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The following eAbstracts presentations are available:

Date Updated: 29-Mar-2013

INDH 3333 - Environmental Safety & Health

  1. Pollution Prevention (P2)
    by Priscilla Mata

    Pollution prevention is approached, according to current guidelines set by EPA, in hopes of preventing pollution before it becomes an issue. Essentially, EPA suggests creating alternative methods that are easier to maintain and prevent waste at the source rather than after distribution. Such methods are broad and costly but include the production of less toxic raw materials, improvements in work places, worker training, and better inventory control. While I would like to highlight the key components and issues of the mentioned methods, I would like to focus my project on the production and use of less toxic raw materials. I would like to determine the benefits for the environment and businesses with the implementation of pollution prevention. Although I do not have my own recommendations for pollution prevention at this point of my research, I hope to find other approaches or detailed plans to include in my project.

  2. Waste Reduction
    by Cristian Trejo, Tawonda Nelson, and Michelle Lambeth

    Pollution is a contagion of Earth environment with materials that get in the way with human health, the quality of life, or the natural functions of bionetwork living organisms and their physical surroundings. Even though some ecological pollution is an outcome of normal reasons such as volcanic eruptions, the majority is caused by human actions. Pollution is the key dilemma internationally and it becomes greater as the human populace persist to climb exponentially. One of the key problems with increased population is higher waste production, which generate increased air, soil, and water pollution. To solve this trouble waste reduction has to be of primary significance in stop and reducing pollution. Waste management can be a costly task if not ran properly so sustainable practices must be addressed. As pollution prevention and reduction programs can be pricey, waste reduction is necessary for the reduction and prevention of pollution. Recycling, water preservation, municipal solid waste management, and population stability are the essentials to a cleaner tomorrow.

  3. Carbon Footprint
    by Emily Hubbart and Sandra Ramos

    A foot print is a mark or trail of where someone has been, such as footprints left on the sand on a beach, or footprints found of dinosaurs from millions of years ago. With the recent development of "green" stigmas, the definition of a footprint is grouped together with gas emissions, whether it is on a personal level or international corporation the "carbon foot printing," mantra is now recognized throughout the world. The purpose of this investigation is to find out what the true meaning of "carbon foot printing" is and if the current calculations are relevant to the actual output of carbon. Through research and calculations we hope to find out if carbon foot printing is something of a taboo or if it hold environmental merit across the world.

  4. Environmental Waste Water Management
    by Denisse Muñiz

    There is an alarming rate of deaths linked to the absence of good water quality and waste water treatments in many areas of the world. As advanced as we have become in environmental issues over the past decades, hygienic enhancements have not kept up with the growing world population. As of today, more than 3 million people die every year due to waterborne diseases such as cholera. Approximately 1 in 9 people in the world lack a good water quality source and have to go without sewage systems. In countries such as Africa, women struggle every day as they have to travel long distances to obtain fresh drinking water due to dated or uncompleted local waste water systems available to them and their families. Although so many are without clean water many people still are unaware of how serious the problem is and continue the habits they have accustomed to all their lives. For example, contaminating the water by throwing plastics and other wastes into the water. As the population continues to grow, freshwater will likely be more difficult to obtain. In order to reduce this alarming trend, improvements need to take place. Based on the research collected on water waste systems, improvements can be made by: Awareness. Getting more people involved in this process will allow greater contributions in the initiation to improve the availability of clean water to the globally. Planning. Creating a cost-effective plan to create new and repair old sewage and water systems in order to preserve the quality of water supplies. Modification of human behavior. Establishing a more sanitary culture overall in order to reduce human pollution in water. Once these improvements have been made not only will the quality of water supply available to the population increase but also the world’s productivity. Proper water systems will lead to less waterborne related deaths and sickness which would reduce medical costs and increase worker productivity which would lead to healthier thriving communities.

