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CCSU is a Small City

By Domenic Forcella

Central Connecticut State University is similar to a small city. Many of the concerns that Mayors and Selectmen have are the same for the University President and his Administrative Staff.

The Office of Environmental Health and Safety which reports to the Chief Administrative Officer at CCSU is charged with a number of tasks. Its overall work includes maintaining a safe and healthy environment for the CCSU community, including students, faculty, staff and neighboring residents.

To do this, the OEHS, in conjunction with University staff, develops the policies and procedures needed to maintain compliance with state and federal regulations, and assist in future environmental programs. In addition to adherence to the laws, OEHS continues to examine ways to keep environmental health and safety as a part of our work ethic.

One area that the University is making great strides is in Environmental Sustainability. A Committee established by President Miller has been working with students, faculty and staff to put CCSU in the forefront of University sustainability programs. President Miller has also joined with other college Presidents in signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.

The campus has had a good start to Sustainability. Custodial supplies are being replaced with “greener” alternatives and a recycling program with materials such as bulbs, oil, metal, paper and electronics is in place and now is being expanded. This will be accomplished by the growth and involvement in projects, activities, and programs campus wide.

More and more recycling containers are appearing throughout the campus. Beyond the easy to grasp concept of recycling, materials purchasing and building design are also included in the campus effort.

The campus Facilities Management Department has responded to the spirit of sustainability by parking its campus vehicles and having its staff walk to their assignments each payday. The OEHS has purchased bicycles for its campus inspections. The construction of a new Energy Center has made CCSU a leader in campus energy management. As the Sustainability effort evolves, more changes will be seen on campus.

The OEHS does not only work on sustainability issues but is involved in a number of other areas on campus. The Office is responsible for managing the hazardous waste generated on campus. While small in quantity, the waste must be managed in compliance with state and federal laws.

OEHS provides for on campus fire safety reviews and the fire protection system maintenance. CCSU is the only CSU University to have a fulltime Fire Marshal on staff. In addition, CCSU was the first university to have a sprinkler system installed in each Residence Hall.

To ensure a safe working environment, the OEHS provides health and safety training for campus staff. It is our goal to have an environment where employees and students are protected as they go about their campus activities. Inspections are also done on a regular basis to make sure everyone is up to date.

While CCSU is like a small city, many of the regulations we must follow are not the same as a homeowner. More of our waste materials need to be managed and handled by certified transporters, not just tossed away. In addition Homeland Security now has campus requirements and a reporting threshold for chemicals of interest.

All of the regulations and the desire for a safe working environment requires a special effort to keep faculty and staff abreast of changes in federal and state requirements and how to address them. When it comes down to workplace safety, it becomes all of our responsibility.
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