware boxes, laboratory personnel can transport the box to a dumpster for disposal. Additional broken glassware boxes can be obtained from EHS.

What kind of gloves should I purchase for my laboratory?

The type of gloves appropriate for a laboratory activity depends on the type of chemical and the breakthrough times can be affected by a variety of characteristics including but not limited to:

  • Thickness of glove material.
  • Concentration of the chemical worked with.
  • Amount of chemical the glove comes in contact with.
  • Length of time which the glove is exposed to the chemical.
  • Temperature at which the work is done.
  • Possibility of abrasion or puncture.
  • The chemicals and other materials to be used.

Consult the Glove Selection Chart in Appendix C of the Laboratory Safety Manual to select the best type of gloves for your activity. If you have additional questions, contact EHS.

Biological Safety

How often does the biosafety cabinet in my laboratory need to be certified?

  • Annually
  • After relocation

EHS coordinates the certification and you will be notified to ensure it does not interfere with your schedule.

What training do I need to work in a laboratory that has biological materials?

  • Biological Safety for BSL-2 Laboratories, One-Time*
  • Laboratory Safety Orientation, One-Time
  • BSL-2 Biosafety Refresher, Annually thereafter*

* Biological Safety for BSL-2 Laboratories and BSL-2 Biosafety Refresher fulfill a BSL-2 laboratory worker’s annual Bloodborne Pathogens training requirement.

For more information or to register for training, click here.

What is Regulated Medical Waste (RMW)?

  • Any waste perceived to contain materials that may be infectious to humans.
  • Human materials such as:
    • Blood,
    • Body fluids,
    • Tissues,
    • Organs,
    • Body parts.
  • Items contaminated with human materials.
  • Discarded materials such as cultures, stocks, specimens, or vaccines.
  • Discarded infectious agents.
  • Sharps (including needles, syringes, etc.)
  • Animal materials intentionally infected with pathogens or potentially infectious human materials.
    • Carcasses,
    • Body parts,
    • Bedding,
    • Waste contaminated by these materials.
  • Any contaminated materials used to clean up RMW, such as a spill.

How do I dispose of biological waste that is not Regulated Medical Waste (RMW)?

Biological waste that is non-infectious should be autoclaved. If the waste cannot be autoclaved (e.g., mixed with a chemical or is an animal carcass), it should be placed in a burn box for incineration offsite.

  • Autoclave
    • Place waste in a clear autoclave bag
    • Run the autoclave cycle.
    • Fill in the logbook with date, time, your name, type of material treated, and approximate weight of treated waste.
    • Take the waste to the dumpster.
  • Burn box
    • Tape bottom and side seams of box.
    • Line with 2 black bags.
    • When 75% full, seal both bags.
    • Do not fill more than 40 pounds.
    • Close box and tape shut at seams.
    • Contact EHS for pickup.

How do I dispose of infectious waste or regulated medical waste?

Any waste that has come in contact with potentially-infectious materials should be placed in a red bag with the biohazard symbol.

Regulated medical waste should be autoclaved. If the waste cannot be autoclaved (e.g., mixed with a chemical, is an animal carcass, or is from a clinical space), it should be placed in a burn box for incineration offsite.

  • Autoclave
    • Use an autoclave meant to treat waste (will have a sticker on it that says “waste autoclave only”)
    • Autoclave material for 2 hours at 121oC at 15psi.
    • Fill in the logbook with date, time, your name, type of material treated, and approximate weight of treated waste.
    • Place autoclaved waste in an orange bag.
    • Affix a label indicating the waste has been treated and write the date on it.
    • Take the waste to the dumpster.
  • Burn box
    • Tape bottom and side seams of box.
    • Line with 2 red bags with the biohazard symbol.
    • When 75% full, seal both bags.
    • Do not fill more than 40 pounds.
    • Close box and tape shut at seams.
    • Contact EHS for pickup.