  5. Ozone Depletion Crisis
    by Jayme Quick

    This paper will discuss the history of ozone depletion. It will also focus on the l970 to present-day progression of this depletion. The paper will be all tied together when we finish on the topic of ways to reduce future depletion of the ozone. History What are CFC N20 and carcinogens? The l970’s The l980’s The present The future

  6. The Effects of Rapid Climate Change on Biodiversity
    by Erin Morehead Hance and Krista Vickery

    The link between rapid climate change, biodiversity loss, and the potential affects on the human population have been studied extensively. There have been very strong links established. Rapid climate change affects ecosystems and species ability to adapt. This results in biodiversity loss. Humans will be affected through changes in the food chain, water supply, and availability of medicinal plants and other resources. There will also be increasing temperatures, more severe droughts, rising sea levels, and regional flooding. A combination of case studies and peer reviewed literature and research papers will be used to show that continuing rapid climate change will prove to be disastrous to natural communities, and will lead to the extinction of populations and species, all of which will have serious issues for humanity. In order to reduce the negative impact of climate change there needs to be efforts on conserving, restoring, and managing natural ecosystems.

  7. Paper Superfund Site Contamination
    by Charles Varghese and Michael Castaneda

    Along IH 10, within the San Jacinto River, there was a major leak of paper by-products from a waste pit. The main hazardous material present at the site is polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans. The amount of dioxin concentration was up to 360,000 parts per trillion organic carbon normalized found within the waste pit. What is troublesome is that it lies within a watershed commonly known as the Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay. There are both active and inactive industries all along this area. This has caused quite an alarm amongst the community. The EPA placed this site in Harris County on the National Priorities List, making it eligible for Superfund cleanup in 2007. This site was once used to dispose of paper-mill by products. Considering its location near the San Jacinto River, when the site was abandoned, portions of the former waste pits eroded. This allowed dioxins to be washed down the river. These chemicals are very toxic to blue crabs and as a result are very harmful for people trying to eat fish, shrimp, and crab caught near this area. The focus of the project will be to analyze the methods used to discover the contamination, the process taken to start the cleanup process, and the long-term consequences of this action.

  8. Mercury & Emergency Responders
    by Marco Guillen

    First responders are now expected to respond to situations where a hazardous chemical may be involved. One chemical that is common but often thought of as not very harmful is mercury. I intend to do a project on the hazardous of mercury as well as what process a fire department should follow when responding to this type of call. It will include what type of detection equipment to use, proper PPE, and a recommended policy for fire departments.

  9. Non-Point Source Pollution in Galveston Bay
    by Heather Rittenbery

    Non-point source water pollution is a very serious environmental problem. Non-point source pollutants are polluting the waters of Galveston Bay. These pollutants come from storm water run-off. Contaminated run-off originates from businesses, farms, factories, and even your own backyard. As population and industry grow in Galveston Bay, non-point source pollution becomes and exponential problem. Non-point pollution in Galveston Bay has caused absence of dissolved oxygen, which adversely affects marine life, contaminated water and sediment, and damage to shellfish harvesting. Most people are unaware how their activities in day-to-day life impact the Bay. Public education about this problem with solutions for everyday people could make a positive impact on the health of Galveston Bay.

  10. Pollution Prevention
    by Tony Ukasanya

    This is a project work on pollution prevention, highlighting ways and means pollution can be prevented, focusing on rules that have been certified by the Environmental Protection Agency. This abstract is based on a report by the National Association of Physicians for the Environment Committee on the Development of Pollution Prevention and Energy efficiency Clearinghouse for Biomedical Research Facilities from the leadership conference on biomedical research held at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, on November 1-2, 1999, with a major goal of establishing a World Wide Web-based clearinghouse, which would lend tremendous resources to the biomedical research community by providing access to a database of peer-reviewed articles and references dealing with a host of aspects of biomedical research relating to energy efficiency, pollution prevention and waste reduction. With the assistance of the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, Regions III and IV, a temporary website has been established with a pilot site providing access to the EPA’s existing database on these topics.

