Campus Health and Safety
Important Reminders About Campus Health and Safety Issues
December 2011
Important Reminders About Campus Health and Safety Issues

To maintain a healthy and safe UST, we need every member of our campus community to learn about and to adhere to university health and safety requirements. 

Laboratory Safety
Many hazardous agents and equipment are used in our teaching and research activities.  Students and staff must go through a start-work safety clearance initiated by their supervisors prior to engaging in potentially dangerous work.  Safety orientation activities include getting to know safety features and procedures of the laboratory one works in, completing all necessary safety courses, attending medical surveillance as necessary, etc.

Periodically, HSEO conduct exposure monitoring to ensure all potentially hazardous exposure to various physical, chemical and biological agents are within allowable safety limits.  New work protocol and research grant applications must go through risk assessment to ensure the proposed work plans will have sufficient safety measures to protect personnel and environmental health and safety.  All waste materials must be managed and disposed of according to established protocols.

Prior to finishing work or studies, staff and students must complete an end-of-work safety clearance to ensure all hazardous materials and potentially dangerous experimental setup are properly disposed or taken care of.  Departmental Safety Officers organize safety self inspections as well as joint department-HSEO inspections to ensure continued compliance with established rules and requirements.  Personnel are called to meet with our occupational health physician to ensure continued physical wellness.  All new lab facilities are planned with safety input to ensure all necessary safety features and requirements are incorporated in the design, and will be proven to work properly prior to operation.

The laws of Hong Kong prohibit smoking on all university campuses. Smokers must go outside of the campus perimeter to smoke. The vast majority of staff and students do comply with this requirement. Nevertheless, repeated offences have been observed. Many of these cases involved students coming from places outside of HK, visitors and contractors, probably because they are not familiar with the legal requirement. In this connection, all parties involved in recruitment and management of out-of-area students, colleagues who invite visitors, and offices which engage contractors, are reminded to help make known to concerned parties the university’s no smoking requirement. All members of our campus community have the right to help remind offenders, and if unsuccessful, inform Security or the police for assistance.

Traffic Safety
With lots of construction activities on campus, traffic diversions and temporary traffic signs and lights as well as other safety measures are set up to ensure safety while allowing the work to proceed. All drivers must follow traffic signs and lights to avoid accidents. Keeping with speed limits is another important safety measure, particularly when there are new road diversions.
It has been noticed in the past few years that more and more pedestrians are using various audio or audiovisual devices (and thus diverting their attention from road safety) while crossing roads or walking alongside road traffic. Needless to say, these are very dangerous situations which can lead to disastrous consequences. All pedestrians are reminded to refrain from using such devices while on the streets, on campus or otherwise. They should also always stay on the sidewalk, instead of walking on the motorway.

Behavioral Issues
Unsafe behaviors, many of which involving students, are causes for concern.  These include acts during orientation such as crowding in lifts, damaging lights and loitering in dark staircases, swimming in the dark in the bay, climbing onto high platforms without safety measures, getting drunk and throwing fellow students into the fish pond, jumping from one floor to another to gain unauthorized entry, throwing objects from height, accessing dangerous elevated structures, etc.  Very often, there is only a very fine line between “fun” and “disaster”.  If such behaviors continue, one day mocking laughter may turn into cries of agony… Organizers of campus events must carefully consider relevant safety issues during planning and execution of potentially dangerous activities, and every member of the campus community is reminded to look after safety of oneself and others when engaging in campus activities.

Other Health and Safety Management Effort
Besides the above-mentioned issues, many colleagues in FMO, SAO, CSO and HSEO work together to help provide a healthy and safe work and study environment for the HKUST community.  Our catering operators follow good food safety and sanitation practices, pest management follows environmental safety requirements, our potable water and swimming pool water are maintained in accordance with public health standards, the indoor air quality inside our buildings meets good quality standards, all waste materials are managed with good safety and health standards.

Health and Safety is Everybody's Matter
It takes the effort of every member of our university community to help maintain a healthy and safe campus.  Whether it is travelling on campus, working in offices or labs, dining in catering facilities, living in dorms and quarters, enjoying recreational facilities or conducting activities on campus, there are safety matters we need to know and measures to adhere to.  Let’s all do our parts and look forward to a healthy and safe 2012!