What do I do if I need to receive the Hepatitis B vaccine?

The Hepatitis B vaccine is offered at no cost to employees determined to be at risk for occupational exposure to human blood, blood products, tissues, cells or other potentially infectious material. The vaccination series must be started within ten working days of initial assignment to a position involving potential exposure.

To obtain the Hepatitis B vaccine, contact EHS. EHS will arrange for eligible employees to receive the vaccination series.

Can I transport biological materials in my personal vehicle?

The transport of biological materials may be regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT). If you would like to transport any biological material, please contact EHS to ensure that your transport complies with DOT regulation.

What is the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) and how does it affect me?

The IBC:

  • Provides oversight of recombinant DNA research.
  • Ensures research is in compliance with NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules (NIH Guidelines).
  • Reviews and approves all research subject to the NIH Guidelines.
  • Also reviews all projects that involve:
    • Biological materials
    • Infectious materials
    • Other potentially infectious materials
    • Biologically-derived toxins

In order to conduct work with a biological material, a Project Review Form must be completed.  For more information on recombinant DNA, see the Office of Biotechnology Activities Frequently Asked Questions website.

Chemical Safety

How often does the chemical fume hood in my laboratory need to be tested?

All chemical fume hoods must be tested annually. At the time of testing, a label is placed on the chemical fume hood indicating the day in which it was last tested as well as the date in which testing is required. Contact EHS if your chemical fume hood is in need of testing.

Can I use my chemical fume hood that is not operating properly?

No, as laboratory personnel who use a chemical fume hood that operates outside the range of 80 to 120 fpm at a sash height of 18 inches (marked by maximum sash height sticker) may be exposed to harmful chemical vapors. Contact EHS and do not use the chemical fume hood until it has been repaired.

How often is the emergency shower and the eyewash in my laboratory tested?

EHS tests showers and eyewashes every six months in laboratory areas to certify that water pressure and flow rate are within acceptable parameters.

In addition, departments are required to flush safety showers and eyewashes every two weeks to ensure that there is a flushing fluid supply at the head of the device and to clear the supply line of any sediment build-up that could prevent fluid from being delivered and to minimize microbial contamination due to sitting water. Routine flushing must be recorded on the Inspection Tag attached to the equipment. Contact your department’s Unit Safety Liaison for more information.

What containers are appropriate for hazardous waste and where do I get these containers?

All hazardous waste containers must be compatible with the materials they are intended to store, must have a cap or lid that is able to be tightly sealed, and must be labeled with the complete chemical name and the words “Hazardous Waste.” Do not use food containers, pharmaceutical containers, flasks, bins, or other open top containers.

EHS provides 5-gallon polyethylene containers for the disposal of corrosive, organic, inorganic, and flammable wastes. Additional container sizes made of various chemical resistant materials may be available or provided upon request.

EHS recommends using empty chemical containers that are generated in the laboratory to accumulate hazardous waste. If you choose to use an existing chemical container, please remove or completely deface the chemical label and replace it with a label that correctly identifies the waste contents. Please be sure that the chemicals are compatible with the container’s material(s) and that the container has a properly fitted cap or lid that is capable of being tightly sealed. Waste stored in containers that does not meet these requirements will not be removed from your laboratory until you have met these re-use requirements.

How do I dispose of hazardous chemical waste?

  • Select a waste container that has a tight fitting screw cap or lid, and is compatible with the waste it will contain. If you do not have the correct waste container, contact EHS for assistance.
  • Label the container with a Hazardous Waste Label. Include the complete chemical name of the waste. Do not use abbreviations, trade names, chemical formulas, or chemical structures. If the waste is a mixture of chemicals, list each component and their relative concentrations. EHS provides Hazardous Waste labels upon request.
  • Place the labeled container in the satellite accumulation area located in the laboratory or in the adjacent support suite. Satellite accumulation areas are marked bins provide by EHS.
  • Chemical waste containers should be considered full when the container is 90% full. When a waste container is determined to be full, write the date on the container and place it in the Satellite Accumulation Area.
  • EHS collects waste placed in Satellite Accumulation Areas during weekly rounds. You can also contact EHS to arrange a special pickup if necessary.

