Welcome to the Environmental Health and Safety Department (EH&S)
As a department under Health Sciences Administration (HSA), Environmental Health & Safety is a UW administrative department that assists organizational units in meeting their responsibility to protect the environment and to provide a safe and healthful place of employment and learning.
In 1968, the Department of Environmental Health and Safety was created by combining several health and safety functions from various departments. In these early days, program emphasis was on radiation safety, environmental safety, environmental sanitation, and industrial hygiene. With a total staff of twelve, the EH&S office was located about a mile from the main campus. New regulations created the need to expand EH&S resources in order to maintain adequate compliance status.
Currently EH&S employs about 100 people who are spread over three buildings. We have seven sections that are organized around the services that we provide. Those include:
Planning and Administration (ADM)
Administration consists of the Senior Director, Assistant to the Director, Administrator, Information Systems, Strategic Planning and the Fiscal Programs.
Building and Fire Safety (BFS)
BFS takes an active part in building construction projects including facility design, construction and renovation. University facilities are inspected by the laboratory survey team and programs developed to establish laboratory safety systems. UW areas are also inspected to check by fire safety personnel for fire prevention and protection measures. Fume Hoods and Biological Safety Cabinets are inspected, tested and certified.
Campus Preventative Health (CPH)
Employees who work in hazardous environments receive medical evaluations. A variety of immunizations are available to employees at risk of exposure to infectious diseases. Campus food services, drinking water, and swimming pools are monitored for sanitary quality. Pest control activities and pesticide use are monitored. CPH provides Health Education and oversees outreach, EH&S promotion, and communication with the UW community.
Environmental Programs (EP)
EP supports those departments using chemicals in their spill cleanup procedures. EP operates a program for collection, consolidation, recycling and disposal of hazardous chemical waste generated on campus. EH&S pollution prevention activities involve reduction of chemical waste volume through chemical recycling and redistribution, substitution of less hazardous chemicals, avoiding excess chemical inventory and preventing environmental pollution.
Occupation Safety & Health (OSH)
OSH monitors activities for special hazards including air quality, hazardous environments, noise, pressure systems, and electrical devices and systems. We ensure that employee accidents and incidents are investigated, and methods are established to reduce recurrence. We provide guidance to individuals on how to address ergonomic issues. OSH provides training for employees on a wide variety of occupational health and safety subjects.
Radiation Safety (RS)
Strict regulatory control is maintained for radioisotope and X-ray machine use. Each project involving use of radioactive materials must meet certain criteria. The purchase, use and disposal of radioactive materials are carefully controlled. A Hospital Health Physicist insures that a prudent radiation control program is maintained at University Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center.
Research and Occupational Safety (ROS)
ROS monitors laboratories for the use of biosafety, bloodborne and chemical hazards and are advised on control or compliance procedures. ROS has a diving safety program responsible for all underwater research. We manage the select agent, exempted select agent and toxin programs.
Executive Order No. 55: University Health and Safety Programs: Policy and Responsibilities
The University of Washington is committed to providing a healthy and safe environment for faculty, staff, students, visitors, and volunteers in all sites owned, operated, or controlled by the University. This commitment includes supporting a culture of health and safety across the University.
Collectively the University President, faculty, staff, students, visitors, volunteers, University Health and Safety Committees, the Environmental Health and Safety Advisory Board, and the Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) all have responsibility to support a culture of health and safety. To learn more, see the Executive Order No. 55 found on the UW Policy Directory.