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George to oversee university’s environmental health and safety function

by Jan. 31, 2020, 11:20 AM

Andrea George, director of Vanderbilt’s Sustainability and Environmental Management Office, has been appointed director of Environmental Health and Safety for the university. In this expanded role, George will oversee environmental, health, and safety management services for university research. In addition, she will continue to oversee campus sustainability efforts, which remain a top priority for the university.

Andrea George headshot
Andrea George (Vanderbilt University)

George joined Vanderbilt 22 years ago and has 18 years of experience in the university’s previous Environmental Health and Safety department working in various research safety oversight roles. She also serves as adjunct professor of civil and environmental engineering in the School of Engineering. George has a doctorate degree in environmental engineering from Vanderbilt, is a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager, and previously served on the Executive Board of the Campus Safety Health and Environmental Management Association.

Eric Kopstain (Vanderbilt University)

“Ensuring that our students, faculty, staff and visitors have a safe work environment and that hazardous materials and equipment are used safely and in compliance with all applicable regulations is of paramount importance,” Vice Chancellor for Administration Eric Kopstain said. “Andrea’s extensive institutional knowledge and background in environmental health and safety roles make her uniquely qualified to take on this expanded role.”

George will serve as the university’s liaison to Vanderbilt Environmental Health and Safety, which is managed by Vanderbilt University Medical Center, for issues pertaining to chemical safety, biological safety, radiation safety and hazardous waste in VU’s research enterprise. She also will implement a laser safety program in collaboration with a Laser Safety Committee and any faculty and staff who use lasers in their research and work.

“I look forward to collaborating with our faculty, staff and students by employing Vanderbilt’s shared governance philosophy to further enhance the safety of our research and innovation enterprise,” George said. “By acting as a facilitator and liaison for the university and Vanderbilt Environmental Health and Safety, together we can further elevate a safe environment for our faculty, staff and students in support of Vanderbilt’s values of immersion and discovery.”

In March 2019, the university formed an Environmental Health and Safety Assessment and Planning Working Group to assess the current status and plan for the advancement of environmental health and safety at Vanderbilt. Recommendations from this group will be implemented with guidance from two new committees—the Chemical Safety Committee and the Laser Safety Committee —which complement the already established Institutional Biosafety and Radiation Safety Committees. The chairs of these four committees will be part of a new Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Governance Committee that will provide a governance structure, leadership and oversight for the various environmental health and safety compliance-related activities for the university. The Chemical Safety Committee and the Laser Safety Committee will ensure that chemical materials and lasers, respectively, are used safely and in compliance with local, state and federal regulations in both research and teaching lab spaces.

These committees were established through the Office of the Vice Provost for Research to ensure faculty governance of environmental health and safety. Many former working group members, including co-chairs Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Mike Perez and Vice Provost for Research Padma Raghavan, will continue to advance environmental health and safety at the university through their participation in these new committees. More information about these committees, including their members, is available on the Office of the Vice Provost for Research website.

More information about these committees, including their members, is available on the Office of the Vice Provost for Research website.

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