Carnegie Mellon University

Environmental Health and Safety Authorization 

POLICY TITLE: Environmental Health and Safety Authorization Policy
DATE OF ISSUANCE: This policy was issued on November 10, 2003; it was revised on June 21, 2019.


Enterprise Risk Management. Questions on policy content should be directed to the Office of Environmental Health & Safety, or to any designated contact listed in this policy.


The Office of Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) is authorized to implement programs and plans designed to ensure compliance and maintain a safe and healthy environment for the campus community. This document defines the responsibility and accountability for the Environmental Health and Safety program at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).

The mission of EH&S is to support the university’s mission and values by sustaining and enhancing a safe and healthy environment for the CMU community. Our service excellence plus one approach, and collaborative partnerships help mitigate the risk of injury, reduce impact to the environment, and maintain compliance within the areas of Fire, Laboratory, and Workplace Safety.


Policy Statement

The safety of the CMU community is a top priority of the university. As such, the university is committed to ensuring an environment and culture of safety. Through the development, implementation, and training of health and safety programs that align to our mission and values, the university will accomplish this by:

  1. Establishing and following university standards relating to environmental protection and personal safety. The objective will be to reduce the risk of injury or illness to people, prevent property damage at all locations where operations and/or activities occur, and ensure continuity of operations.
  2. Achieving and maintaining compliance with federal, state, and local environmental health and safety laws and regulations.
  3. Identifying and correcting health and safety hazards and encouraging faculty, staff, and students to develop programs to identify, to report and to correct potential hazards.
  4. Participating in the development of proactive, sound environmental health and effective safety guidelines and policies.
  5. Conducting activities in a manner that is protective of the environment, inform the CMU community on topics regarding environmental impact and employ hazardous waste minimization best management practices for institutional operations.
  6. Measuring and continuously improving our environmental health and safety performance.
  7. Providing information to faculty, staff and students about health and safety hazards.

Definition of Responsibility and Authority

The creation of a safe workplace and a culture of safety requires attention and responsibility at every level of the university, including all faculty, staff, and students. Core responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

University President:

  1. Has ultimate authority for CMU’s compliance with environmental health and safety standards and policies at all facilities under university control.
  2. Has authorized EH&S and its Director to coordinate the university’s environmental health and safety programs, and to monitor the university’s compliance with standards and policies.
  3. Communicates the importance of safety and expectations to the CMU community to establish and maintain a strong safety program that continually improves and protects all faculty, staff, students, and guests.

Vice President for Operations, Chief Risk Officer:

  1. Allocates necessary resources for implementation of the university’s safety policy, programs, and committees.
  2. Supports safety trainings, inspection programs, and emergency drills within the university.
  3. Ensures that effective systems are established to identify and address institutional safety concerns.
  4. Communicate the risks and safety expectations to the CMU community and support a strong culture of safety.
  5. Ensures that university administration, deans, and department heads are notified when there are serious safety issues/incidents on campus.

Deans and College Administrators:

  1. Ensure that all environmental health and safety laws and regulations are carried out in the academic departments/administrative units under their control.
  2. Ensure that their academic departments/administrative units are implementing all required EH&S programs, inspections, and trainings.
  3. Communicate to faculty, staff, students, and visitors that everyone shares the obligation to work in a safe, healthful, environmentally protective manner.

Department Head and Unit Director:

  1. Ensure that the faculty and staff understand and implement responsibilities for their operations and workspace.
  2. Ensure the development and implementation of safety practices, protocols, and rules for teaching laboratories and work space within their purview.
  3. Ensure that their department members and affiliates receive compliance training regarding potential hazards associated with each person’s employment with CMU.
  4. Work with EH&S to comply with regular inspections for teaching/research laboratories, shops, storerooms, studios, or any other work area.
  5. Assist EH&S periodically to update compliance training records for the employees and students.