For additional information, refer to the Laboratory Safety Manual or contact EHS.

Radiation Safety

How do you become a Supervised User of radiation if you are a graduate student, undergraduate student, or volunteer?

With the help of the Approved User who will be supervising your work, complete a Radiation User Authorization Form as well as a Personal Monitoring Services Form and send the completed form as an email attachment to safety@gmu.edu.

In order to become a supervised user, the following requirements must be met:

  • 8-hours of initial Radiation Safety training must be completed. The Radiation Safety Officer will contact you in regards to registering for training once your Radiation User Authorization Form has been received.
  • You must be listed on an approved protocol under an Approved User.

How do you become an Approved User of radiation if you are a Principal Investigator, Laboratory Supervisor, or Course Instructor?

Submit a completed Project Review Form: Addendum D along with a Radiation User Authorization Form to safety@gmu.edu. The Radiation Protocol Review Form should outline the proposed work with radiation and safety and security procedures that will be utilized in the laboratory. Your Project Review Form will be reviewed by the Radiation Safety Officer as well as the Radiation Safety Committee (RSC). After successful completion of training and approval of the proposed work by the RSC, you will be authorized to use radiation and to supervise graduate students, undergraduate students, and/or volunteers in their use of radiation.

Does EHS have a survey meter that I can borrow?

Yes, survey meters are available to Approved Users. Approved Users may request a survey meter and arrange to pick one up by contacting EHS. Approved users may also choose to use their own survey meters. Any meter that is used as part of compliance with the radiation safety program must be calibrated annually. EHS can coordinate the calibration, including cost, of any survey meter which is to be used as part of the radiation safety program. To request calibration please contact EHS.

Do I need a radiation badge?

The Radiation Safety Officer issues dosimetry badges to personnel based depending on the work being performed and the materials being used. Complete a Personal Monitoring Services Form and attach to an email sent to safety@gmu.edu.

Occupational Health

What do I do if I experience signs or symptoms of chemical exposure?

Seek medical attention at the nearest medical facility and follow up with Workers’ Compensation at 703-993-7756. Please contact EHS to request an assessment of a space or task where a chemical exposure may occur.

How do I obtain a respirator to use in the workplace?

If you believe a respirator is required to conduct your work, contact EHS for an assessment. All personnel using respiratory protection must be enrolled in the Respiratory Protection Program and receive required medical evaluations, annual training, and annual fit testing. Respiratory protection must be provided at no cost to the employee.

How do I know if I need hearing protection?

As a rule of thumb, if you have to raise your voice to be heard when speaking with someone three feet away, hearing protection should be worn. If you are concerned about potential noise exposure, please fill out a Supervisor Request for Occupational Noise Evaluation form and submit the completed form to EHS (location and contact details).

What is the Hearing Conservation Program?

The Hearing Conservation Program is a comprehensive set of documents and training developed to comply with the OSHA standard for Occupational Noise Exposure. Employees working around loud noise must be enrolled in the George Mason University Hearing Conservation Program. Enrollees are required to participate in annual audiometric testing and training, as well as wear hearing protection devices during tasks where noise levels are excessive.

How can I obtain information on reproductive and developmental health hazards in my workplace?

Please contact EHS for more information.

How do I request an indoor air quality assessment?

To request an indoor air quality assessment, please fill out the Indoor Air Quality Investigation Request form. This form provides useful information to EHS staff who conduct these investigations. The Indoor Air Quality Investigation Request form should be submitted by email (safety@gmu.edu), fax (703-993-8996), phone (703-993-8448) or intercampus mail (MS 5E2).

