The Museum of Southwestern Biology is a research and teaching
facility in the Department of Biology, housing historically important
collections of vertebrates, arthropods, and plants from the American
Southwest, Central and South America, and from throughout the world.
The Museum serves the scientific community and the public at large
through its research and teaching efforts and maintenance of collections
in conditions that promote long-term conservation. Maintaining high
standards of operation is both the responsibility of the individual
divisions and the museum as a whole.
This Museum Policy applies to all Museum staff, students, administrators,
associate researchers, visiting researchers, and the public. The
Policy will be amended and updated as needed; an ad hoc committee
will be selected to make recommendations and to write a draft for
Museum personnel review and comment. The Director, in conjunction
with the curators, will approve the final draft of any updated Policy.
Objectives of the MSB Policy
The Museum of Southwestern Biology, recognizing its role as a
University facility and a public trust, will strive to maintain
a Policy that reflects current University and State of New Mexico
codes as they pertain to collections. Likewise, the Policy will
reflect the philosophies and principles of current museum practices
as outlined in policy guidelines for the Association of Systematics
Collections, International Council of Museums and the American Association
of Museums. It will be expected that all Museum personnel will be
familiar with this Museum Policy and Code of Ethics.
Table of Contents
Scope of Collections
The Museum of Southwestern Biology (MSB) documents, acts as a
repository for, and interprets biological diversity in order to
increase and disseminate knowledge of our natural environment.
The MSB, a University operated and bound museum, conducts original
research of national and international significance on the systematics,
ecology, and life history of vertebrates, plants, and invertebrates.
The MSB services the national and international scientific community
by providing identifications, information, and research access to
the collections and associated records under its care.
The collections of plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates were
housed in Castetter Hall of the University of New Mexico (UNM) and
originated from the collecting efforts of Edward F. Castetter beginning
in 1928. The Museum moved into the CERIA building in 2001. Formal management and maintenance of collections began
in 1936 when William J. Koster joined the UNM faculty. He instituted
the museum tradition whereby the Museum eventually formed into several
divisions over the next few decades. We now have seven divisions
including Arthropods, Amphibians and Reptiles, Birds, Fishes, Genomic
Resources, Mammals, and the Herbarium.
A recent addition to the MSB is the relocation of the Western
Biological Survey Collections of the Midcontinent Ecological Science
Center of the National Biological Services (NBS). The collection
includes over 40,000 voucher specimens of vertebrates, many of which
are from federal lands in the western United States.
Future Directions and Collections Considerations
The MSB will continue efforts to improve its ability to beter
achieve its mission. Directions for the immediate future include
the improvement of information transfer via electronic enhancements
and increased ability to address scientific questions across a variety
of disciplines. Further integration of research and teaching will
continue, as will outreach to the private sector.
Code of Ethics
The objective of the MSB Code of Ethics is to establish a framework
in which Museum staff perform their duties in accordance with standards
established by the museum and scientific communities. Further, the
MSB recognizes the various codes of ethics established by the International
Council of Museums, Association of Systematics Collections, American
Association of Museums and the University of New Mexico.
The following statements summarize MSB standards for Museum personnel
in behavior and attitude:
To use only the most acceptable preservation, conservation and
management techniques for collections, recognizing that the MSB
has been given stewardship of a natural heritage.
- To accept the responsibility that specimens and their byproducts
that are inherently hazardous, or have been made so through preparation
or fumigation practices, are clearly identified or inaccessible
(in some cases) to researchers and other staff.
- To collect specimens without detriment to their habitat, populations,
or other biota therein.
- To collect specimens only with official permission and permits.
Likewise, to accept only legitimately collected specimens into
- To accept and/or collect specimens that further enhance the
scientific and educational value of the existing collections.
- To neither modify nor conceal specimens and associated documents.
The curator of each collection has the responsibility to withhold
specimens and associated documents in cases where dissemination
of information may jeopardize sensitive or protected species,
or the particular research of students or staff of the Museum
for the duration of their involvement.
- To make MSB collections and their documents available to all
qualified users. Access will be denied to qualified users only
when the user fails to adhere to Museum Policy, misrepresents
their research, or misrepresents the MSB collections.
