Research News

Chemical safety and hazardous waste team supports researchers; EHS launches new data management system

Vanderbilt has established a chemical safety and hazardous waste team as part of ongoing efforts to build a research-focused Environmental Health and Safety department at the university.

All chemical safety and hazardous waste support services were transitioned from Vanderbilt University Medical Center to the university in July, in accordance with the university’s announcement earlier last year. The creation of a laser safety program and appointment of a certified laser safety officer, as well as the creation of a biological safety team, followed last fall.

“Our efforts to build a world-class research safety culture at the university continue with the establishment of our chemical safety and hazardous waste team,” said Andrea George, assistant vice chancellor for environmental health, safety and sustainability. “The members of this team bring a tremendous depth of experience and professionalism to their roles. They will no doubt strengthen the safety support as well as communication and collaboration between our department and Vanderbilt’s research community.”

The chemical safety and hazardous waste team currently includes four members. Three of those members joined the university in late 2022:

Stephen Trundy, senior safety officer for hazardous waste, joined EHS after six years in the medical center’s Office of Clinical and Research Safety, where he was manager for Vanderbilt’s hazardous chemical waste. Trundy is a certified hazardous materials manager with more than 18 years of experience as a safety and environmental coordinator at universities and seven additional years in industry. He holds a bachelor’s in biology and chemistry from the University of Arkansas.

Joe Hegarty, safety officer for chemical safety, joined EHS after three years as an occupational safety specialist with the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Hegarty also has more than a decade of experience as a lab chemist and research assistant. He holds a bachelor’s in chemistry from Temple University.

Cameron Taylor, safety officer for chemical safety, joined EHS after eight years as a safety, health and environmental coordinator in industry. Taylor holds a master’s in environmental health and safety from the University of Wisconsin and a bachelor’s in environmental health from Illinois State University.

Steve Gild, senior safety officer for environmental compliance, has been at Vanderbilt since 2007. Gild has more than 25 years of experience in environmental management and is a certified hazardous materials manager. He holds a master’s in environmental science from Tennessee State University and a bachelor’s in natural resource management from Michigan State University.

The team works in close collaboration with the university’s Chemical Safety Committee, comprised of faculty, staff and administrators charged with ensuring that hazardous chemicals are used safely in research and teaching lab spaces and activities across the university and that Vanderbilt remains in compliance with local, state and federal regulations.

“Reducing risk and ensuring safety across Vanderbilt’s vital research enterprise is paramount,” said Bridget Rogers, chair of the Chemical Safety Committee and associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. “As a faculty member and researcher, I enthusiastically support this transition and look forward to further collaboration between the new team and the Chemical Safety Committee.”

In addition, a wealth of materials has been developed to support Vanderbilt researchers, including a new chemical hygiene plan, chemical safety protocols, a hazardous waste guide, an online training module available in Oracle Learn, a document library that includes program guidance, quick sheets, signs, posters and more. Learn more about the resources on the EHS Chemical Safety and Hazardous Waste webpage.

New EHS data management system launches

Environmental Health and Safety has launched a new data management system with the goals of improving data accuracy and transparency, enhancing efficiency and reducing administrative burden.

EHS Assist is a comprehensive, user-friendly online information portal that will help Vanderbilt researchers manage their safety and compliance responsibilities as well as hazardous research material and equipment information. Teams have been working behind the scenes to populate the EHSA system with the university’s existing hazardous material safety data.

Researchers can use EHSA to manage hazardous material and safety information in the following ways:

  • Access safety data sheets
  • Update the users, locations and inventories of hazardous research materials, such as chemicals, radioactive materials, lasers, biological materials and more
  • Track lab members’ EHS training completion, which is updated daily from Oracle Learn
  • Order radioactive materials
  • Respond to investigation findings
  • Request chemical or radioactive waste collection services and supplies

Researchers: What you need to know

For more information about Environmental Health and Safety at Vanderbilt, visit