Brief Safety Briefs


Did you know that statically, the best way to put out a fire is with sprinklers? During our fire in ECIII, a single sprinkler head was activated. It did its job in putting out the fire, but it caused extensive damage to the building from running water at floor level.  This water was likely about 2 inches deep in some places and less in others . Much damage to office items (e.g. books, boxes of papers etc.) and equipment could have been prevented if those things had not been placed directly on the floor.  Consider placing any items currently on the floor, on blocks or shelves to protect from any future incidents. For more information about fire safety and prevention, please contact Juanita Miller, COE Safety and/or the NMSU Fire Department.



Did you know that extension cords and cables which run across walkways must be securely taped down? These present a tripping hazard and must be secured so people do not get their feet caught and fall. And falls are the largest cause of injuries in the workplace and home. Be sure to use tape materials that are durable such as gaffers or duct/grey tape and can stand up to traffic. You will need to inspect the taped cords/cables regularly for damage and wear. You can also purchase cord covers for short temporary runs in high traffic zones and these must also remain secure also. Please contact Juanita Miller, COE Safety, for an evaluation of your area and/or additional information.


Did you know that the use of a respirator requires special training and fit testing? And equipment that are “classified” as respirators are readily available in most hardware stores. These are the masks with cartridges, or paper masks with plastic buttons, that are marked N95. All of these are classified by OSHA as respirators. The only type of dust protection that can be used, without special training, is a nuisance dust mask which are simple paper masks usually white or blue. If you have a situation that requires dust control, please contact Juanita Miller, COE Safety, to evaluate your situation and determine what type of dust control is right for you.


Did you know that a fire can double in size as fast as every 30 seconds and that most people die of smoke inhalation rather than burns? Smoke from fire is usually very toxic and dense, which makes breathing difficult. Make sure you look for exits from offices, classrooms, auditoriums, etc.  If you hear a fire alarm, do not assume it is false. Proceed quickly to the nearest exit and leave the building. If an exit appears blocked with smoke, use an alternate exit path. If you have questions or would like a presentation on Fire Safety, please contact Juanita Miller, COE Safety.


Welcome to “Brief Safety Briefs” where you will receive a short safety message each week about things that effect you, your students and labs. This week’s message involves Mercury Containing Equipment.

Did you know that mercury is poisonous and it vaporizes when released? If you have any thermometers, hydrometers, barometers, switches etc. that contain mercury, they are a serious hazard and need to be removed from your area. As an example, a very small broken thermometer recently resulted a Civil Engineering lab being closed for an entire day while the spill was cleaned up and environmental testing completed. If you have any of this equipment, please contact Juanita Miller, COE Safety, to assist with its disposal.



Have you noticed that Google Translate has problems with technical terminology? The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is developing a web platform to provide better translations, at least for NFPA’s technical documents. This could have benefits for the entire engineering community.

NFPA is currently looking for volunteers, especially those proficient in languages other than English, to be become testers of the developing technology. Those interested in participating should contact Joe Gochal at jgochal at nfpa dot org



This is an archive of brief safety topics sent to faculty and staff at NMSU during the semester. The goal is to send out a new, and exciting, topic once per week. If you would like to learn more about any of these subjects, contact Juanita Miller, COE Safety.

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