- To adhere to the University of New Mexico's equal opportunity
guidelines in its employment practices.
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Collections Care and Use Policy
The MSB collections are, first and foremost,
research collections. They are available to legitimate users from
the national and international scientific community. Each division
imposes more specific policies for use of its collections while
at the same time operating under the general scope of the MSB. Specimens
may be used for research, exhibit, and educational purposes. Owing
to their manner of preservation, specimens generally are not suitable
for display in exhibits; nonetheless, scientific specimens are used
in exhibits when appropriate. Similarly, selected examples may be
used in teaching and as models for preparing illustrations for publication.
The governing consideration in any use of Museum specimens is the
conservation of specimens in particular and the collections as a
Access to collections is permitted for research and educational
purposes. Use of the collections is by approval of the divisional
curator or his/her designee, usually the collection manager. Individuals
or representatives of organizations who wish to use the MSB collections
for commercial purposes or who may profit financially from its use
are given access at the discretion of the divisional curator. These
users may be charged a service fee which will be deposited into
a divisional discretionary fund.
The MSB has the right to deny access to individuals or representatives
of organizations who propose to use the collections in ways that
are contrary to the objectives of the Museum. Reasons may include:
excessive costs to the MSB in terms of staff effort and use of facilities,
compromised security of the MSB collections and buildings, unauthorized
consumptive use of specimens, a history of misuse and mishandling
of Museum materials at the MSB or other institutions, misrepresentation
of credentials and affiliations, criminal activity, or disorderly
or disruptive conduct.
Loans constitute the primary method of access for the majority
of collection users. Specimens and other Museum materials (such
as collateral material) may be loaned to researchers at established,
scientifically recognized institutions. Loan requests are made in
writing and should include the nature of the research and must be
approved by the divisional curator. Students may be asked to include
the signature of their supporting faculty member (accepting responsibility)
both for requests of collection information and for loans of specimen
material. Electronic mail requests must be followed by a letter
of request on institutional stationery. Facsimile requests on letterhead
Loans may be denied or limited because of size or number of specimens
or because of the fragility, rarity, or uniqueness of the specimen(s).
Borrowing institutions must meet minimal standards (as defined by
professional organizations) for security, storage environment, and
handling of specimens. Future loans are contingent on previous care
provided to MSB specimens.
The duration of each loan is specified by the division making
the loan, and will not exceed one year. A renewal period may be
negotiated prior to the return date of loaned material.
Loan shipments are made in accordance with the Lacey Act of 1903
and the United States Department of Interior regulations concerning
the, "Import, export, and interstate transportation of wildlife",
All MSB specimens cited in published works must be identified
by their catalog numbers and standard institutional code: MSB (Arthropods,
Fishes, Amphibians and Reptiles, Birds, and Mammals); UNM (Herbarium);
and NK (=New Mexico Kryovoucher, Division of Biological Materials).
The MSB requests two copies of the resulting published work (one
for divisional publication files and one for MSB library) sent to
the Museum division that provided specimens for the cited research.
Loans within the Department of Biology are allowed for research,
teaching, and demonstration purposes with permission of the divisional
curator. However, the borrower (Department of Biology ultimately)
is accountable for such specimens. Any person removing specimens,
Museum materials, or equipment from the building without following
standard loan policy may be denied access to the Museum's collections
in the future. All students, staff, faculty, and visitors are subject
to this Loan Policy.
Visitors to the collection should call or write in advance of
their visit to the MSB by contacting the divisional curator or collection
manager. First-time users of collections are trained in specimen
handling and collection arrangement before access to the collections
is granted. All specimens used for study are reinstalled by MSB
staff. No food or drink is allowed in the collection areas.
Requests for consumptive analyses of Museum specimens will comply
with the following restrictions: consumptive sampling is not allowed
without prior written approval from the curator of the division
where the samples are sought; researchers must refer to divisional
guidelines on how consumptive sampling is to be accomplished and
documented; and residual products resulting from consumptive sampling
(e.g., parasites, DNA strands, gut contents, karyotype test slides)
are to be returned to the MSB with two copies of any written reports
or published results.
Loans of material for exhibits must comply with the MSB Loan Policy
specifically as it relates to long-term storage, security, and environmental
conditions. Before it is displayed, material must be correctly identified
to species (if possible), cataloged, and the MSB must be acknowledged.
