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Environmental Health and Safety Reorganizes to Better Serve Campus

UT Environmental Health and Safety has expanded to better serve the Volunteer community.

The Biosafety Program and the Radiation Safety Department have moved from the Office of Research and Engagement and are now housed under EHS. The changes went into effect July 1.

“This makes our programs more effective, improves communication between our groups, and makes us more timely in our response to researchers and other campus partners,” said EHS Director Sandra Prior. “With all of us together and cross-training, we can increase our capabilities. Previously our customers didn’t know who to go to for assistance because we were distributed. Now they have one place to go.”

In addition to serving researchers, EHS offers a variety of services for the UT community—whether it’s students looking for training on using fire extinguishers or staff seeking help for the ergonomic setup of their work station.

Robert Nobles, interim vice chancellor for research, noted that external reviewers had recommended UT host all safety programs under one division.

“With this reorganization, we are renewing our commitment to the culture of safety on campus while working with the stakeholders to enhance services,” he said.

As part of EHS’s restructuring, several programs have merged, new initiatives have been launched, and some personnel have taken on new or bigger roles to more efficiently deliver services. Some the changes:

  • An automated external defibrillator (AED) center has been created to deliver CPR and first aid programming.
  • The lab safety group has combined with biosafety for a redesigned laboratory safety services unit.
  • The industrial/worker safety and environmental safety unit has split into separate units.
  • Fire and life safety programs, which previously focused on fire extinguishers, now include emergency preparedness and fire-related permitting programs.
  • Management of the Knox Box—a container outside each UT building that gives first responders quick access to a building with a key and a map of the structure—allows for better coordination with the Knoxville Fire Department.
  • Greater collaboration with Facilities Services has been established.

A recent audit noted that Environmental Health and Safety was short on resources and recommended the addition of more personnel. As a result, Prior plans to add 18 new employees over the next three years. Seven of those positions already have been approved for this fiscal year and the hiring process is under way, she said.

EHS’s responsibilities include inspection of all UT research labs, identification of requirements for maintaining a building’s safety systems, hazardous waste management, fire safety, industrial and general safety oversight, environmental compliance, occupational health, training, and technical assistance for the vast array of UT’s safety programs. It is part of UT Public Safety, which also oversees the UT Police Department, the Office of Emergency Management, and UT Clery Compliance.

Faculty-led research compliance committees will continue to report to the Office of Research and Engagement.


Lola Alapo (865-974-1094,

Division of Biology Health, Safety, and Compliance Orientation

Tuesday, August 20, 2019, 2p-4p | Strong Hall. Rm. B001


Download the flyer

The University of Tennessee Health, Safety, and Compliance community would like to welcome you to the Division of Biology. We would like to invite you to an orientation session to introduce and orient new Division graduate students and researchers to relevant programs in health, safety, and compliance. The event is intended to foster interpersonal and programmatic connections. That is, we want to let you know how we can help you in your research path, while providing clear tools and resources to achieve your health and safety responsibilities as new leaders in the UTK community.

  • Meet Your Supporting Departments and Groups
  • Learn About Specific Programs and Offices
  • Come join us to learn more!

CPR-AED Training Opportunities – Summer, 2019

Download the flier here

EHS invites faculty, staff & students to register for CPR/AED and First Aid Training.

You can register for the first aid class separately or at the same time as the CPR/ AED class. If you are taking both parts, simply select your preferred time slot for each.

To Register

To register please contact: Kim Harmon at or 865-974-5084.

Provide your name, building location, department and account number that this class will be charged to. If you will be paying personally please provide your name and building location, and you can pay by cash or check. If you are paying cash come by the Environmental Health and Safety office at 414 East Stadium Hall. Checks can be submitted through campus mail.

Remember, certifications expire after two years.

June and July

Student Union Room 383F

  • Tuesday, June 11th, 9:00am–12:00pm
  • Tuesday, June 11th, 1:30pm–4:30pm
  • Monday, July 1st, 9:00am–12:00pm
  • Monday, July 1st, 1:30pm–4:30pm
  • Tuesday, July 2nd, 9:00am–12:00pm
  • Wednesday, August 7th, 9:00am–12:00pm
  • Wednesday, August 7th, 1:30pm–4:30pm

First Aid
  • Tuesday, July 2nd, 1:30pm–4:00pm


Student Union Room 260

  • Thursday, August 8th, 9:00am–12:00pm
  • Thursday, August 8th, 1:30pm–4:30pm
  • Friday, August 9th, 9:00am–12:00pm

First Aid
  • Friday, August 9th, 1:30pm–4:00pm

Fees for Faculty, Staff, and Students

  • CPR/AED $35.00 Per Person
  • CPR/AED & First Aid $45.00 Per Person
  • First Aid Only $20.00 Per Person

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