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  • Writer's pictureTom Petersen

The Need for Robust Environmental, Health and Safety Strategies in Higher Education

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

The two-year pandemic has forced education institutions to take a close look, revamp and then revamp again their Environmental, Health and Safety (EH&S) strategies. COVID-19 upended stagnant policies and required all to create new policies based on constantly changing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other state and local agencies. In some instances, other EH&S procedures have taken a back seat, despite their significance to the well-being of students, faculty, and staff.

If you haven’t already, now is a good time to review and renew your EH&S policies. Robust policies and procedures protect your stakeholders from EH&S risks, ensure alignment with your institution’s mission and goals, and are critical in times of crisis. These policies — and their implementation — signal a commitment to ensuring the health and safety of your stakeholders and to minimizing your impact on the planet.

Here are some areas to focus on:

  1. Prioritize OSHA compliance and training

  2. Conduct regular health and safety inspections and address issues that come up in a timely fashion

  3. Engage your faculty and staff regarding their EH&S experiences, needs and recommendations through surveys and facilitated sessions

  4. Develop lab safety and environmental compliance training programs, to be delivered on your institution’s online platform

  5. Encourage open and regular communication about progress, issues, risks, and opportunities

  6. Keep on top of emergency response planning.

There is also tremendous opportunity for transparency, innovation, and continuous improvement. Consider monitoring and reporting on your EH&S performance, encouraging dialog and personal accountability among your stakeholders, and keeping an eye out for new processes and technologies that can improve your performance.

EES is currently acting as the Health and Safety Officer for a private university and helping them to create their first comprehensive EH&S Policy. A sound EH&S Policy can ensure compliance with local, state, and federal regulation, minimize your impact on the environment, and improve health and safety for your students, faculty, and staff. We’re available to help you assess your current EH&S situation and recommend next steps for building a healthier and safer environment. For more information, contact Tom Petersen at



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