Environmental Health and Safety Roles and Responsibilities

Unit Role
Principles, Standards, and Guidance
Education and Awareness
Administration and Management
Institutional Oversight
Monitoring
Noncompliance
Coordination Among Entities
Records and Reporting

Unit Role

The Environmental Health and Safety D​epartment (EH&S) is dedicated to supporting Washington University’s mission of conducting research, education, and clinical care in a safe and healthy environment while furthering environmental stewardship and sustainability. EH&S provides leadership for university health and safety programs; establishes, monitors, and enforces institutional policies and procedures; and helps ensure that investigators, staff, students, and contractors comply with all federal, state, and local environmental, health, and safety regulatory standards and codes, including university policies and procedures. EH&S provides education and guidance on environmental health and safety issues, including work practices and activities involving hazardous and regulated materials, equipment, and environments. In addition, EH&S provides administrative support for the Institutional Biological and Chemical Safety Committee (IBC), the Radiation Safety Committee (RSC), and other independent environmental health and safety committees that review protocols describing research activities.

EH&S reports to the Executive Vice Chancellor for Administration.

Principles, Standards, and Guidance

  • Provides guidance, direction and oversight to help ensure adherence to federal, state, and local regulations and university and sponsoring agency policies and procedures instituted to protect the health and safety of research participants, personnel, and the environment.
  • Oversees development and implementation of institutional policies and procedures related to environmental health and safety and that provide additional support for environmental stewardship.

Education and Awareness

  • Assists Principal Investigators with health, safety, and compliance requirements needed for research proposals.
  • Develops and implements educational programs and tools to effectively train researchers and staff participating in research activities that pose environmental, occupational health, and/or safety risks.
  • Disseminates information and provides guidance regarding compliance with federal, state, and local regulations and university and sponsoring agency policies and procedures.
  • Provides training for certified shippers of biological or clinical specimens to help ensure compliance with federal regulations and university policies and procedures related to export controls.

Administration and Management

  • Represents the university to federal, state, and local regulatory agencies.
  • Administers and oversees the storage, transport, and disposal of all hazardous and/or regulated substances.
  • Develops and maintains electronic systems and technology solutions related to environmental health and safety.
  • Recruits and appoints or recommends the appointment of members to serve on EH&S committees.

Institutional Oversight

Institutional Biological and Chemical Safety Committee (IBC)

  • Reviews and approves, disapproves, or requires changes to protocols for all research involving recombinant DNA, infectious or potentially infectious agents, and hazardous chemicals.
  • Provides institutional assurance that research activities are carried out in appropriate and secure facilities in accordance with federal, state, and local regulations.
  • Provides guidance, direction, and oversight to assist researchers and staff in observing safe laboratory and clinical practices.

Radiation Safety Committee

  • Reviews and approves, disapproves, or requires changes to protocols for all research, education, and clinical care involving the use of radioactive materials.
  • Provides institutional assurance that research activities are carried out in appropriate and secure facilities in accordance with federal, state, and local regulations.
  • Provides guidance, direction, and oversight to assist researchers, clinicians, and staff in observing safe laboratory practices for research, education, and clinical care involving use of radioactive materials.

Monitoring

  • Monitors environmental health and safety issues in accordance with federal, state, and local and sponsoring agency policies and procedures.

Noncompliance

  • Supports and endorses cooperation with university compliance and monitoring efforts and reports instances of noncompliance to the appropriate compliance office.
  • Investigates significant environmental health and safety non-compliance, accidents, and complaints.
  • Authorizes the suspension or termination of approved research or operations that pose immediate safety hazards, or that are not being conducted in accordance with EH&S requirements, federal, state, and local regulations, or with university and sponsoring agency policies and procedures.
  • Coordinates the identification and implementation of corrective actions and related activities.

Coordination Among Entities

  • Coordinates with the Human Research Protection Office (HRPO) to help ensure that research involving human participants is conducted in accordance with federal, state, and local regulations and university and sponsoring agency policies and procedures instituted to protect the health and safety of human research participants, personnel, and the environment.
  • Coordinates with HRPO to help ensure that research involving human gene transfer is conducted in accordance with federal and state regulations and university and sponsoring agency policies and procedures.
  • Coordinates with the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) Office and the Division of Comparative Medicine (DCM) to help ensure that research involving animal subjects is conducted in accordance with federal, state, and local regulations, and with university and sponsoring agency policies and procedures instituted to ensure the ethical treatment of research animals, as well as to protect the health of animal workers and the environment.
  • Coordinates with the research office to monitor and enforce restrictions on international exchanges of information, items, and/or activities.
  • Coordinates with facilities management departments to conduct university-wide inventory of hazardous and regulated materials, equipment, and environments on a regular and continuing basis.
  • Coordinates with facilities management departments to help ensure that approved construction and remodeling plans for research facilities are in accordance with federal, state, and local regulations and university policies and procedures.
  • Coordinates with the Radioactive Drug Research Committee to provide guidance, direction, and oversight to assist investigators and staff in observing safe laboratory and clinical practices for research involving use of radioactive drugs.

Records and Reporting

  • Creates and maintains records for all EH&S committee proceedings in accordance with federal, state, and local regulations and university and sponsoring agency policies and procedures.
  • Creates and maintains many of the regulatory records required by federal, state, and local environmental, health and safety regulations, or periodically reviews a portion of these regulatory records required to be maintained by researchers and departments.