Community College of Rhode Island

Environmental/Safety Committee Meeting Minutes

March 29, 2005


TO:                  Bill Mercer, Bruno Kurowski, Kathy Twining, Manny Terezakis,

Edna O’Neill Mattson, Barbara Legg, George Sousa, Jim Ellis, Janet Anderson, Richard Robinson, Joanne Jacobs, Dennis Melander, Tracy Karasinski, Bill Ferland, Dan Farrell, Jean Billerbeck

FROM:            Stephen F. Marginson, Dean of Administration

RE:                  Environmental/Safety Committee Meeting Minutes

DATE:             April 20, 2005  


Meeting called to order at 10:00 a.m. on March 29, 2005 at the Flanagan Campus

Attendees:  Stephen Marginson (KC), Manny Terezakis (FC), Joanne Jacobs (FC), Mary Pecchia (FC), Bill Mercer (KC), Dennis Melander (KC), Bruno Kurowski (FC), Jim Ellis (KC), Kathy Twining (KC), Lou Rainone (KC), Dick Robinson (FC), George Sousa (FC), Bill Ferland (KC), Eylana Goffe (LC), Peter Woodberry (KC), Denise Yordy (KC), Edna O’Neill Mattson (KC)

PLEASE NOTE:  Bulleted comments require action.  Please be prepared to update the committee at the next meeting or by date listed where applicable.  Thanks.


Steve opened the meeting by noting that there were a few guests present at the meeting.  The first item on the agenda was to discuss the bulleted items from the minutes of the November 30, 2004 meeting.  Steve discussed the bulleted items from those minutes which required attention by various members of this committee: 


  • George Sousa said that the contract for Honeywell is due July 1, 2005.  At that time, the dial-up phone which should ring between the Operations Department and the Security Department in the case of a fire at the field house at the Flanagan Campus will be discussed. 

  • Jim Ellis spoke about CPR courses to be available through his department when the new budget is in place.  Steve asked Jim to check the dates that the CPR courses can be offered as well as how many people will be able to attend each course and report back to the committee. 


The next agenda item was discussed.  The fire at the Knight Campus has been determined to have been deliberately set.  The fire was confined to the storage of the Student Government area on the second floor.  Steve explained to the committee that the rumors of this fire traveling through the electrical or ventilation systems of this building were untrue.  There are a few suspicious individuals who are being questioned.


Kathy Twining asked about the second fire alarm that was sounded that same week.  Steve said that someone had held a lighter under the smoke alarm in the men’s room near the daycare which melted the alarm box and created smoke in the area.  The rumor of a gunman near the computer lab that day, however, is false.  An investigation of whether these incidents and rumors may be started by the same group of individuals is being conducted.


Peter Woodberry, Dean of Business Science and Technology was introduced as a guest to the committee with a question about the fumes from the formaldehyde exposure from the cats being used in the Biology Labs at the Knight Campus.  Manny Terezakis addressed the question by mentioning that Donald Fontes had an individual complaint of a strong odor in the area.  Though the cats used by the Human Anatomy classes now are prepared with a much lower grade of formaldehyde, the odor in question may have come from an individual cat which may have been decaying.  Upon notification of the odor in the lab Manny checked the lab for the levels of airborne formaldehyde which fell well below OSHA and federal safety standards.   


Denise Yordy, Chair of the Biology Department explained that her department purchased badges which when they are worn show levels of airborne formaldehyde in the course of a work day.  Kerry Murphy, the Biology Lab Tech wore a badge as did Patricia Wilhelm for a day and the levels were below OSHA’s acceptable levels.  Denise said that there will always be an odor in that corridor near the labs, but that just because it smells bad does not mean it is toxic. 


Assistant Professor, Eylana Goffe who was also a guest of this committee said there are very few complaints in the area since they have been using the lower grade formaldehyde soaked cats.  Eylana works at the Liston Campus and has worn a badge for several hours with a low level change recorded as well. 


