Chemical Safety Officer

Hyde Park Campus, Chicago, IL.
Salary negotiable, depending on experience
Sep 24, 2019
Oct 24, 2019
Job Type
Full time


Office of Research Safety


The Chemical Safety Officer for the Office of Research Safety is responsible for providing input into University-wide chemical safety standards, policies, and procedures as a key member of the research safety community in addition to providing input on the allocation of roles and responsibilities for chemical hygiene between the Office of Research Safety, Environmental Health and Safety (Hyde Park campus and the UC Medical Center), the divisional Laboratory Safety Specialists and laboratory research teams. The Chemical Safety Officer is responsible for managing and providing technical guidance, training, and inspective/risk analysis of the University of Chicago’s Chemical Hygiene Plan to ensure a safe environment in which to facilitate research and the pursuit of academic excellence. Chemical Safety includes the delivery of chemical hygiene services to all facilities involved in research for both laboratories and lab support areas. The Chemical Safety Officer reports to the Associate Vice-President of the Office of Research Safety.

Job Family

Legal & Regulatory Affairs

Responsible for providing advice and services to University officials on legal issues associated with the University’s activities, including transactional and intellectual property matters, policy formulation and compliance, employment and student issues, and pre-litigation dispute resolution. Represents the University’s interests in administrative and judicial proceedings. Holds primary institutional responsibility for establishing and maintaining relationships with regulatory and other governmental entities, and establishing and maintaining related compliance policies and protocols.

Career Track and Job Level

Environmental Health & Safety

Designs, develops, and implements environmental, health, and safety programs and procedures for the University and the surrounding community. Enables effective and compliant work practices that ensure a healthy and safe educational and work environment. Ensures that all facilities are in compliance with regulations, and directly engages state and federal workplace safety agencies.

P2: Requires knowledge and experience in own discipline; still acquiring higher-level knowledge and skills. Builds knowledge of the organization, processes and customers. Solves a range of straightforward problems. Analyzes possible solutions using standard procedures. Receives a moderate level of guidance and direction.

Role Impact

Individual Contributor


The job participates in the development and implementation of programs and procedures that promote healthy and safe educational and work environments for the University and the surrounding community. Acquires higher-level job-related skills and builds working knowledge of the University's environmental health and safety processes.

1) With a moderate level of guidance, interprets University environmental health and safety standards to assist in the design and implementation of programs. Ensures legal compliance and develops procedures. Monitors and evaluates health and safety concerns., 2) Plans and executes surveys, audits, and inspections of instruments, laboratories, and other facilities to ensure compliance with government and University policies and procedures. Analyzes data and initiatives immediate corrective action plans and follow-up to ensure implementation., 3) Performs risk analysis on the University's environmental and occupational health and safety programs and implements alternatives or improvements to current programs., 4) Performs other related work as needed.


Unit-specific Responsibilities

1) Conducts annual and follow-up Laboratory Reviews and immediately takes steps to abate hazards that may pose a risk to life or safety upon discovery of such hazards.

2) Ensures compliance with all components of the Chemical Hygiene Plan according to OSHA, federal and state regulations.

3) Helps develop and implement appropriate chemical hygiene policies and practices; Works with PIs and lab groups to develop and review SOPs for processes using hazardous chemicals.  

4) Manages all chemical safety support, collaborating with the Radiation and Biological Safety groups of the Office of Research Safety, the Animal Resource Center, and Environmental Health and Safety, as needed.  

5) Informs PIs of chemical-related health and safety requirements and assists with the selection of appropriate safety controls, including engineering controls, laboratory and other workplace practices and procedures, training, and personal protective equipment;  Works with the Environmental Health and Safety and Office of Research Safety to monitor adherence to training requirements and inform PIs about non-compliance.  

6) Works collaboratively with Environmental Health and Safety and Divisional Laboratory Safety Specialists to develop, implement and maintain a chemical inventory and monitoring program. Identifies and monitors corrective action plans.

7) Works collaboratively with Environmental Health and Safety and Divisional Laboratory Safety Specialists to ensure that laboratory personnel are cognizant of and compliant with procedures and policies set forth in the Chemical Hygiene Plan.

8) Assesses the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and provides recommendations concerning appropriate selection of PPE based on hazards and a risk assessment. Provides assistance and acts as a resource to institutional (e.g. Institutional Biosafety Committee-IBC) and departmental/institute safety committees (Institute of Molecular Engineering-IME Safety Committee), Laboratory Safety Specialists and laboratory and support personnel.

9) Provide technical expertise and administrative support to the laboratory community in the area of laboratory safety and health, and direct inquiries to appropriate resources.

10) Works with principal investigators (PIs), divisional Laboratory Safety Specialists and departments to monitor procurement and use of chemicals in the labs.

11) Monitors professional literature and attends seminars to stay current with technical advances in the research environment as well as governmental compliance requirements.