My workplace smells bad, what should I do?

To request an indoor air quality assessment, please fill out the Indoor Air Quality Investigation Request form. This form provides useful information to EHS staff who conduct these investigations. The Indoor Air Quality Investigation Request form should be submitted by email (safety@gmu.edu), fax (703-993-8996), phone (703-993-8448) or intercampus mail (MS 5E2).

There has been a water leak in my workplace, what should I do?

If you notice a water leak, contact Facilities Management at 703-993-2525. If George Mason University property was damaged as a result of the water leak the Office of Risk Management should also be contacted at 703-993-2599.

What do I do if I get a tick bite at work?

If a tick is still attached it is important to remove the entire tick to avoid infection. A tool, such as tweezers, should be used to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Place the tick in a closable bag or container and keep it for testing, if necessary. After removing the tick the area should be cleaned with soap and water or rubbing alcohol. Infected ticks can transmit various diseases to humans. If you believe you have contracted a disease from a tick bite it is recommended that you seek medical attention and contact the Workers’ Compensation department within Human Resources at 703-993-2600. Individuals should avoid tick bites by using repellant and wearing clothes that cover the skin when working outdoors. Additionally, it is important to check skin and clothes for ticks after working outdoors. More information can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/.

Am I eligible to receive the hepatitis B vaccination?

Employees who work in areas where they may come in contact with human materials are required to attend Bloodborne Pathogens training provided by EHS. These employees are eligible to receive the hepatitis B or Twinrix (hepatitis A and B) vaccine at no cost to the employee. If you have questions regarding your eligibility, please email safety@gmu.edu.

How do I get a hepatitis B vaccination?

Once an employee attends Bloodborne Pathogens training offered by EHS, they will receive an eligibility email from EHS instructing them how to either receive the vaccination or sign a declination form. If you have additional questions regarding how to receive a hepatitis B vaccination, please contact EHS.

Occupational Safety

Who is responsible for safety at George Mason University?

Safety is a shared responsibility among students, employees and supervisors, faculty, and the Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHS). Each party must endeavor to identify hazards and work collaboratively to mitigate hazards through engineering controls, administrative controls, and physical controls. EHS provides support to all persons engaged in activities that pose a risk, however minimal, in finding alternative or safer ways to perform academic and work tasks. Contact EHS if you have a safety concern or would like assistance with a project you are working on.

What do I do if I am involved in an accident or suffer an injury?

All accidents, injuries, or conditions that may cause harm should be reported to the university so that appropriate remediation or corrective measures can be taken to protect the university community from similar or future incidents. The following situations should be reported to the university:

  • Employee Accident: An Incident Report Form should be completed whenever an accident (that does not result in injury), theft of university property, fire on university property, or unsafe condition occurs.
  • Student or Visitor Accident or Injury: An Incident Report Form should be completed whenever an accident, injury, or unsafe incident occurs involving a university student or visitor. 
  • University Property Damage: Damage to university property resulting from accident or emergencies must be reported to the Office of Risk Management via the Report of Loss to State Owned Property form.
  • University/State Vehicle Accident: If you are involved in an automobile accident involving a university-owned vehicle you must complete an Automobile Loss Notice Form and submit it to the Office of Risk Management. If you are still at the scene, review the instructions on the envelope in the glove box of the state vehicle.

The forms listed above are used to investigate unsafe conditions, identify corrective actions to prevent accidents and incidents, and modify programs accordingly to improve safety on university property.

For more information regarding workplace injuries, exposures, or illnesses, please review the UniversityAccident and Incident Plan. For questions regarding workers’ compensation please contact Human Resources and Payroll Workers’ Compensation at 703-993-7756. For information about insurance, university property damage/theft, and automobile incidents contact the Office of Risk Management at 703-993-2599.

Does EHS conduct work area inspections?

