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Hazardous training

OUS unveils new hazardous material waste lab

Most never want to think about chemical spills or accidents where hazardous material or biological waste becomes a threat.

However, numerous men and women are trained to deal with these situations and to be prepared in case they are needed.

A key component of preparedness is having the right equipment and knowing how to use it properly and safely.

On Thursday, Ohio University Southern unveiled its new 35-foot, gooseneck, multi-mission Environmental Health and Safety Mobile Training Unit, full of the necessary tools and equipment for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) training in accordance with OSHA standards.

The trailer will serve as a portable, multi-function hazardous material training facility, which will be utilized across the region for both college credit and non-credit training programs.

“This protocol was instituted to protect employees who may be exposed to hazardous material or a biological hazard while working,” Dr. Craig Bowe, director of the Environmental Engineering Technology (EVT) program at Ohio University Southern, said.

The trailer was purchased with funds awarded by the Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills (RAPIDS) grant, and is a collaboration between Ohio University Southern and its grant partners, Shawnee State University, the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College, Southern State Community College and the Ohio Higher Education Commission to provide workforce training to the region.

Since 2015, the partner universities have been working together on a training plan that focuses on environmental safety, additive manufacturing and health care.

“Today’s exciting event is the culmination of ongoing and close collaboration with our RAPIDS partners,” Nicole Pennington, dean of Ohio University Southern, said. “The quality of education and training in a community is closely linked to its economic competitiveness and quality of life. Here in Southeastern Ohio, there is a base to build skilled labor through regional needs of healthcare, logistics and manufacturing.”

She added that one industry that covers all three of those needs is environmental health and safety training, which will be aided by the portable training lab.

Sarah Diamond Burroway, Ohio University Southern director of external relations, said she sees the collaboration as an exciting and economical approach to providing essential training.

“Pooling equipment and training resources in the targeted sectors, especially in times of limited fiscal resources, ensures the region’s post-secondary institutions are focused on workforce development to further economic growth of students and businesses in Southeast Ohio,” she said.

Inside the lab trailer contains decontamination equipment inclusive of hazmat suits (levels A and B), full face gas masks, boots, hoses, cleaning supplies, chemical absorbent pads for spill containment, ice vests and ice packs for both level A and B suits, spot test analysis equipment and test kits, and response team kits.

Dr. Bowe said that although the lab trailer is meant for educational and training purposes only, all of the equipment could be used in real life emergency situations.

For more photos from the unveiling, see the Focus page in this weekend’s edition of The Tribune.