Principal Investigator/Supervisor:

  1. Ensure that personnel and operations in their areas comply with environmental health and safety laws and regulations.
  2. Analyze work procedures to identify hazards and ensure measures are implemented to eliminate or control those hazards.
  3. Ensure workplace hazards and EH&S related policies and procedures are communicated to employees, students, and visitors.
  4. Ensure safe operating procedures are in place with proper safety equipment and personal protective equipment to perform work safely.
  5. Conduct periodic hazard analysis of all program activities to identify potential risks or areas in need of additional safety measures, standard operating procedures, or training.
  6. Ensure that participants in their programs are adequately trained and have completed all EH&S and job specific trainings to identify and mitigate potential hazards.
  7. Encourage prompt reporting of health and safety concerns and any accidents/incidents in the work area.
  8. Assist EH&S staff with safety inspection in their operations and take prompt actions to fix any noted deficiencies.
  9. Ensure that a proper material (i.e., chemical, biological, radiation, etc.) inventory is maintained and updated annually or whenever significant changes occur.

Employees/Laboratory Workers/Trainees/Students:

  1. Read, understand, and follow all safety rules and regulations that apply to their work area.
  2. Complete all appropriate safety trainings, provided by the EH&S department and the supervisor.
  3. Conduct each operation in accordance with the work area’s specific safety procedures and measures.
  4. Utilize available and proper engineering and administrative controls, and appropriate personal protective equipment.
  5. Develop good personal work area safety habits and promote good housekeeping practices in work areas.
  6. Immediately report all safety incidents or accidents to the supervisor and/or a faculty member.
  7. Report unsafe practices and hazardous conditions to the work area supervisor.
  8. Participate in periodic safety inspections of the work area.

Environmental Health and Safety Authority:

The Office of Environmental Health & Safety provides technical expertise, assistance with consultations, and serves to assure compliance with legal requirements. Through technical assistance and oversight, EH&S will direct the campus toward compliance with environmental health and safety practices that are required by laws or regulations. EH&S shall have the authority to audit and recommend appropriate corrective or planning strategies, including the development of safety programs. EH&S will consult with external agencies or regulatory bodies as necessary and appropriate, on behalf of the university.

1. Corrective Actions Reports and Citations:

EH&S is authorized to survey and monitor all areas of the campus to assess environmental risks, life safety exposures, and training requirements, and to recommend improvements. EH&S will submit written reports identifying hazards and recommending corrective action. In the presence of severe hazards or in the case of non-compliance with local, state, and federal regulations or university policies, improvements will be required.

EH&S's director or designee has the authority to issue, following appropriate investigation, noncompliance citations to the appropriate individuals and principal investigator for lack of improvements in response to a formal report or recommendation.

Copies of any formal reports and noncompliance citations associated with unsafe work practices will be provided to the individual, their immediate supervisor, and to other administrators with responsibility for the activity involved. Copies of reports and/or citations given to individual students or student organizations may be forwarded to the dean of students, if required. The dean or designee will determine an appropriate resolution utilizing the normal student disciplinary processes as outlined in The Word student handbook. Performance evaluations of all employees will include the review of noncompliance citations, as they relate to their job duties.

To appeal noncompliance citations:

  • Staff members are to use the grievance procedure that is outlined in the Staff Handbook [pdf].
  • Students are to use the disciplinary process outlined in the University Policy section of The Word. Students may contact the Office of Community Standards and Integrity at 8-2140 for more information.
  • Union members may file a grievance through their union stewards.
  • Faculty members may meet to seek redress from their department head, and/or the dean of their school, or if appropriate, file a grievance with the Faculty Review Committee.

2. Cessation of Hazardous Activities:

EH&S's director or designee has the authority to immediately suspend or restrict any operation that

  • Presents a serious hazard (real or potential) associated with the health, life, safety, or welfare of campus personnel or the public
  • Is found to be a violation of standards
  • Is detrimental to the environment

If he or she is available, assistance from the relevant administrator, principal investigator, or supervisor will be requested.

In the event that EH&S orders cessation of an activity, EH&S will immediately communicate the problem(s) and violation(s) to the individual, to his or her direct supervisor, to other administrators with responsibility for the department or center involved, and the appropriate regulatory agency, when required by law.

The activity may be resumed only with the approval of the EH&S director or designee, in consultation with the provost or vice president as appropriate, and the relevant administrators or supervisors.