EHS does conduct inspections of work spaces and provides a written report of safety and fire safety issues. EHS inspects areas with hazards and public spaces on a routine basis. To request an inspection of your work area contact EHS.

What is a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) and how is it used?

JSA are documents that outline the steps necessary to complete a task, associated hazards, required training, relevant safety plans or references, precautions that must be taken while performing work, and personal protective equipment that must be worn. JSA are completed by employees and/or supervisors and must be reviewed by supervisors. JSA should be referenced before beginning a task, especially if an employee is unfamiliar with a task, to minimize potential injuries or exposure to hazardous conditions.

To learn more, click here.

Is training assigned based on position or work tasks?

EHS works with supervisors to determine which training programs are required for employees based on their job description and/or work duties. If you have questions about which training applies to your work or academic activities, contact EHS to determine which training is appropriate.

What is a confined space?

A confined space is any space that can be occupied on a temporary basis to perform maintenance or repairs on equipment. Confined spaces typically have only one way in or out. Employees must work in teams of two when working in a confined space; one person must be available to summon help if the other person becomes trapped or injured.

Confined spaces that have a hazard associated with them (e.g., dangerous atmosphere, risk of entrapment, engulfment hazard, or other risk) are classified as Permit Required Confined Spaces and require special training and additional safety precautions. DO NOT enter a confined space unless you have been trained and a Confined Space Entry Permit has been completed and approved.

What types of equipment must have training before I can operate equipment?

Many types of machinery require training before it may be operated by an employee. The following is a list of some equipment that requires training before operation:

  • Forklifts
  • Aerial lifts (e.g., scissor lifts, man lifts, vertical mast, etc.)
  • Bucket Trucks
  • Backhoes
  • Skid Steer Loaders
  • Chainsaws
  • High Voltage Equipment

What tasks require training before I can perform them?

There are some tasks that require you to work with equipment or chemicals that can cause injury if not used properly. Below are some tasks that require formal training:

  • Working with hazardous materials, chemicals, or substances
  • Operating machinery such as a forklift, aerial lift, or skid steer loader
  • Working in confined spaces
  • Working on energized equipment which includes electrical, pressure, or thermal energy.
  • Working in a laboratory (including maintenance or housekeeping-related tasks in a laboratory)
  • Using a respirator or hearing protection

What if I received safety training from a previous employer?

Because programs can change slightly from organization to organization based on the way that each organization goes about satisfying a state or federal regulation, all employees and students that conduct activities that require training must attend the relevant George Mason University training program even if training was acquired from a previous employer or organization.

How frequently is training required?

The frequency of training depends on the training program. Most training programs require an initial training and retraining thereafter is required every one to three years.

Contact EHS for additional information on training and retraining requirements or visit the EHS training page.

What safety training programs are offered and how do I sign up for training?

EHS offers a variety of safety trainings. A calendar of upcoming training sessions is available here. You can register for classes online by clicking here. For more information on training programs visit the EHS training page.

How do I report a safety issue or concern?

Safety issues and concerns may be reported to EHS by phone (703) 993-8448, by email safety@gmu.edu, online, or by completing an Incident Report Form.

What is a Safety Data Sheet (SDS)?

A Safety Data Sheet or SDS is a document generated by a chemical or product manufacturer that provides specific information on the chemical properties, health hazards, personal protective equipment, and emergency procedures for a specific chemical or product.

How do I find Safety Data Sheets (SDS)?

SDS for each chemical used in a workplace must be located in SDS binders which are posted at a Right-To-Know stations mounted in a conspicuous location within the work area where chemicals are used or stored. If an SDS for a chemical is not available, contact the manufacturer and request a copy or download a copy online. Contact EHS if you do not have a Right-To-Know station in your work area.

Training

What if I received safety training from a previous employer?

Because programs can change slightly from organization to organization based on the way that each organization goes about satisfying a state or federal regulation, all employees and students that conduct activities that require training must attend the relevant George Mason University training program even if training was acquired from a previous employer or organization.

