Dr. David Rockstraw of Chemical & Materials Engineering (CHME) and Derrik Wootton from Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) recently presented at the 2017 Campus Safety Health & Environmental Management Association (CSHEMA) Annual Conference. Together they discussed the alliance between CHME and EH&S to establish a positive safety culture at NMSU. Tools and strategies that have been used are CHME Department seminars, a work session with CHME students on laboratory inspection, PPE poster initiative, handling legacy waste, laboratory decommissioning, experimental safety plans, chemical inventory, safety classes within CHME curriculum, and the creation of a Safety Specialist within the College of Engineering.
This collaboration was well received by many EH&S colleagues. “I could not have imagined the reception and engagement that occurred during our CSHEMA presentation Alliance of Faculty and EHS toward Safety Goals,” says Katrina Doolittle, Executive Director for NMSU EH&S. Cheri Hildreth, Director for University of Louisville stated in the open forum “NMSU is the envy of every EH&S represented in the room.” According to Katrina Doolittle, “NMSU was approached by the Director of the Safety Training Consortium asking if it would be possible to videotape Dr. Rockstraw for “leaders that get it” to be used in an upcoming online safety module. We were all a bit surprised at the overwhelming positive response.”
The audience asked NMSU to carry the work forward and help to show the value of incorporating safety into the academic and research activities at universities. Dr. Doolittle and Dr. Rockstraw have agreed to continue the collaboration. In the future, Derrik Wootton will present with Dr. Rockstraw at the SW Regional Chemical Engineering Department Chairs/Heads meeting for the AICHE Fellows Council in Santa Fe.