MSB specimen tags are to remain on specimens at all times; tags
are never removed from MSB specimens.
Educational tours of the collection may be provided as staff time
Most divisions maintain teaching collections. Representative taxa
in these collections are used on a regular basis by students in
courses or in exhibits and demonstrations. Specimens in teaching
collections are documented (usually with their own, separately maintained
catalog) and stored separately from the main cataloged collections.
Reference collections are a loaned portion of research collections
for periods of time in excess of the normal loan period. For instance,
a reference collection is maintained at the Sevilleta National Wildlife
Refuge, LTER site, near Socorro, New Mexico, for personnel to verify
specimens collected locally. Although this collection is remote
from the main collections, users must comply with the Loan Policy
relative to care and management of the specimens (e.g., proper storage
and handling, adequate security, acceptable environmental conditions,
and commitment to long-term preservation). Reference collections
can be recalled at any time if MSB staff determine proper care and
management are not provided or the collections are no longer needed.
Unprocessed or Uncataloged Research Material
All unpublished products of research activities (for instance,
data sheets, owl pellet remains, electrophoretic gels, field books,
blood samples) may be loaned to another organization or researcher
after a reasonable length of time, with written permission by the
original researcher or her/his designated agent (e.g., major advisor).
Researchers must cite MSB catalog numbers in published reports even
if that material was uncataloged at the time it was loaned to that
Collection care and conservation are the responsibility of staff
members directly involved with specimens: curators, collection managers,
curatorial assistants, and Museum technicians.
Curators are ultimately responsible for the collection, determining
direction of growth, and assisting the Director in securing adequate
funding for normal Museum operations. Collection managers are under
the supervision and guidance of the curator. Collection managers
are responsible for the care, management, and maintenance of the
collection, loan activity, access to specimens and data, and coordinating
the activities of curatorial staff.
Procedures for care and maintenance shall be consistent with current
conservation information and meet professional standards within
the discipline. MSB staff shall be instructed by collection managers
how to recognize potential threats to specimens and to initiate
appropriate conservation techniques. Collection managers shall receive
appropriate training, and attend meetings and workshops as needed
to keep current on matters pertaining to collection care.
Food, drink, and living plants and animals are not allowed in
the collection areas. All collection areas shall be kept pest-free.
An Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan shall be designed and adhered
to in order to monitor pest invasion and to execute localized eradication
efforts. Necessary division-wide fumigation will be implemented
as needed by trained personnel with the consent of the Director.
Each division holding Type or otherwise irreplaceable specimens
recognizes their extreme importance and takes extra precautions
in their use, protection, care, and conservation.
All materials housed or produced by, or donated to the MSB are
property of the Regents of the University of New Mexico. Federal
specimens curated by NBS remain the property of the United States
Government. Use of these materials may be granted to bona fide individuals
and agencies for acceptable purposes as approved by the divisional
curator. Any person or activity that is not consistent with the
philosophy, scope, or spirit of the MSB (and thus violates the Museum's
mandate) may be denied all or part of the holdings and services
of the Museum.
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Accession and Deaccession
Acquisitions of natural history collections are normally derived
from gifts, exchanges, and museum sponsored field activities. These
collections are accessioned if they fulfill the objectives of MSB.
Each division accepts collections acquired legitimately, according
to the laws and regulations of the international, federal, and state
agencies dedicated to the protection of fauna and flora. All appropriate
permits, import, and export documents are retained in each division's
accession files for public inspection.
Each accession file is recorded and organized so that original documentation
(collecting permits, proofs of title, export/import forms, field
notes, correspondence, and invoices) is easily accessible.
Each division has written collection goals and principles. These
guide the division in accessioning collections which augment the
current holdings of the division, assist in current research and
educational requirements, and are within the scope of the MSB.
Dispatching institutions and donors of specimens are acknowledged
in an official and timely manner by MSB staff. Any conditions, terms
of acceptance, or policies to be adhered to by the MSB are noted
in the accession records. Only preconditions or terms that do not
constrain the Museum's full stewardship of the collections are accepted.
Each division assumes full stewardship for collections it accepts.
