The Challenges of Campus EH&S: Level up with CampusOptics
Higher education institutions are complex and dynamic to manage. Campus environmental health and safety (EH&S) professionals are called upon to oversee a wide array of inspection, permitting, and planning activities to ensure a safe and compliant learning and research environment.
Although accountability for ensuring a safe and compliant environment falls to EH&S professionals, managing EH&S is a campuswide endeavor that requires interaction with a multitude of departments, including Research, Facilities, Risk Management, Public Safety and Emergency Planning. As a result, EH&S leaders often struggle to connect the dots between these areas and provide a holistic view of their campus safety and compliance efforts.
Top Challenges for EH&S Professionals
While institutions often have processes in place to manage some of their safety and compliance functions, the processes are largely dependent on siloed spreadsheets, share drives, tribal knowledge, and systems designed for other industries.
Whether the institution is a large academic university or a small community college, solutions are needed to overcome these challenges and drive better safety outcomes. Here are 5 key pain points affecting campus EH&S professionals:
- Managing chemical inventory and hazardous waste
EH&S professionals must maintain an inventory of what hazardous materials exist across campus and be able to produce reports, track Safety Data Sheets (SDS), and verify chemical quantities by buildings, areas, and labs. In addition, they also need to track the expiration of certain types of peroxide forming chemicals and document that all hazardous waste has been disposed of in a timely and compliant manner.
- Scheduling and Administration of Inspections
Each year, institutions conduct thousands of building, lab, safety asset, and environmental inspections, each with their own unique checklist, timeline, and responsible party. EH&S leaders need a simpler way to manage inspection scheduling, completion, and reporting to ensure inspections are being carried out in a timely manner by the appropriate internal representative or third-party contractor.
- Issue Logging, Communication, and Remediation
Inspections often result in safety and compliance issues that must be logged, communicated, and monitored to ensure remediation. EH&S professionals are often tracking hundreds or even thousands of individual issues via email threads and spreadsheets, making it difficult to report on key trend data.
- Permitting and Tracking High Risk Activities
Institutions often require permits for high risk activities like hot work, confined space entry, open flame, pyrotechnics, temporary food handling, and drone flights. Each of these permit processes have different submission, approva,l and inspection requirements. These processes are often managed through a variety of paper forms and email, making permit standards difficult to communicate and enforce.
- Emergency Planning
Campuses are dynamic environments, which can make it difficult for EH&S and Emergency Management professionals to generate and distribute accurate pre-plan documentation. These pre-plan documents help first responders understand the unique hazards and safety features associated with campus buildings. In addition, EH&S and Emergency Management professionals also struggle to maintain the relevant maps and locations of key safety assets that may be critical to an effective emergency response, including AEDs and Safety Kits.
CampusOptics is a modern, cross-functional EH&S platform that helps higher education institutions manage, monitor, and measure campus safety and compliance activities and outcomes. The CampusOptics platform provides a single source of truth for campus safety data, offering the flexibility to address a wide array of EH&S, Fire and Life Safety, and Emergency Management needs.
Identifying safety and compliance issues and mitigating risk is a responsibility that must be shared by everyone in the campus community. CampusOptics’ unlimited user license and flexible permissions allow EH&S professionals to distribute responsibilities, improve collaboration, meet compliance requirements, and enhance campus safety culture.
CampusOptics dedicated mobile application and intuitive design allow users to access information and perform the following key functions from virtually anywhere:
- Update Chemical Inventory
- Access Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
- Track Hazardous Waste Pickups
- Map Safety Asset Locations
- Conduct Inspections
- Log and Remediate Safety Issues
- View Pre-Plan Documentation
- Record Drill Activities
- Access Permits
To get the big-picture view of campus safety and learn how to overcome your institution’s EH&S challenges, contact us today!