Recognizing the importance of safety on campus
At last fall’s Town Hall Meetings, Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves highlighted the University’s efforts to reduce injuries across campus.
The Department of Risk Management and Safety recently recognized several Notre Dame staff and faculty members at the Annual Safety Recognition Luncheon.
Chip Farrell, senior environmental and safety specialist, received attention for his leadership in establishing a rooftop fall protection plan. Farrell and safety specialist Randy Crist assessed all campus rooftops and are implementing physical safety improvements and procedures to ensure that personnel are protected from fall hazards while performing work on roofs.
Patrick Fay, professor of electrical engineering and chair of the University’s Laboratory Safety Committee, was honored for leading a team of faculty and staff members committed to improving safety in labs across campus.
“Working to ensure the safety of those working in our laboratories and field sites is fundamental to who we are as a University community,” Fay said. “It has been gratifying to work with the members of the Laboratory Safety Committee and the members of the larger teaching and research community over the past several years as we have sought to improve the safety practices and culture on campus.”
Tony Cobb, facilities program director in Notre Dame Research, was recognized for implementing safety walkthroughs and other safety procedures in McCourtney Hall of Molecular Sciences and Engineering, which opened in 2016. During unannounced walkthroughs, Cobb and his colleagues look for and address lab safety issues. The safety team reviews with lab occupants how to properly use personal protective equipment, handle hazardous waste, store chemicals, etc. If the team discovers unsafe practices, it offers lab occupants the opportunity to address the issues. The team records and analyzes the data, fostering safe practices in this new space on campus.
The work of several committees and subcommittees was also recognized at the event. One of the largest collaborative safety teams is the Operations Safety Advisory Committee, led by Heather Christophersen, director of Maintenance, and Mike McCauslin, senior associate director of Risk Management and Safety. The committee, comprised of representatives from across the University, is responsible for a cultural shift that puts safety at the forefront of the decision-making process. The team brings departmental leadership together to make collaborative decisions, develop policies and create safety protocols that enhance operations across campus.
“There are numerous groups across campus that have been working diligently on improving safety in their departments, units, and labs,” said Eric Kloss, director of Risk Management and Safety. “Their involvement is what creates the culture of safety and makes the University of Notre Dame a safer place to learn, work, and visit.”