Denise let the committee know that the badges are available through her department to anyone who may want to wear one to test for themselves.

  • Peter Woodberry suggested that these minutes be sent to Denise that she may forward to any faculty members may have a concern.  Mary will do so. 


Lou Rainone brought notes from an email that Jodie Bluto sent to him for use at this meeting.  The email had to do with the ventilation through the Chemistry and Biology Laboratory prep rooms.  Jodie is in Room 3052 near the prep rooms and says that the fumes from ether, etc. come through the vents into the office. 

  • Lou will have Jodie talk to Manny regarding this concern and Manny will check out the ventilation/fumes.


On that note, Steve handed out a memo dated March 15, 2005 that was sent to the Physical Plant, Safety and Security Departments which was meant to inform all of those departments that Dr. Terezakis is the institution Chemical Safety Officer and should be called whenever a situation develops that could effect environmental safety. 


The next agenda item discussed was the Assessment report for Flanagan Campus Day Care doors and tile.  Manny explained that in December, 2004 the RIAL identified two types of potentially suspect materials but no action is required unless CCRI decides to change or renovate any of those areas. 


Steve reiterated the fact that every single person in each Physical Plant Department must be instructed that neither, the doors, floors, ceilings, etc. are to be drilled in or around the daycares.

  • Manny should put the above in memo form to the Physical Plant and Security Departments as well as to Union Officials.


Manny mentioned that the daycares at the Knight Campus as well as the Liston Campus are said to be asbestos-free since they are new additions to the building. 


Steve opened the discussion of the next agenda item of Asbestos Exposure from Doors and Manny updated the committee.  The latest round of testing done at the Knight Campus showed no air-born asbestos in the doors that had been stored.  At the Flanagan Campus the doors being stored and removed showed levels that were below the acceptable limits of asbestos in the air.  Manny said that as long as we have the older doors we’ll have issues and concerns and that we should be considering a gradual replacement of the doors as soon as possible. 


  • Also, the idea was mentioned that maybe training one or two people in the Physical Plant Departments to be the point person to be designated to do any work/removal of these doors.


  • Steve said that Lifelong Learning will be offering a course in Asbestos Awareness which will be offered for this purpose ASAP.  Manny will coordinate.


Manny discussed a bit about the air flow in certain areas of the Knight and Flanagan Campus.  Specific areas such as Enrollment Services Dept. and specific classrooms at the Flanagan Campus and the Biology Labs at the Knight Campus were checked to see whether sufficient air floor is achieved in those areas.  Air flow which is measured in CFM’s (cubic feet per minute) was determined to be sufficient in all areas and where it needed to be increased it was.  And, in all cases the actual measured air flow exceeded the design airflow. 


Joanne Jacobs mentioned a memo that Doris Fournier sent to Steve regarding an apparent allergic reaction at the Flanagan Campus.  Doris claimed that since March 10, 2005 she had four separate occasions that she entered the building feeling fine and within two hours encountered allergy-like symptoms in her sinuses/eyes.   


Steve let Joanne know that he responded to Doris’ letter that there has been nothing new used in the way of spraying, cleaning products, etc. that he could offer as a reason for her reaction and that he had attached an article he saw in the newspaper explaining how this season there is a high incidence of mold in the air itself that may be the culprit. 

Manny asked to go on record as being against any spraying in any building.  Steve said every other means of extermination is to be used in lieu of spraying. 


Edna Mattson asked how the mouse problem was going at Liston.  Steve said it has diminished dramatically.  Bill Mercer said pest control is at the campus weekly.  


Bruno Kurowski asked about the storm drain which has been washed out on the North side of the Flanagan Campus

  • George has a requisition in the system to repair it.


Bruno also asked whether those people working in the ceiling throughout the building could be sure that the ceiling tiles be replaced by the end of the day.


  • George will be sure that they are. 


This meeting was adjourned at 10:55a.m.

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