This includes the principle that minimal standards of care will
be provided for specimens and original documents received.
As part of the accessioning protocol, the MSB expects in most
cases that all available original documentation and field notes
accompany collections received from museum sponsored field activities
and gifts. These data will be held in each division's library and
stored according to recommendations made by professional societies
of librarians and archivists (see Documentation Policy, Section
The monetary value of an accession is not assessed by MSB staff.
Depositors may not request this service of staff nor require MSB
involvement in locating this service as part of the agreed conditions.
The only exception may be for insurance purposes and those evaluations
will be considered confidential information for primary parties
only (i.e., the MSB and the donor.)
Reports of museum acquisitions in the form of gifts (see Appendix
III) will follow current University of New Mexico requirements.
Gifts to the MSB are subject to the Board of Regents approval.
As a steward of natural history collections, the MSB recognizes
its role as a caretaker of the wider scientific community's intellectual
property. However, the permanent removal of cataloged specimens
from the MSB collections may be done for sound scientific and curatorial
reasons. Therefore, the following are acceptable conditions for
formal deaccessioning procedure:
Exchanges: This is an agreement between the MSB and another museum
to transfer specimens of equal scientific value and to mutually
relinquish their respective stewardship over those collections.
Transfers of Collections: This is an agreement between the MSB
and another museum that the MSB will relinquish its ownership of
collections that no longer serve a purpose to the MSB (or require
more accessibility to the wider scientific community). Collections
are transferred only to institutions which can assure the MSB that
minimal standards of care will be provided for those collections.
In these transactions, the MSB does not require specimens in return.
Primary types may be transferred depending on the discipline's attitude
regarding stewardship of these important specimens. (see Lachner
Institutional Sharing: This is a decision made by a MSB division
to share an important series of specimens with another peer institution
or museum with international recognition in order to increase accessibility
to those specimens (e.g., dividing a paratypic series among several
museums or institutions.)
Discarding Specimens: Destruction of cataloged specimens can sometimes
occur by natural disasters, museum pests, and consumptive sampling
procedures. Each curator may decide which (destroyed) specimens
no longer have scientific value and informs the Museum Director
of his/her intention to discard these specimens. The Museum Director
will inform the Museum staff of a division's intention to discard
cataloged specimens and will seek their opinion on the matter. Original
documentation for discarded specimens is always retained by the
MSB. Holotypes and Type series are never discarded, regardless of
their condition. Gifts made through the University of New Mexico
by approval of the Board of Regents are subject to formal procedures
Generally, original documentation of deaccessioned specimens will
be retained by the MSB divisions.
Exchanged, transferred, and shared specimens will retain original
specimen labels and those labels will be transferred with the specimens.
Photocopies of other original documents (field notes, accession
files and correspondence) will be provided.
MSB catalog numbers assigned to deaccessioned specimens are not
reassigned. The catalog entries are amended to show the status of
those specimens and the date of deaccessioning.
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The objectives of this Policy are to define documentation, establish
standards on care and maintenance, and describe permissible forms
Documentation is defined "as supporting evidence, recorded in a
permanent manner using a variety of media (paper, photographic,
electronic, etc.), for the identification, condition, history, or
scientific value of a specimen, artifact, or collection. This encompasses
information that is inherent to the individual specimen and its
associations in its natural environment as well as that which reflects
processes and transactions affecting the specimen (e.g., accessioning,
cataloging, loans, sampling, analysis, treatment, etc.). Documentation
is an integral aspect of the use, management, and preservation of
a specimen, artifact, or collection" (Cato et al. 1994).
Maintenance of MSB original documentation follows recommendations
by professional societies such as the Society of American Archivists
(Deiss 1984; Ritzenthaler 1983) and American Institute for Conservation
of Historic and Artistic Works (Kushel 1980).
MSB documents are available for any legitimate (i.e., noncommercial,
research) use. All requests to use MSB documents are subject to
the approval of divisional curators. Users must follow divisional
guidelines on proper use and handling of original documents. Intentional
misuse, alteration, removal, or destruction of MSB documents will
result in the denial of future access to documents.
Loans of original documents (field notes, correspondence, accession
files, catalogs and NK books) are not granted. However, loans of
other forms of supporting documents may be granted. These include
radiographs, photographs, photocopies, and slides.
