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ASU's compliance officers honored at luncheon

November 07, 2011

Arizona State University’s compliance officers provide a vital function for the university by ensuring that lab practices are safe.

As research grows at ASU, their role will become even more crucial and valued, said Jon Harrison, Office of Research and Knowledge Development researcher and professor. Harrison was the keynote speaker at a recent compliance officer’s luncheon held yearly to honor those who serve as safety liaisons between Environmental Health & Safety and departments, colleges and schools.

“The work that you put in is incredibly valuable,” Harrison said. “We really appreciate what you do.”

Research has doubled at ASU during the past 10 years and it is expected to double again in the next 10 years, enabling students to learn at a higher level and improving Arizona’s economy with spin-off companies, he said.

ASU’s Environmental Health & Safety department that oversees the compliance officer program is also crucial to the Office of Knowledge and Research Development at ASU, Harrison added. Environmental Health & Safety enables research to be safe and compliant through a wide variety of endeavors including bio-safety, emergency plans, health and safety priorities and policy and operations. Environmental Health & Safety also is offering more online management tools for chemical inventories and hazardous waste pickup.

Compliance officers who were honored for their efforts at the luncheon include: David Wright who has trained hundreds of employees and graduate students in compressed gas safety; the School of Art for its leadership in developing and implementing the ArtCORE Safety Program and compliance officer John Crozier for going above and beyond the call of duty at ASU.

One of the measures of the success of the compliance officer program is the number of employee injuries at the university, which continue to decline with 78 injuries this year compared to 108 last year. This is due to a significant increase in safety awareness training that the compliance officers play a big role in.

The Environmental Health & Safety department and the compliance officers also play a part in lab safety and sustainability efforts at ASU. For instance, participation in lab safety training is up more than 20 percent over previous years. Green labs are also growing with 85 labs currently certified as green at ASU.

Recycling efforts in labs and throughout the university were discussed during the luncheon with ASU Recycling Program Manager Alana Levine briefing the audience on what can and can’t be recycled. Lab items such as bio-waste, pipettes, sharps, and syringes cannot be recycled. There are a surprising number of things that can be recycled, however, such as appliances, electronics, scrap metal, pallets, shoes, tennis balls, and corrugated plastic signs posted around campus.