DEHS: Making the CCU campus saferby Corrie Lee Lacey
There’s a new department on campus – the Department of Environmental Heath and Safety (EHS), whose mission is to make the Coastal Carolina University campus safer.
The new department is staffed by Greg Weisner, director; Steve Kelsey, fire marshal; Bill Peluso, fire inspector; and Holly Massey, coordinator.
Initiated this past January, EHS is responsible for developing, administering and improving the safety of campus programs, policies and interactions. For the past six months the EHS department has been working nonstop to make the CCU campus safer for faculty, staff, students and visitors.
The EHS team recently set up shop in the Elvington House behind the residence halls, and welcomes the CCU community to stop by or visit its website to learn about environmental heath and safety.
Weisner says safety is truly everyone’s responsibility and requires a united effort from all members of the CCU community.
“We encourage everyone to take part in protecting Coastal by informing our department of any safety concerns or notable hazards,” says Weisner. “Community member support has always been and will remain the best safety tool the University has as a resource.”
The EHS department offers safety-training programs for the entire CCU community.
The Department of Environmental Health and Safety Training Program, developed in accordance with federal, state and local regulations, provides participants with the knowledge and tools necessary to reduce the risks associated with their learning, living and working environment.
Two free, six-month safety training programs are being offered – a 10-hour and a 30-hour program. The programs include training in CPR, bloodborne pathogens, workplace violence, fire extinguisher safety, ladder safety, first aid, even golf cart and utility vehicle operation. Participants who complete the program receive a pocket certificate.
Weisner and Massey, both OSHA authorized trainers, are teaching 40 hours of safety training a month. A variety of departments are already participating, including Special Events, Athletics, Student Health Services and Public Safety. Each session helps participants learn to identify hazards and how to avoid them.
Anyone interested in signing up for a training program can do so at www.coastal.edu/ehs/training/. Registration is now open for training sessions through December.
In addition to providing training, the department promotes common sense personal practices as well. Reporting potential hazards, such as exposed wires or leaky ceilings, is the responsibility of each community member.
“We want the Coastal community to become more ‘safety minded,’” says Weisner. “Public input is an essential key to assisting the University in providing a safer environment.”
The EHS department has also implemented an anonymous online hazard reporting system, where community members can visit the website and report any safety concerns. The website, www.coastal.edu/ehs, also offers safety facts, emergency management info and additional links.
“Ultimately, we want people to go home just as healthy as when they come to work,” says Weisner. “Every day is a potential hazard, whether you’re screwing in a light bulb or driving a vehicle around campus. But the more knowledgeable you are about the potential risks, the safer your environment is. Knowledge truly is power.”
In addition to routine safety, Weisner is also responsible for emergency planning and management, which means making sure that all areas on campus are prepared for emergency situations such as hurricanes or wildfires. Weisner also oversees the safe usage of chemicals and other hazardous materials, ensuring that Occupational Health and Safety regulations are followed.
Before moving to the EHS department, Weisner was assistant director of Judicial Affairs and Off Campus Student Services at the University, and has 18 years of experience in collegiate public safety, including three years as director of Public Safety at CCU.
While it is a new department, Weisner finds EHS very similar to his previous work.
“When I was part of public safety and now as director of environmental health and safety – no matter what position I’m in – I’m committed to ensuring safety on Coastal’s campus,” says Weisner. “Although this department is in charge of emergency management, it’s really everyone’s responsibility to keep this campus safe.”
In addition to the website, more information is available by contacting Massey at 843-450-5018 or firstname.lastname@example.org.