Reproduction of MSB documents is not allowed without the expressed
consent of the divisional curator. Methods of reproduction can be
restricted or denied to prevent damage to original documents.
Public display or publication of MSB documents (or their copies)
must acknowledge the MSB as the source of these documents.
As with MSB specimens, when MSB documents are cited in any published
work, two copies of the paper must be provided to the division.
Documents no longer relevant to MSB will be transferred to the University
of New Mexico Libraries' archives upon approval by the MSB Director.
Archives (documents of relevance but no longer actively used) are
subject to the same restrictions and guidelines as documents in
current use (see Collections Care and Use Policy, Section 3). The
physical integrity of archives is maintained according to methods
recommended by such professional societies as the Society of American
Archivists (Deiss 1984; Peterson and Peterson 1985; Ritzenthaler
Magnetically stored data, electronic catalogs, and specimen database
files are subject to specific policies and are addressed separately
in this policy manual (see Database Policy, Section 6).
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Specimen-based databases are defined as catalog records (derived
from museum specimen labels and field notes, etc.) in any form,
including electronic databases, catalog card files, and images (e.g.,
photographic or digitized).
The MSB may share (subject to database availability) its electronic
institutional databases. MSB institutional databases may include
collection catalogs and Type registers. Each division has policies
that detail the availability of access, restrictions, transfer of
data agreements, fees, and issues of data integrity. Users who fail
to comply with MSB guidelines may be denied future access. Unusual
cases or requests may require the approval of the Director.
Data transfer or data-sharing agreements must precede the actual
transfer of data, and should include a statement of the mission
of each party. Collaborative research is reciprocal and requires
no payment, however reasonable fees may be charged to users outside
the systematics community, including for-profit institutions.
MSB desires to release only accurate data but users must be aware
that specimen-based databases are continually being updated
as species delineations and nomenclatural changes occur. Both specimen
examination and verification of identification remain the responsibility
of the primary researcher. MSB does not accept responsibility for
the accuracy of data taken by the user.
MSB may establish restrictions to certain data fields (e.g., localities
of endangered species), or data involving current research by staff
or students. In addition, the MSB requires the presence of a curator
or collection manager when the collections database is being consulted.
MSB database records may not be released in whole or part to any
individual without the expressed written consent of the Director
The user must acknowledge MSB as the source of specimen data, and
must provide the MSB with two copies of any publications, research
reports, or completed projects.
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Health and Safety
The MSB is committed to providing a safe and healthful environment
for staff, volunteers, and visitors, as well as minimizing risks
to its collections. It is the goal of MSB to conduct its activities
in a safe manner through recognition, evaluation, and control (reduction
or elimination) of health and safety risks.
Authority and Responsibilities
The Museum coordinates its safety efforts with the University Occupational
Safety Office and complies with Federal, State and local laws and
regulations. Safety efforts are shared by staff, Museum workers,
and visitors alike. The Museum Director is ultimately responsible
for implementation of and compliance with all environmental health
and safety policies. Curators ensure compliance of their staff with
the applicable requirements of these policies. Collection managers
(or those directly responsible for supervising workers) are responsible
for providing safety orientation to new workers; training employees
in safe work practices, and ensuring that employees have and use
the appropriate personal protective equipment. It is the employee's
responsibility to observe and follow all safety and health policies;
wear personal protective equipment that has been provided; use all
machinery and equipment in a safe manner; and report any accident,
injury, or unsafe or unhealthful condition to their supervisor.
Similarly, visitors are encouraged to observe and follow all applicable
Museum safety and health policies.
Hazard Recognition (Identification)
Safety inspections of the collection areas and laboratory facilities
are conducted on a regular basis to determine potential or actual
safety, health, or environmental hazards. The inspection will be
conducted by the University Campus Safety Office and an ad hoc Museum
Safety Committee. Any identified hazards will be brought to the
attention of the curator of the division where the hazard occurs.
The Committee and Safety Office will make recommendations to minimize
or eliminate these hazards, and will evaluate the results of any
previous action taken.
