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University's compliance officers honored at event

March 30, 2011

A recent Environmental Health and Safety Compliance Officers luncheon paid tribute to university volunteers who help ensure that laboratories and offices at ASU are operated in a safe manner and focused on recent ASU Sustainability Initiatives – Green Offices and Green Labs.

Compliance officers throughout the university volunteer their time to take training classes through Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S), act as conduits for information from EH&S and notify EH&S of any unresolved compliance issues involving potential safety hazards, exposures, injuries or other issues.

“Your organization and programs are absolutely essential to our success. What you do is exceptionally positive for ASU,” said Ray Jensen, Associate Vice President of University Business Services, who gave the keynote address on sustainability. ASU has 111 compliance officers who work within their departments to encourage safe practices throughout the university from laboratories to administrative offices.

“Over the course of the last six years, EH&S has provided specialized training and meeting opportunities for the 100 plus EH&S compliance officers who serve in many different departments across all four ASU campuses,” said Leon Igras, Environmental Health and Safety director. “The compliance officers are an integral part of the entire EH&S program at ASU and serve as informational resources for their departmental leadership.  ASU is very lucky to have such dedicated personnel fulfilling this critical role in protecting its employees and resources.”

Research endeavors in the university’s laboratories depend on the work of compliance officers who make sure that labs are operating safely.

“Compliance officers are vital for the efficient and compliant functioning of ASU’s labs. The university is grateful for their contribution. We couldn’t operate efficiently without them,” said Beth Israel, Associate Vice President Research Policy and Assurance in the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development.

This year’s celebration of compliance officers’ contributions to the university highlighted sustainability efforts. The luncheon earned a green event certificate since many of the items used were recyclable. Less than one pound of pure waste material was generated at the lunch. Associate Director Robert Ott, Business Manager Jackie Murrill and Office Specialist Senior Sharon Kavanaugh, all of EH&S, were honored for their efforts in designing the green event.

Compliance Officer Chelle Brookes, coordinator in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, discussed green efforts she has put into place such as posting online safety notices instead of using paper and creating an electronic template.

“We can all make a difference, one by one,” she said.

Compliance Officer Doug Ewing, associate director of Campus Recreation, provided examples how the Student Recreation Center has adopted sustainable practices such as using energy-efficient light bulbs, putting lights on timers, using pool covers to conserve heat, recycling bicycle tires and tubes, washing laundry in environmentally friendly detergent and participating in the Nike® reuse-a-shoe program.

ASU also has incorporated sustainability into the Green Labs Program that is now available to labs that reach sustainable goals. The labs program is partnering with the Green Office Program that encourages sustainability.  

While the university is enhancing sustainability efforts, EH&S continues to report improved safety statistics at ASU. In 2010, there were 108 employee lab injuries compared to 117 in 2009. Training options continue to expand with more web-based classes being made available for those who work in labs.

“Our injury rates continue to drop,” said Robert Ott, Environmental Health and Safety associate director. “We’d like to see that number go down to zero.”