How frequently is training required?

The frequency of training depends on the training program. Most training programs require an initial training and retraining thereafter is required every one to three years.

Contact EHS for additional information on training and retraining requirements or visit the EHS training page.

What safety training programs are offered and how do I sign up for training?

EHS offers a variety of safety trainings. A calendar of upcoming training sessions is available here. You can register for classes online by clicking here. For more information on training programs visit the EHS training page.

How do I register for training?

To register for training through EHS, click here. On the registration page, enter either your G# or first and last name. If you’ve attended training or registered with us in the past, the system should find a match for you. If not, click on the option to complete registration as a first-time registrant. After you’ve signed in or registered, you’ll be able to view all of our classes and their upcoming trainings.

Please note, EHS offers trainings to George Mason University Faculty, Staff, Students, Volunteers, Interns, Governor’s School students, and other affiliates. If you’re not sure if you can attend training through our office, please email safety@gmu.edu and we’ll be glad to assist you in answering any questions you may have about eligibility or required courses.

What does it mean if I am “waitlisted” when I register for a class?

Due to capacity of training rooms, facilities, and other factors, we do have to impose a limit to the number of seats available per class. Once a class has filled up, you can request to be added to the waitlist. Waitlisted attendees will be added to the list of registrants if and when a seat opens up*, in the order that they were added to the waitlist. Please note, if you are waitlisted when you register you are not actually signed up for that class. Please email safety@gmu.edu with any additional questions about being waitlisted for a class.

*Seats open in classes when registrants cancel their registration, or in some cases if the class size is able to be increased to accommodate waitlisted registrants. Class size increases depend on the space available in the room and the trainer’s discretion.

When is the next “_______” training being offered?

Please check our training schedule via the calendar or the training registration portal. You’ll be able to view the upcoming trainings for all of our scheduled monthly trainings.

I have a group of students or employees who require training. Can we arrange a training session just for our group? If so, how do we go about getting one organized?

Sure! We always recommend checking our routine training schedule to see if there are any upcoming trainings with enough open seats to accommodate your group. If there are no classes with schedules that meet everyone’s needs, please submit a Group Training Request form.

How can I receive confirmation of a completed training?

You can view and print your training history by signing into our registration system and selecting “View Training History.”

What trainings do I need to have completed to be eligible for BSL-2 Refresher or Lab Safety Refresher?

For BSL-2 Refresher: You must have completed BSL-2 Orientation and Laboratory Safety Orientation, or completed BSL-2 Biosafety Refresher within the past 12 months to be eligible to take the refresher course. If you have passed the 12-month deadline, you must register for the full orientation class again. If you are not sure if you are eligible for the BSL-2 Refresher class, please check your training history. If you sign up for BSL-2 Refresher and are not eligible to take the class, you will be unregistered and will receive an email from the EHS office letting you know that you’ll need to sign up for BSL-2 Orientation and Laboratory Safety Orientation.

For Lab Safety Refresher: You must have completed Lab Safety Orientation or Refresher within the past 12 months to be eligible to take the refresher course. If you have passed the 12-month deadline, you must register for the full orientation class again.If you are not sure if you are eligible for the BSL-2 Refresher class, please check your training history. If you sign up for Lab Safety Refresher and are not eligible to take the class, you will be unregistered and will receive an email from the EHS office letting you know that you’ll need to sign up for Laboratory Safety Orientation.

Who can I contact if I have any other questions about the EHS training program?

Please contact EHS with any questions you have about the EHS training program, or with any general questions for the EHS office. We look forward to hearing from you!

Not sure who to contact?

We work closely with many departments on campus, e.g., University Police, Student Health Services, Risk Management, etc., and sometimes it's hard to tell which office you need help from. Often times it's a combo of many! You are more than welcome to contact us if you are unsure, but we've also created a "Who do I contact?" resource if you'd like to take a look.