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ERIC Number: ED549924
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 137
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2672-6316-2
A Study of Environmental Health and Safety Programs at Research Colleges and Universities
Le, Richard N.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, The Florida State University
Universities and colleges in the United States are vital communities, teeming with people and vast resources. Because of such factors as class schedules, on-going research, tight academic calendars and highly transient populations, these communities function with diverse operations that need a constant degree of normality for maximum effectiveness. Due to the specialized nature of higher education institutions, universities and colleges are vulnerable to a wide range of situations capable of upsetting normal day-to-day operations. For any university or college, the safe operation of campus is essential to the goals of the institution, the quality of the environment, and even its survival. Among higher education institutions, the issue of safety is a broad and encompassing concept but often with no clear lines of responsibility. In contrast to industries, which have special units or groups of people to plan and deal with disruptions or emergency situations, higher education institutions often overlook or even ignore safety concerns. Among most industries, especially those involving work with volatile chemicals or other substances as well as dangerous activities, safety is an essential element of sound management. To address the safe operation of a campus, every higher education institution in the United States has, in one form or another, has an environmental health and safety (EH&S) program. The main principle of an EH&S program is to support and advance the teaching and research activities of the institution through the promotion of a safe and healthy campus, by providing and coordinating services that minimize the risk of occupational illness, injury or environmental contamination. Given the diversity that characterizes the array of colleges and universities in the United States in the 21st century, it is important to know the structure of EH&S programs in higher education institutions and how they are implemented. However, few, if any, studies have been conducted to examine what EH&S programs are comprised of, what role they play in higher education institutions, how they are organized and structured, how they are funded and staffed, and what effect they have on the risk of accidents or the fiscal impact to institutions. This study have determined that for research institutions, the staff and funding of EH&S programs have significant impacts on the safe operation of the institution. In particular, EH&S staff number has a significant impact on the number of reported injuries and illnesses and the number of lost workdays. The study also found that there are two types of organizational structures for EH&S programs: a centralized EH&S program, where all the components are within a dedicated EH&S program; and a fragmented structure where the components are disjointed from one another and would report to the institution's higher administration directly and separately. However, the study found that the EH&S organization structures reporting schemes are not significant in ensuring the safe operation of the institution. Furthermore, the study found that EH&S program expenditures significantly affect the safety goal. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A