12) Works closely with faculty in the realms of synthetic chemistry and synthetic biology to assess risks presented following or during synthetic chemical processes. Collaborates with Environmental Health and Safety, divisional Laboratory Safety Specialists and assists with the coordination of hazardous materials spill response and training.

13) In collaboration with Environmental Health and Safety, assists PIs/Lab personnel with shipping and handling of chemicals or hazardous substances (“Dangerous Goods”). Participates as a member of the emergency response team and responds to hazardous material releases and serves in the appropriate response role based on training and expertise.

14) Develops recommendations to improve the overall chemical hygiene plan. Monitors compliance and provides information and data to both the Office of Research Safety and Environmental Health and Safety in support of regulatory chemical hygiene. 

15) At least annually, reviews and evaluates the effectiveness of the Laboratory Safety Manual and making updates as appropriate.  

16) Reviews assessments and assists faculty, administrative, and academic department staff in assessment of chemical hazards and personal protective equipment (PPE) needs for laboratory research operations Ensures that extremely hazardous substances are appropriately labeled, handled, and stored and that specific standard operating procedures that instruct all personnel in the safe use of these substances.

17) Reviews specific operating procedures developed by principal investigators and department personnel for the use, disposal, spill cleanup, and decontamination of extremely hazardous chemicals and substances are developed and followed.

18) Reviews new research protocols prior to their initiation to determine if hazardous chemicals are used and, if so, to ensure proper measures are taken to protect laboratory personnel. Investigates all reports of laboratory hazard incidents, chemical spills, and near-misses to prevent repeat occurrences.

19) Acts as a liaison between the laboratory and the departmental administrator and, if necessary, bring unresolved and potentially serious health and safety problems to the administrator's attention.


Unit-preferred Competencies

1) Knowledge of federal, state, and local environmental health and safety codes, regulations, and ordinances.

2) Knowledge of basic principles of laboratory safety and chemical hazards.

3) Must be detail oriented and able to prepare documents and/or reports as necessary.

4) Ability to maintain professionalism, credibility and good service delivery practices when dealing with all contacts, internal and external.

5) Ability to remain calm and objective throughout stressful and unpleasant situations.

6) Willingness and ability to make timely, sound decisions and accept concomitant responsibility.

7) Ability to communicate effectively and consistently with others using tact when necessary.

8) Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with the general public and members of the University community.

9) Ability to work with people of various ages and backgrounds and with diverse constituencies, including students, parents, faculty, and staff in the University and the Medical Center.

10) Ability and skill to build consensus and credibility across the campus.

11) Ability to resolve conflicts and manage sensitive emergency situations appropriately.

12) Demonstrated self-restraint in challenging and/or difficult situations.

13) Ability to be on call and available to work nights/weekends/holidays as necessary.

14) Ability to work in inclement weather or weather extremes.

15) Ability to mentally and physically react effectively, quickly, calmly, and rationally during times of conflicts and emergencies.

16) Proven ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of constituencies.

17) High level of writing and presentation skills for both groups and one on one.

18) Knowledge of Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

19) Ability to synthesize complex material to assist decision-making and to communicate priorities.

20) Ability to manage multiple tasks and competing priorities simultaneously.

21) Considerable skill in working both independently and as part of a team.

22) Demonstrated outstanding written, verbal, analytical and interpersonal skills.


Education, Experience, and Certifications

Preferred Qualifications


1) Master’s degree in chemistry, biochemistry, physical chemistry, occupational safety, industrial hygiene, engineering, or one of the life sciences

2) Advanced degree (Ph.D.) preferred


1) Five plus years of experience in a laboratory or related industry (chemical manufacturing, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, research laboratory, etc.).  Experience in Chemical Hygiene/lab safety preferred.

2) Experience, education and/or training in the realms of nanotechnology or synthetic chemistry.


Licenses and Certifications

1) Relevant certifications (e.g., Hazardous Materials Technician or higher classification, certified safety professional, certified industrial hygienist, safety management certificate, qualification in laboratory safety).

2) Capable of obtaining medical clearances for using respiratory protection necessary for HAZMAT response.

3) Valid driver’s license.


Required Documents

1) Resume/CV

2) Cover Letter

3) References

NOTE: When applying, all required documents MUST be uploaded under the Resume/CV section of the application


FLSA Status Exempt

Pay Frequency Monthly

Pay Grade Depends on Qualifications

Scheduled Weekly Hours 40

Benefits Eligible Yes

Drug Test Required No

Health Screen Required No

Motor Vehicle Record Inquiry Required No

Posting Date 2019-06-28-07:00

Remove from Posting On or Before 2019-12-28-08:00


Posting Statement

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.

The University of Chicago's Annual Security & Fire Safety Report (Report) provides information about University offices and programs that provide safety support, crime and fire statistics, emergency response and communications plans, and other policies and information. The Report can be accessed online at:  Paper copies of the Report are available, upon request, from the University of Chicago Police Department, 850 E. 61st Street, Chicago, IL 60637.

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