  11. Effects of Second Hand Smoke
    by Kyle May

    Despite many studies and research, many Americans fail to recognize the effects second hand smoke has on others. My son suffers from severe allergies which are compounded by his mother being a smoker. There is also a cost associated with his allergies from doctor appointments, medicines, ER visits and the uneasiness of the situation. In my report, I want to educate the public on what exactly the contact of second hand smoke has on others.

  12. Behavior Observation
    by Steven Carlson

    Behavior based safety programs have become practical methods of creating comfortable face to face beneficial dialogs between individuals to provide injury free environments. This tactic is something to be utilized at home or at work. I will discuss the how-to method, identify hurtles as well the benefits. To complete the program, I’ll even mention what to do with all of the data collected.

  13. Wetland Restoration
    by Sarah Elam

    Environmental restoration is an important aspect in making sure that we don't lose important ecosystems. One of the areas threatened by industrialization, storms, and human interference is the wetlands. Wetland restoration is important in keeping the wetlands livable for all the creatures that call it home.

INDH 3430 - Techniques of Safety Engineering & Analysis

  1. Confined Space Safety
    by Sandra Ramos, Dustin Triplett, and Jeff Wyatt

    Confined spaces can be found anywhere in the world. From manholes and mines, to coves and water wells, confined spaces have been existence for centuries. With the growth of industrial advances and economical security found in numerous occupations, the utilization of confined spaces is evidently on the rise. According to OSHA, in 2010 there were 63 worker fatalities and 28 hospitalizations associated with confined spaces. Accident statistics suggest that about 60% of deaths in confined spaces resulted from oxygen deficiency and lacking air quality testing. Our group would like to evaluate the new technological advances and regulatory compliances, along with current policies and procedures used to make confined spaces safer. We would also like to provide information regarding the new technological equipment available for use.

  2. Siemens Automated Robots
    by Francisco Lopez, Aranza Contreras, Shalyn Stickler, and Megan Ash

    Siemens is a safety corporation that ensures the safety of the productivity as a basic requirement for factory automation. Chrysler and Jeep are some of the different industries that use this technology for the safety well being of the workers in manufacturing facilities. For our proposal we want to introduce and expand our knowledge on the safety engineering of these machines. We will develop on the safety concerns, issues, and injuries that result from the interaction with such machinery, and research the safety improvements developed to increase productivity and decrease injuries. Technology and safety are merging and expanding on productive and efficient ways to provide a better working environment. We will examine the impact of how this new technology can be reliable, cost effective, sturdy and durable, and doesn’t create new hazards in the industry.

  3. Fall Protection - Dynamics of Pendulum Swings
    by Michael Castaneda, Jennifer Flores, and Samantha Reynolds

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011 there were a total of 666 reported fatal falls, slips and trips, a 14% total of all work related fatality injuries in the United States. This project will discuss how pendulum swings or industry falls are a relevant hazard to the industry workers. It will also elaborate on how these hazards are created by the workers through incorrectly using fall protection equipment. Furthermore, numerous case studies will be used to enhance the reader’s knowledge of possible injuries or fatalities if they are subject to a pendulum swing or industrial fall. Another concept that will be discussed in this project will be the mechanics of how the mass, angulation, length, and placement of the lanyard can affect the force applied to the worker when a fall occurs.