Hazardous materials can be biological (e.g., blood, tissues) or
chemical (e.g., fixatives and preservatives, pesticides). They can
be found throughout collections, in the museum specimens themselves
(e.g., bird and mammal skins treated with arsenic or pesticides)
as well as in the storage medium (e.g., fishes, amphibians, and
reptiles stored in formalin or alcohol; and storage cabinets coated
with lead-based paint). The Museum staff needs to be aware of the
actual and potential sources of hazardous materials in the collections
and work areas, as well as historical and current treatments of
Hazard Elimination or Control
Listed below are various types of safety equipment and supplies
located within the divisions:
Safety Equipment and Supplies:
Environmental monitoring and detection devices (hygrothermograph);
First aid equipment (first aid kits, emergency eyewash stations);
Fire detection and suppression equipment (fire extinguishers,
pull down fire alarms);
Clean-up equipment ("sharps" container, biohazard container);
Protective clothing and equipment (fume hoods, gloves, safety
goggles, half-and full-face respirators with high-efficiency particulate
air (HEPA) and/or organic chemical cartridges.
Good Museum Practices:
Smoking, eating, drinking, and living plants and animals are prohibited
in collection and work areas;
Do not discard hazardous wastes down the drain or in the trash;
non- hazardous wastes may be diluted with water and flushed down
the drain (refer to MSB's "Hazardous Waste Management Guidelines"
for additional information);
All accidents or spills must be cleaned up at once and reported
to museum personnel immediately;
All containers must be properly labeled and stored (see MSB's
"Hazardous Waste Management Guidelines");
"Sharps waste" (e.g., broken glassware, scalpels, hypodermic syringes,
needles) must be deposited in a "sharps" container or wrapped in
several layers of paper towels before being deposited in waste cans);
The fume hood must be used when working with volatile or hazardous
chemicals (e.g., ammonia, alcohol, formalin);
All electric appliances must be turned off and unplugged after
After use, all equipment and supplies must be cleaned and properly
stored. Work areas must be cleared and put in an "as found" condition.
Training: Supervisors are responsible for determining the training
necessary for employees to recognize and handle on-the-job hazards.
Supervisors shall supply employees with personal protective equipment,
provide training, or make provisions for formal training if necessary.
Examples of formal training include: respirator use, electrofishing,
and formaldehyde hazard awareness. Supervisors may require periodic
training or re-training in health and safety and will notify their
employer to correct these deficiencies. Each work location or division
should have at least one individual currently certified in cardiopulmonary
resuscitation and first aid.
Testing and Monitoring: All hazardous materials have established
permissible levels and most can be easily monitored (e.g., formaldehyde,
inorganic arsenic). The Museum coordinates with the University Occupational
Safety Office, which has primary responsibility for these
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Hazardous Waste Policy
This Policy applies to all Museum employees who have potential
for exposure to hazardous materials in the work environment. A hazardous
material is defined as any material which by reason of being particularly
reactive, explosive, flammable, poisonous, corrosive, oxidizing,
irritating, or otherwise harmful is likely to cause injury or death
to employees, or destruction of property. When no longer useable,
this material becomes a hazardous waste. Hazardous wastes can be
biological (biohazardous) and include infectious wastes such
as bacteria, viruses, and bodily fluids. Chemical wastes are non-radioactive
chemicals that meet any of the criteria listed above for hazardous
materials. Refer to the University's "Hazardous Waste Management
Guidelines" for a list of hazardous chemicals and their reactivity.
The objectives of this Policy are: to define the role of supervisors
and employees relative to hazardous wastes; to provide employees
with information concerning the storage and disposal of biohazardous
and chemical wastes; and to reduce the incidence and/or likelihood
of workplace injuries and illnesses from biohazardous and chemical
Authority and Responsibilities
The University has delegated authority regarding the collection
and disposal of hazardous wastes to the Department of Occupational
Safety. Nonetheless, the Museum is aware of its role in providing
a safe and healthy environment to its staff, volunteers, and visitors.
The Museum Director is responsible for ensuring compliance with
all environmental health and safety policies. Supervisors (curators
and/or collection managers) must inform employees of all harmful
agents associated with their work environment, as well as how to
protect themselves from danger. Employees are responsible for knowing
the Museum's Policy and notifying their supervisor of potentially
Storage of Hazardous Materials
Hazardous materials must be stored in approved storage containers
which meet OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration)
requirements, and accompanied with a Material Safety Data Sheet
(MSDS; see below). Small quantities may also be stored in any metal
cabinet in other areas provided that the container is labeled appropriately
(i.e., CAUTION: FLAMMABLE).
