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Senior Safety Advisor

Columbia University EH&S
New York City, New York (US)
Commensurate with experience and education.
Closing date
Nov 21, 2021

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Field of specialization
Health & Safety
Work Function
Health / Safety
Job Type
Full time
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Reporting to the EH&S Senior Manager or Manager of the Research Safety Program, the Senior Safety Advisor will, along with a team of health and safety professionals, proactively build relationships with University and University-affiliate research personnel to facilitate the delivery of high-quality safety services and guidance across a broad range of disciplines throughout the University’s expansive research enterprise and multiple campuses. The Senior Safety Advisor will maintain a client-focused approach and be accountable for assessing research safety procedures and practices and developing creative, sustainable and compliant solutions that meet the operational needs of research personnel and are consistent with University standards and best practices. Through collaborations with EH&S colleagues and various University stakeholders and affiliates, the Senior Safety Advisor will ensure effective and efficient implementation and management of biological, chemical and radiation safety program elements in alignment with the Research Safety Program Strategic Plan.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Assist EH&S Senior Manager or Manager in on-boarding new Safety Advisor staff.
  • Proactively identify new safety, environmental and/or laboratory sustainability program needs and refine the program strategy, lead its implementation and oversee its continued success.
  • Oversee the laboratory safety, hazardous materials and hazardous waste management, and research compliance survey program; including primary interface with Principal Investigators and senior laboratory staff, and follow-up/closure visits. Perform comprehensive laboratory safety surveys, as well as quarterly laboratory audits for radioactive materials use and inventory verification.
  • Perform chemical and non-chemical exposure assessments/monitoring of various laboratory and non-laboratory activities and assist in making appropriate recommendations for exposure minimization (i.e., product substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, personal protective equipment, etc.) and perform follow-up to ensure recommendations have been implemented and are effective.
  • Enhance the University’s sustainability plan through active engagement with University stakeholders including developing multimedia tools for educating University personnel regarding waste reduction and proper waste segregation and recycling and monitoring their practices.
  • Manage the University-wide chemical fume hood program, including ensuring face velocity measurement and certification is performed in accordance with the chemical fume hood certification schedule, as well as upon request and following maintenance or repair, and ensure all certification data is entered into EH&S database.
  • Respond and participate in emergency responses in laboratories and administrative buildings (hazardous materials, indoor air quality, water intrusion and mold assessments) both during and outside standard business hours. Assist in proactively communicating ongoing status, resolution and detailed reports to all affected parties.
  • Support the Academic Machine Shop and Respiratory Protection programs.
  • Assist with vendor-based hazardous waste activities as needed by ensuring transfer, storage and disposal of laboratory wastes comply with University policies and government regulations.
  • Oversee the development and presentation of training, data and outreach materials to inform University research community and partners (e.g. Facilities, Public Safety, etc.) of relevant safety programs and conditions to advance University safety culture. Inclusive of, but not limited to, regular monthly trainings and specialized topics and sessions for University groups.
  • Manage inspection readiness program for assigned laboratories, including development of internal laboratory profiles and electronic database record-keeping.
  • Perform accident/incident investigations across all University operations, conduct root cause analysis, propose and lead corrective actions implementation effort for accident prevention.
  • Assist in documentation and recordkeeping for various programs.   
  • Oversee the hazardous materials clearance program in laboratories and assist in mobilizing EH&S resources and interfacing with Facilities Operations, and Capital Project Management throughout a project’s lifecycle, as needed.
  • Assist in the inventory, management and maintenance of university industrial hygiene equipment, including scheduling and training of applicable staff in proper use.
  • Develop professional contacts at peer institutions with staff performing similar activities.  Be able to expand skill set to assist other program areas (Biological/Radiation) and provide cross-coverage in these areas, as necessary. 

    Qualifications:  Bachelor’s degree required (scientific discipline such as Chemistry, Biology, or Engineering preferred).  3 or more years of relevant experience in environmental health and safety is required, preferably in a laboratory environment.  Appropriate combination of education and experience, meeting Columbia University criteria, may be considered in lieu of 3 or more years of experience.

    Additional Position-Specific Minimum Qualifications: 

    Ability to work both independently and collaboratively, as a member of a team; ability to facilitate effective operational integration, collaboration and teamwork within EH&S and Columbia University; ability to prioritize and effectively manage multiple tasks and exercise good judgment in managing time; ability to establish and maintain professional, collaborative, service-oriented, cooperative and effective working relationships with students, faculty, staff, unions, customers, the public, regulatory agencies and co-workers through practical and positive communication; ability to operate  industrial hygiene/environmental equipment and information technologies, including advanced database, spreadsheet, presentation design software and word processing editing features; ability to understand, interpret and convey measurements, data, standards and hazardous materials information; strong written communication skills, including the ability to write clearly and actively on complex topics and to convey risks effectively; ability to simplify guidance for students and staff, and to prepare thoroughly documented technical reports, excellent oral communication and presentation skills, including the ability to prepare professional-quality presentations, speak clearly and engagingly about complex issues before small and large groups of diverse audiences; ability to stand, walk, and negotiate occasional awkward work locations and paths of travel; ability to work in a variety of physical environments, including outdoors and inclement weather/temperature; ability to periodically perform short duration physical exertions, including light-medium weight lifting, pushing/pulling, stair or ladder climbing, etc. in support of a safety investigation, area or operations surveys, decommissioning or emergency response; ability to wear a respirator and other personal protective equipment.

    Preferred Qualifications:  PhD preferred. Knowledge of the structure of occupational and environmental health and safety activities related to biomedical or academic research is desired.  Safety training experience preferred.  OSHA 40 hour HAZWOPER certification preferred; RCRA and DOT certifications a plus.

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