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1.2.7 Department Safety Representatives

The Department Safety Representative (DSR) serves a very important function in implementing the Chemical Hygiene Plan and Laboratory Safety Manual within the department. The role of the DSR is to assist the director, unit head, and/or department chairperson meet their responsibilities for safety and compliance as described in the Environment, Health and Safety Policy 8.6.  A detailed description of DSR roles and responsibilities can be found in the separate document –  Department Safety Representative Program.

Laboratory safety responsibilities of DSRs include:

  • Comply with the Environment, Health and Safety policy 8.6 and all other University health and safety practices and programs. 
  • Request and coordinate assistance from EHS and other organizations that can provide guidance, training, and other services to assist laboratory personnel. 
  • Assist directors, unit heads, department chairpersons, supervisors, and individuals within the areas they represent to establish departmental, unit, or facility-wide safety programs, priorities, objectives and targets for safety, health, and environmental performance. 
  • Assist directors, unit heads, department chairpersons, supervisors, and individuals to identify (with assistance and guidance from EHS) if the safety needs for the areas they represent are met (e.g., training, protective equipment, acquisition of safety equipment, and corrective measures including noncompliance items identified in safety inspections). 
  • Encourage the formation of, and participate on college, unit, departmental, and/or facility-wide safety committee(s).  
  • Collaborate with unit Emergency Coordinator(s) on emergency planning efforts, response, and implementation of University Policy 8.3 - Emergency Planning. 
  • Work with EHS to stay knowledgeable about safety, health, and environmental services available, the University health and safety policies and procedures that apply to, and the health and safety issues that occur within the areas they represent.  
  • Communicate to individuals working within the areas they represent about health and safety policies and procedures, including this Laboratory Safety Manual, and the safety, health, and environmental services available to them.  
  • Conduct and/or facilitate routine inspections of work areas in the areas they represent using tools and resources provided by EHS, including participation in EHS Research Area Inspections. Facilitate corrective actions for any issues identified with the support and participation of EHS, including bringing issues of noncompliance to the attention of directors, unit heads and department chairpersons.  
  • Promote safety, health, and environmental training program and workshops (particularly EHS trainings) throughout the areas they represent by distributing fliers and EHS newsletters, and forwarding EHS training announcements and other announcements via email or hardcopy. Inform individuals working in areas they represent about the requirements to obtain necessary training as identified by their supervisor, department, college and EHS.  
  • Serve as a “conduit for information exchange” through facilitation and dissemination of safety, health and environmental information (particularly information sent out by EHS) to all personnel, including visiting faculty and researchers, and student employees, within the areas they represent. 
  • Communicate with supervisors in the areas they represent that all incidents and near misses should be reported and that a written Injury/Illness Report is completed. 
  • Attend EHS training programs (and other safety, health, and environmental training programs and workshops) to increase and maintain knowledge about safety, health, and environmental issues that are applicable to the areas they represent. 
  • Attend University DSR meetings and other college or unit level safety, health, and environmental related meetings and serve as the liaison for the areas they represent at these meetings. 
  • Be aware that changes in chemical use in a particular laboratory may require a re-evaluation of the laboratory ventilation
  • Notify EHS before a faculty member retires or leaves the University or laboratory groups move so proper laboratory decommissioning can occur. For more information, see the Lab Decommissioning Process and Checklist in  Appendix E.