  4. Safety Snowalker
    by Brenda Barrera, Esmeralda Romero, and Andrea Gonzalez

    Our report is over an invention called the Snowalker. Every day during winter season and cold climate area people depend highly on the city snow plow system. In many high elevation or heavy snow accumulating areas, companies with snow removal equipment offer to provide services to remove the snow. The problem is that many of the smaller snow plows put workers lives at risk even injury from a quarter-inch irregularity in concrete. An estimated 72,000 emergency-room visits each year are attributed to snow-removal injuries "Many times the driver will be thrown into something when the snow blower hits an obstacle," said Van Anken, 26. No more. Thanks to Minnesota inventor Grant Hanson of Glenwood, commercial snow blowers can now glide over obstacles such as raised sidewalk sections or manhole covers and keep going. That should protect drivers, reduce damage to equipment and, get sidewalks cleared a little faster. The new mechanical technology is called the Snowalker. The device consists of a mechanical connection that sits between a city vehicle and its snow blower. When the snow blower hits an obstacle, the Snowalker redirects the force of the collision to lift the snow blower over the obstacle and give it a push forward, all so quickly that an observer can barely see what happened. Some city workers say the Snowalker may have changed city snow removal forever.

  5. SawStop: A Look into Table Saws and their Safety Mechanisms
    by Charles Varghese, Emily Hubbart, and Arietza Cuntreras

    The table saw, an iconic tool to every craftsman and integral to many workshops around the globe. Throughout the years, many safety mechanisms have been tried and tested in order to protect workers from injuring themselves while using the table saw. One of the most recent safety mechanisms built for table saws, called SawStop, has the ability to detect a human’s flesh and stop the table saw blade before it can cause injury to the operator. As great as this safety mechanism is at stopping injury, it will not prevent 100% of injuries from occurring. Our group’s goal is to analyze the innate hazards with using a table saw, what safety mechanisms have been used in the past, the effectiveness of the SawStop, and how the SawStop compares to previous safety mechanisms. By comparing the effectiveness of previous safety mechanisms for table saws to the SawStop, our group hopes to learn the reasoning behind their design, and hopefully better understand the process of using a table saw safely.

INDH 5131 - Controls of Occupational Hazards

  1. Indoor Air Quality Control in Educational Settings
    by Severin Zindler, Sam Carroll, and Perry Wong

    We would like to present our term project on the topic of indoor air quality, especially as it relates to educational settings. We would like to focus on the different contaminants and how they can enter the indoor air system and explore in detail the testing methods used by industrial hygienist. As a third point we would like to focus on preventative measures that can be taken to make the indoor environment in educational settings as safe as possible.

  2. Respiratory Control Techniques and Strategies in a Research Environment
    by Christopher Beckermann, Brian Drummond, and Lauren Cooper

    A review of the engineering, administrative, and personal protective equipment controls used to protect the respiratory system of employees in a research environment is provided. Data for control measures is given and discussed in detail with a focus on why the control is appropriate to the situation at hand.

  3. The Evaluation and Design of Noise Engineering Controls
    by Joseph H. Liserio, CIH, CSP

    The presentation and report discusses the techniques and strategies used for the proper selection and implementation of noise engineering controls for the reduction of employee noise exposures in industrial settings. Included in the report/presentation is a discussion on how to properly conduct a noise analysis and evaluation in order to gather the necessary information required for the proper selection and design of noise engineering controls. The report/presentation includes a discussion on how to properly design and implement commonly used noise engineering controls such as the following: noise enclosures and barriers, acoustical absorption materials, damping materials, modifications of fluid flow to reduce noise generation, mufflers/silencers, and vibration isolators. Examples of successful implementation of these various types of noise engineering controls in industrial settings are included to exemplify the application of these controls to noise sources in various types of industries. The purpose of this report is to provide information on engineering controls that have proven to be cost effective and feasible for the reduction of employee noise exposures below the compliance standards of 90 dBA for an 8-hr Time-weighted Average (TWA).

  4. Shift Work and Circadian Rhythms
    by Kassie Ragan, Roberto Fuentes, Lindsey Price, and Mahreen Ayaz

    For the group project, we would like to research the body’s normal circadian rhythms and the effects shift work has on the body. We will discuss the various problems of rotating shifts and explain the many biological and social problems associated with shift work. We will include individual strategies that may help decrease the effects of circadian disruptions.