Material Safety Data Sheet
The MSDS is required for any hazardous chemical stored at MSB and
shall be clearly posted where the hazardous material is used or
stored. The MSDS is "required reading" for all employees working
at that worksite prior to initial use of the material.
A list of all hazardous (and potentially hazardous) chemicals shall
be completed by each division and updated annually. The list should
contain, as a minimum, the following information: name of chemical,
amount, and storage site. Each division should try to minimize the
quantity of hazardous chemicals and should reassess on an annual
basis the need to retain such chemicals.
All hazardous or potentially hazardous materials shall be stored
in the original container which carries a warning label listing
the chemical name, hazardous ingredients, hazard warnings, and the
manufacturer's name and address. Transfer of chemical products from
one container to another is permissible provided that the new container
is properly labeled and meets OSHA and NFPA (National Fire Protection
Act) standards. Transfer of flammable liquids requires that both
containers are grounded and bonded together with a bonding wire.
Employees are to be informed of all hazardous chemicals in their
work areas at the time of their initial assignments, and whenever
a new hazard is introduced into their work areas. Minimum training
shall include a review of the University's "Hazardous Waste Management
Guidelines" and a briefing on the types of hazardous substances
that the employee will come in contact with.
Disposal of Hazardous Chemicals
This information should be listed on the appropriate MSDS. In general,
no hazardous wastes can be disposed of down the drain or in the
trash. Contact the University's Health and Safety Office for information
on disposal of specific chemicals.
Disposal of Biohazardous Wastes
Biohazardous wastes are sealed in an autoclavable "biohazard bag"
and autoclaved within the Department of Biology. Animal wastes which
are not considered to be hazardous are bagged and transported to
Veterinary Diagnostic Services for incineration. The material is
stored in a "waste freezer" if it cannot be processed immediately.
Refer to divisional policies for additional information on the disposal
of biohazard ous wastes.
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Emergency Preparedness Policy
The basis for this Policy is to provide guidelines in emergency
situations and to reduce the adverse effects to collections and
personnel in the event of an emergency. This Policy will identify
potential emergencies, provide a high level of preparedness for
emergencies in order to reduce adverse effects to collections and
personnel, and outline areas for further policy development for
each divisional emergency plan.
Potential emergencies include damage to the collections or personnel
due to fire, flooding, power failure, earthquake, weather damage,
or human factors such as vandalism, theft, or civil disorder. In
the event of a disaster, personnel (Museum staff and emergency personnel)
on the scene must follow the MSB and divisional emergency preparedness
and disaster plan (in preparation).
Specific risk areas are those that contain flammable materials,
are in a poor location (such as a basement or near windows), or
have poor storage designs (unstable shelving or malfunctioning cases).
Sensitive collections (such as cryovouchers), valuable specimens
(Types, endangered species, furs, ivory), and documentation are
all areas in need of risk assessment.
of reducing risk include location of specimens in buildings that
are dedicated to house museum collections. The physical structures
and equipment housing specimens must be disaster-resistant. Staff
are urged to advise the Museum Director of inadequate collection
care due to building placement, placement of collection areas within
buildings, or poor physical structure of the facilities.
Mitigation strategies include proper training of all MSB personnel
including instructing personnel of all available resources (expertise,
alternative storage areas, supplies and equipment for disasters,
and medical, fire, and security services) for emergency preparedness.
Recovery strategies include establishing authorities, identifying
secure specimen holding areas, and developing methods to assess
damage. The UNM Department of Biology Annex and the New Mexico Museum
of Natural History are alternative sites for partial safe specimen
storage. Other collections and experts who have had experience with
disasters will be consulted for both recovery and assessment of
damaged collections. Collection staff from other collections will
be contacted to help in disaster recovery and to assist in short-term
replacement of supplies. All steps of the recovery process will
be documented by written descriptions and photographs. It is advisable
for each division to maintain a photo record of current collection
areas for use after a disaster.
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