Health and safety department formed

In an effort to minimize potentially hazardous conditions for members of the Dartmouth community, the College has created the Environmental Health and Safety Office.

The office will handle a variety of issues including biosafety, disease prevention and employee comfort in the workplace.

The department was created to consolidate into one office the administration of health and safety issues on campus, said Larry Morris, the department’s director.

The move was initiated by Vice President and Treasurer Lyn Hutton and then acting Provost Bruce Pipes.

The department has already introduced a driver’s safety course and has taken steps to notify the College community of the state-wide rabies epidemic, said Morris, who served as the College’s Environmental Health and Safety Specialist before the department was created.

The department will “provide a support group which will lend its services to the Dartmouth community,” Morris said, adding that its benefits would affect everyone involved with the College.

The Environmental Health and Safety Office has also implemented programs pertaining to more specific problems.

By focusing on ergonomics and evaluating computer stations and workplace layout, the office hopes to prevent long term skeletal and muscle problems among members of the College community, Morris said.

Morris said the office has also addressed health issues among athletes.

For ski-patrol members and weight room advisors, the Environmental Health and Safety Office has created training programs to address the issue of exposure to blood-born pathogens.

“The department has provided us with reliable information,” Eric Lawson, the director of strength and conditioning, said.

The Environmental Health and Safety Office also oversees biosafety and radiation regulations as well.

Last summer a Yale professor contracted a severe illness when a rare virus escaped during a laboratory accident. If such an incident were to occur at Dartmouth, it is the Environmental Health and Safety Office which would address the crisis, Morris said.

An advisory committee, on which one undergraduate and one graduate student sit, meets once every month to draft new policies and formulate new ideas.

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