  5. Occupational Contact Dermatitis Factors and Controls
    by Elysse Greenberg

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics determined that occupational skin diseases represent roughly 50 percent of job-related illnesses, highly exceeding work-related respiratory illnesses. Dermal occupational diseases result in 25 percent of lost workdays. Occupations at risk from skin disease range from construction and agriculture to food service and health care industries. Occupational skin diseases and disorders (OSD) manifest in many forms such as skin injuries, infections, irritant contact dermatitis, allergic contract dermatitis and skin cancers. This report will address both physical and chemical irritant exposures that result in contact dermatitis, with focus on specific solvents and chemicals commonly used in industry. Irritant and allergic contact dermatitis accounts for 90 percent of occupational skin diseases and disorders, and treatment and lost time is estimated to result in an annual $1 billion footprint. Assessment of controls used to prevent or mitigate these hazardous exposures will be addressed, including OSHA standards and NIOSH recommendations for OSDs and protective measures for specific exposures. Finally, medical diagnoses, latency periods, treatment methods and associated costs will be reviewed.

  6. Evaluation of Cleaning Chemicals Used by UHCL’s Janitor Staff
    by Agboola Olubukola, Hanaa Wassef, Praveena Damera, Stephen Jones, and Roland McFarlane

    Janitors are exposed to many hazards related to cleaning the facilities that we use on a day to day basis. These hazards range from exposure to cleaning chemicals, confined spaces and even blood borne pathogens. This project will seek to analyze the current controls in place for the janitor staff at UHCL and suggest practical alternatives. This will be accomplished by researching the chemicals on MSDS sheets, speaking to the chemical manufacturer, evaluating current PPE in place, reviewing current employee training practices, evaluating labeling and storage of chemicals, researching the chemical mixing machine, analyzing ventilation in the cleaning areas, consulting regulatory agencies, and reviewing articles.

  7. Hazards, Standards, and Control Measures of Lasers
    by G. Benjamin Cieslinski, Tristan White, and Daniel Irwin

    Since their development in the 1950s, lasers have become a ubiquitous instrument used daily in heavy industry, scientific research, and modern home conveniences. The image made famous through science fiction of the laser as a dangerous disintegration ray has faded due to its common, almost benign, everyday usage. But the laser is still a potential source of serious and debilitating injuries. Before developing safety controls, the basic characteristics and classifications, the safety hazards and risks, and the safety standards must be thoroughly understood and studied. After evaluating these topics, engineering, administrative, and personal protective equipment control measures can be implemented to minimize the potential risk of exposure to both laser energy and non-beam hazards. This project will discuss what a laser is, the hazards associated with lasers, and the safety standards and controls that are used today to make lasers safe to live and work with.

  8. Occupational Health Exposure Control in an Offshore Jack-up Oil Rig
    by Najmeh Vaez, Maria Ricardo, Ana Ramirez, and Kathy Wang

    Offshore drilling operation has been known as one of the most hazardous occupations due to its remote and harsh nature of working environment. Hence, drilling rig crew are continuously exposed to a wide variety of health hazards. Taking this into consideration, the purpose of this project is to identify health hazards, evaluate their impact to health and determine appropriate control and recovery measures. In this research, we will focus on a typical jack-up oil rig- the self-elevated type of rigs- and its sources of chemical, physical, biological, psychological and ergonomic hazards. Then, we will explore the potential chronic and acute health effects in regards to each hazard. Finally, we will introduce different engineering, administrative and/or PPE control measures to prevent from the exposure or mitigate the consequences of the hazards on the personnel.

  9. Respiratory Control Techniques and Strategies in a Hospital Environment
    by Christopher Beckermann, Brian Drummond, and Lauren Cooper

    A review of the engineering, administrative, and personal protective equipment controls used to protect the respiratory system of employees in a hospital environment is provided. Data for control measures is given and discussed in detail with a focus on why the control is appropriate to the situation at hand.

