As Johns Hopkins works to convert an old warehouse in the Remington neighborhood into an innovation hub, there's a group on hand to make sure that the new space is safe, comfortable, and up to code when it opens next year. They're staffers in the Department of Health, Safety and Environment, and they're tackling everything from lab design and fire safety to making sure the fumes of the 3-D printer are controlled.
The typical Johns Hopkins employee may best know this department as the one that runs fire drills or picks up chemical waste. But behind the scenes, the HSE group is busy doing inspections and consulting on a vast range of issues affecting the safety and well-being of the entire Hopkins community, whether that's in a research lab, nursing unit, or office.
HSE's expertise runs the gamut from hazardous materials to workplace ergonomics. Its 30-some employees—split between the Homewood and East Baltimore campuses—are in charge of ensuring that all environments within the university and health system are safe and up-to-date with state and federal laws.
Below is a brief introduction to HSE's services, with full details on their offices and programs available on the department's website.
Occupational Safety and Health
- Investigates workplace accidents and injuries and provides unbiased information for compensation claims, working in conjunction with the department's Occupational Injury Clinic and Worker's Compensation Office.
- Working with the university's Office of Institutional Equity, accommodates employees with injuries or disabilities and ensures ADA-compliant workspaces.
- Identifies ergonomic stressors, such as computer setup and office furniture, to find solutions for reducing pain and injuries.
- Responds to issues regarding odors and indoor air quality in workspaces.
- Provides training on respiratory protection and fit testing of respirators.
Laboratory and Research Safety
- Inspects labs at least once a year to ensure safe working environments.
- Conducts assessments for pregnant employees to ensure that materials and environments are safe for prenatal development.
- Collects chemical waste from labs and other areas to ensure its safe and environmentally proper disposal.
- Consults on shipping of potentially hazardous materials, such as biological specimens.
- Works with Johns Hopkins Facilities and Real Estate on the design and outfitting of labs.
Fire and Emergency Safety
- Conducts fire drills and provides training for staff and students on what to do in the event of a fire.
- Performs building inspections and consults on design of new buildings to ensure compliance with fire codes.
- Prepares building evacuation plans.
If you have any specific issues or concerns for your workplace safety or well-being, the best ways to contact HSE are by emailing HSEinfo@jhmi.edu or calling 410-516-8798 for Homewood or 410-955-5918 for East Baltimore. And stay tuned to Hub at Work for future features on the variety of services HSE provides.
Posted in Health+Well-Being