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Managing EH&S Requirements with Limited Resources

By March 20, 2023April 20th, 2024No Comments

College and University Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) professionals manage a wide range of responsibilities in ensuring the safety and compliance of campus operations. Tasks include oversight of chemical inventory, lab, environmental, occupational, fire, and life safety, along with associated regulatory reporting requirements. 

EH&S offices often have only a small team (and in some cases 1 individual) accountable for all of these diverse programs. Oversight can be even more challenging at institutions with large research operations, multiple campus locations, or a large geographic footprint. With EH&S overseeing so many critical facets of the institutional infrastructure, why do EH&S offices find it so challenging to get appropriate levels of staff and funding?


EH&S Offices: Under-Resourced and Underfunded

With core missions of teaching and research driving most college and university budgets, EH&S is often viewed as a cost center and less of a funding priority for institutional leadership. This dilemma is compounded by the fact that EH&S professionals often lack a centralized reporting tool that allows them to more easily quantify their activities and demonstrate their department’s efficacy to senior leadership. 

In addition, finding qualified individuals to fill vacant EH&S positions can be a significant challenge, even when these positions are properly funded. EH&S positions may require advanced degrees and/or a broad knowledge of various disciplines, including occupational, chemical, fire & life, radiological, and biological safety. Moreover, new EH&S professionals may face obstacles in getting up to speed with the unique inter-departmental relationships, risks, and safety issues they often encounter in higher education. Onboarding can be especially challenging when historical documentation or a core EH&S management system is lacking. 

Lastly, EH&S offices are typically staffed to be accountable but not responsible for every inspection and compliance activity on campus. However, EH&S professionals often struggle to establish a strong culture of accountability due, in part, to their use of inadequate tools, such as spreadsheets, shared drives, tribal knowledge, and systems that were designed for other industries, to track the activities of those responsible for such inspections and compliance activities. As a result, EH&S professionals wind up spending the majority of their time performing tasks or auditing work that should be assigned to and performed by others. 

CampusOptics: A Key EH&S Resource

CampusOptics is a mobile friendly, modern platform that serves as a centralized hub for assigning and monitoring compliance and safety tasks, tracking all historic activities and issues, sharing key information with your campus safety community, and demonstrating the efficacy of EH&S to leadership through comprehensive reporting capabilities. 

CampusOptics was designed to enable cross-functional collaboration in a way that drives better safety and compliance outcomes. CampusOptics provides broad functionality, flexible permissions, and an unlimited user license to allow users to collaborate on a wide range of key areas, including: 

  1. Chemical Inventory Management—Simplify chemical inventory management and emergency planning by using a mobile device to track and update SDS’s, add, remove, or update containers from inventory, and map container locations by building, floor, and area.

  2. Hazardous Waste Management — Generate reports and online pick-up requests, track waste from pick-up to disposal, and align waste containers with third-party manifests.

  3. Safety Inspections — Establish inspection policies for any asset, location, or building with templates, schedule planning, and a log of inspection history.

  4. Issue Remediation —  Easily log issues and deficiencies using a mobile device’s talk-to-text feature, in-app photo/video capture, and a code reference library. Plus, automatically route issues to appropriate individuals and closely monitor remediation progress.

  5. Asset Management — Utilize a mobile device to scan barcodes, attach geolocation coordinates, and monitor all safety assets and their respective systems.

  6. Emergency Plan Documentation — Enhance campus safety preparedness by developing pre-plan templates with comprehensive building information, essential safety asset data, and CampusOptics system documents, and distribute them to all stakeholders in the campus safety network through a variety of channels, such as web links, PDFs, or the CampusOptics mobile app.

  7. Permit Management — Set up automated reminders to schedule permit-related inspections and monitor permit expirations.

  8. Incident Management — Efficiently capture and report on critical incident details, such as incident type, root cause, and property damage or injury information.

  9. Drill Scheduling — Schedule and record drill results, including document attachments and notes. Produce drill reports using convenient filter options.

Leveling up Safety with EH&S Technology

CampusOptics provides everyone in your campus safety community with a single source of truth for all safety and compliance activities, while ensuring your EH&S office has the oversight and reporting capabilities you need to demonstrate efficacy and drive safety outcomes. In an environment where resources are limited, let CampusOptics help your EH&S office scale!

To see how CampusOptics can help your institution, schedule a free demo today.

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