INDH 5336 - Safety, Health, & Environmental Issues

  1. Hazards and Control Measures of Ground Level Ozone
    by Brian Drummond, Daniel Irwin, and Liliya Quebedeaux

    Ground Level Ozone is a highly reactive gas that forms in the atmosphere when three oxygen atoms combine through chemical reactions. A common misconception of ozone emissions is that they are not emitted directly into the air but at ground level. Ozone is created through chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds in the presence of sunlight. Ground Level Ozone is typically found in urban areas where there is a surplus of cars and industry. With the rise of the petrochemical industry in Houston, Texas, its air quality was ranked the fourth worst in ozone in 2008. After evaluating this topic, engineering, administrative, and personal protective equipment control measures can be implemented to minimize the potential risk of exposure to Ground Level Ozone. This project will discuss what Ground Level Ozone is, the hazards associated with “GLO”, and the safety standards and controls that are used today to make Houston, Texas a safer and less GLO polluted city.

  2. Global Warming and Environmental Degradation
    by Kassie Ragan and Lindsey Price

    For the term project, we would like to research the possible causes of global warming and discuss some of the potential consequences it has on the environment. We plan to discuss the deterioration of the environment through climate change and how this issue has led to the destruction of various ecosystems and loss of biodiversity.

  3. The Reality of Global Warming
    by Nicholas Thompson

    Over the last few years we have seen a dramatic increase in temperatures around the globe. The common explanation given by the media and the government is that this is a result of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels. What this research intends to show is that this is a misconception formed on the basis of bad science. The following presentation will address these common held beliefs and expose them for what they really are.. Myths. To accomplish this task it is necessary to address the known facts about the global temperature shift. The misrepresentation of these facts is one of two components that come together to make this bad science. The second component is the exclusion of other data, such as historical and astronomical, that if included in the development of this theory would have made it invalid.

ENSC 6838 - Research Project & Seminar

  1. Hazardous Waste Assessment Across Education City
    by Tristan White

    Developing countries are currently facing many issues with regards to waste handling, especially hazardous wastes generated by industry and academic institutions. The Middle East’s rapid growth is fueled by the oil and gas industry. Large amounts of wealth are creating many research opportunities, which leads to hazardous waste production. Education City in Doha, Qatar, hosts several institutions that have experienced huge growth in their research activities, particularly in the last five years. The different types and amounts of waste were recorded. The data were examined and correlated with institution size and the number of Qatar National Research Fund awards to determine predictions for future waste growth. One institution correlated positively to both student enrollment and the number of awards with student enrolment being the best predictive model. Analysis of the individual waste streams found that only one waste stream was correlated with student enrolment. Four waste streams were analyzed to determine if there were waste reduction methods that could be applied to reduce the amount of waste. One waste stream was found to be mostly water and therefore able to be reduced by evaporation techniques. This single waste stream accounts for nearly 10% of all the waste disposed of over the last three years.

  2. Particulate Exposure Assessment of Metal-Casting Operations
    by G. Benjamin Cieslinski

    University teaching foundries are routinely overlooked regarding occupational exposure to airborne particulates due to their small scale and infrequent operating schedule. The preparation, casting, and finishing of aluminum pieces during foundry operations in an enclosed space can potentially expose workers to toxic particulates. Respirable silica created during high heat operations and physical grinding can cause silicosis and respiratory disease with chronic exposure. Metal fumes, including aluminum, is known to cause neurotic disorders and cancer with repeated exposures. To determine if students and staff are being exposed to hazardous levels of airborne particulates, a sampling strategy for crystalline silica and aluminum fumes was created. Multiple air samples were drawn through capture filters to measure the particulate concentrations during the casting process during an 8-hour work day over four days. The concentrations found were compared to OSHA PELs, NIOSH RELs, and ACGIH TLVs. Engineering controls and personal protective equipment were recommended to minimize the risk of acute exposure to hazardous particulates created during the small-scale foundry operations.

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