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Award Recipients

In 2018, the Department of Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) and the Department of Chemistry won the “Safety Stratus College and University Health and Safety Award” from the American Chemical Society (ACS), Division of Chemical Health and Safety. The award recognized the joint commitment to chemical safety between the two departments at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The team submitted a comprehensive award package which focused on the collaboration between the Chemistry Undergraduate Teaching Labs and the Chemical Safety section of EHS. Specifically, the submittal package outlined the University’s Chemical Hygiene Plan, Chemical Storage and Chemical Waste Policies, Faculty and Teaching Assistant engagement in chemical safety, Lab Inspection Program components, Incident and Accident Investigation procedures and Laboratory and Chemical Safety Committee structure. In addition to the materials submitted to the award committee, a site visit was required to assess the overall chemical safety program.

After winning the award, the team was invited to present at the ACS National Meeting in Boston. The team was represented by Nita Eskew, Director of Undergraduate Chemistry Labs, and Cathy Brennan, Assistant Director of EHS, and presented on “Fostering a Culture of Safety at UNC-Chapel Hill.” The award is the highlight of many years of collaboration between the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Environment, Health and Safety and serves as an excellent example of Safety Culture at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Performance measurement is a critical part of the EHS management system. Education, customer service and internal processes are the three most essential components of our work. The chart below indicates the performance in these areas over a five-year period with Level Four representing optimum performance. The adjacent tab shows the specific performance activities and the level of that performance for 2018.

Components, Years and Level Completed
Education Customer Service Internal Processes
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 3 4 3 4 3 3 3


  • Trained 1,919 new laboratory employees on Laboratory Environment through online self-study.
  • Trained 817 employees on Formaldehyde to comply with OSHA requirements.
  • Trained 172 employees on Nanotechnology Safety online.
  • Trained 171 employees on Chemical Fume Hoods through online training.
  • Trained 138 employees on Compressed Gas Safety through online training.
  • Trained 25 employees on DEA Controlled Substances through online training.
  • Trained 6,430 employees on Sub-part K Hazardous Waste Management online training.
  • Conducted chemical safety training for incoming Chemistry Department Teaching Assistants, Chemistry 550L undergraduate class and Chemistry 701 graduate class.
  • Utilized Principal Investigator listserv to distribute updates, alerts, laboratory safety news and Lab and Chemical Safety Committee meeting minutes.
  • Helped organize and presented at the second annual EHS lab safety fair in Koury Oral Health Science Building.

Customer Service

  • Reviewed 775 new and/or updated Laboratory Safety Plans and reviewed deficiencies with PIs and Safety Supervisors, ensuring compliance with the University’s Chemical Hygiene Plan.
  • Uploaded 417 chemical inventories into online system and reviewed 433 annual inventory updates as part of Chemical Hygiene Plan compliance.
  • Supported animal care and use in research regulations by participating in satellite facility and semi-annual inspections.
  • Assessed potential chemical exposures by monitoring air concentrations in the breathing zones and laboratory work areas of 11 employees and made suggestions for controls to eliminate/minimize chemical health hazards.
  • Assessed three lab employee work environments as part of the Conceptus Protection Program.
  • Participated in clean-up of chemical spills in campus laboratories as technical experts and members of Emergency Response Core Team.
  • Investigated 14 research laboratory accidents/incidents, evaluated root causes, and provided recommendations for modifications of work operations to prevent future incidents.
  • Generated and delivered lab entrance signs for 515 laboratory rooms.
  • Spoke about the Conceptus Protection Program at the Carolina Women’s Center FMLA program.
  • Participated in and supported on-campus flu clinics.
  • Performed a review on Principal Investigators moving to the new Mary Ellen Jones building who hold a DEA license and informed them that they needed to update their license.

Internal Processes

  • Performed 149 CLIP/Radiation/HazWaste inspections, assessing campus laboratory safety and compliance.
  • Reviewed all 317 IACUC applications, including reviewing and approving Chemical Hazard forms, ensuring research compliance for animal care and use.
  • Verified 28 lab closeouts to ensure lab spaces had been left clean, decontaminated and free of waste.
  • Inspected 1,250 chemical fume hoods and submitted 74 facilities repair requests for fume hoods.
  • Calibrated EHS Departmental thermo-anemometers for use in chemical fume hood face velocity checks during inspections.
  • Participated in and supported EOC activations for OWASA “Do Not Use” incident, Hurricane Florence, Winter Storm Diego, McCorkle Place rallies, and athletic events. Supported UNC-Wilmington in recovery efforts immediately after Hurricane Florence.
  • Launched Subpart K program (reference materials, labels, training, inspections) across campus in response to update EPA Hazardous Waste Generator Rules.
  • Awarded the Division of Chemical Health & Safety College and University award in collaboration with the UNC Department of Chemistry. Presented poster and award presentation at American Chemical Society (ACS) National meeting.