Recommendations: Institution-Wide Dynamics and Resources
Recommendation 9. The institution establishes a unified administrative reporting model that connects responsibility for development and implementation of academic safety policies. The model should fall under one administrative pillar in the institution and should include faculty, EH&S officers, and administrative leaders.
Tools for Recommendation 9
Following the laboratory explosion at Texas Tech University, the university modified its reporting structure so that EH&S reports to the vice president for research. Their pre- and post-organizational charts are included in the CSB case study on Texas Tech University.
The National Research Council in Safe Science recommended that the EH&S personnel report through “the research management programs, typically at the vice president level or higher—a structure that may better integrate safety management into overall research management” (NRC, 2014).
From Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research (NRC, 2014):
Vice presidents for research and deans of schools and colleges should, in addition to deploying funds in ways that support safety, ensure that the lines of research undertaken by the institution are ones it has the capacity to perform safely. They can make certain that everyone involved in the research enterprise knows their role and responsibilities in supporting safety. They can develop reporting structures that support safety culture; an example would be for senior environmental health and safety (EHS) officials to report through the senior research management programs, typically at the vice president level or higher—a structure that may better integrate safety management into overall research management.
From Texas Tech Laboratory Explosion Case Study (CSB, 2010):
Key Lesson 5. An academic institution’s organizational structure should ensure that the safety inspector/auditor of research laboratories directly report to an identified individual/office with organizational authority to implement safety improvements.