2.2 Departments, Laboratories and Centers (DLC)

Updated February 23, 2016

The Departments, Laboratories and Centers (DLC) are the primary organizations that implement and maintain sound EHS practices and that assure EHS compliance. (See Chart)

The following sections explain roles and responsibilities for EHS activities within DLCs. A person in a specific role is responsible for certain EHS activities whether by performing those activities or overseeing other in performing those activities. This is intended to provide flexibility to each DLC and the central EHS office to operate in the most efficient and effective manner while defining certain functions that must be performed.

2.2.1 Department Heads/Directors, Principal Investigators and Supervisors

DLC Head/Director - has the primary responsibility and authority of directing and managing the DLC and therefore has final responsibility for assuring sound EHS practices and compliance within the DLC. The DLC Head/Director is ultimately responsible for enforcing consequences arising from poor EHS performance, moderately serious and/or very serious incidents. The DLC's EHS performance evaluation is included in the annual report to the President of MIT and/or to the relevant Dean's Office.  Finally, the DLC Head/Director is responsible for assuring contractors and visitors to the DLC, or acting on behalf of the DLC, are informed of MIT EHS requirements, and that the EHS Office is contacted, as needed, for any EHS concerns introduced by the Contractor/Visitor activities.

Principal Investigator (PI)/Supervisor - is responsible for compliance with EHS regulations and good practices in his or her laboratory or non-research facility and plays a critical role in the function of the EHS-MS. The PI/Supervisor has the responsibility to appoint an EHS Representative to assist in meeting his or her EHS responsibilities. If an EHS Representative is not appointed, the PI/Supervisor also acts as the EHS Representative. In the Department of Facilities and Division of Student Life, the supervisor acts as the EHS Representative. In addition, the PI/Supervisor has the authority and is responsible for:

  • insuring that assigned spaces where hazardous and/or regulated materials or equipment are used and stored are registered in the PI/Space Registration and updated when new hazards are introduced or processes change;
  • attending all required EHS training and assuring that all laboratory or facility personnel under his or her supervision are trained;
  • ensuring assessments are made, procedures established, and engineering controls and personal protective equipment are provided for safe work environment;
  • assuring that EHS inspections are conducted as required, and that any problems identified are addressed;
  • reporting injuries and incidents such as spills, and investigating to determine if action is needed to prevent similar injuries or incidents, contacting EHS Office as needed for assistance.

2.2.2 EHS Coordinators and Representatives

EHS Coordinator - receives authority from and acts on behalf of the DLC Head/Director to carry out EHS programs. The EHS Coordinator provides operational day-to-day oversight of the DLC's EHS-MS requirements. Please refer to EHS Team List for your DLC EHS Coordinator. In addition, the EHS Coordinator supports the EHS Representatives and PIs/Supervisors by providing additional authority and resources to address EHS issues, including regulatory deficiencies, training needs, and other EHS-MS needs. Specific duties of the EHS Coordinator include but are not limited to the following:

  • to serve as Co-Chair and a member of the DLC EHS Committee, and to retain records of EHS Committee meeting;
  • to convene a meeting of the DLC EHS Representatives and EHS Office Lead Contact at least annually and retain a record of the meeting(s). An EHS Coordinator who prefers to meet one-on-one, or with smaller groups of EHS Representatives instead of convening the entire group must work with the EHS Office to determine a sustainable strategy for including the EHS Lead Contact in these meetings.
  • to work with PI/Supervisors to register spaces and associated hazards in the PI/Space Registration;
  • to conduct inspections of DLC spaces, as required by EHS-MS, and to provide follow-up and assistance as needed to address inspection findings;
  • to serve as a contact for DLC EHS concerns, facilitating communication between DLC Personnel and EHS Office staff to address concerns.

EHS Representative - reports to and assists the PI/Supervisor in identifying and addressing EHS issues. The EHS Representative initiates actions where appropriate, and brings issues to the EHS Coordinator and PI/Supervisor when his or her authority is required to address an EHS issue. Note: In the Department of Facilities and Division of Student Life the Supervisor acts as the EHS Representative. Specific duties of the EHS rep include but not limited to:

  • assuring new personnel in the lab/work area complete their EHS Training Needs and complete required training prior to working with hazardous materials or performing hazardous tasks;
  • assisting EHS Coordinator in the maintaining PI/Space registration data (as outlined in section 3.2) and emergency contact information.
  • conducting weekly inspections in registered spaces and communicating the findings to the PI/Supervisor or the EHS Coordinator.

DLC EHS Committee - is a forum for single or multiple DLCs to review and discuss EHS regulations and practices and establish strategies to implement them in the DLC. This Committee is co-chaired by the EHS Coordinator and a senior faculty member, researcher or supervisor from within the DLC. The EHS Office Lead Contact and/or other EHS Team Members also participate in the committee in an advisory role. Each Committee meets annually at a minimum and keeps records of the meetings. In a DLC where the DLC Head / Director wishes to be actively involved with the DLC EHS Committee and act as the committee chair, the DLC's EHS Committee could consist of the DLC Head, DLC EHS Coordinator and EHS Lead Contact. Their meeting(s) that takes place during the course of inspections could be considered to satisfy the requirement for an annual committee meeting if a record is kept. In addition, the DLC EHS Committee provides guidance to the DLC EHS Coordinator and reviews operations within the DLC that may impact compliance with EHS requirements, EHS incidents and EHS-MS documents. DLC Heads/Directors have discretion to determine the extent to which they employ their DLC Committee to oversee EHS performance in their DLC.

2.2.3 Employees and Students

Employees and students are responsible for compliance with EHS regulations and requirements in their research, classroom work areas and residences. Specific responsibilities include:

  • completing EHS Training Needs and taking required training prior to commencing their regulated or hazardous work and duties. Updating the training as required;
  • following established procedures for working safely in the lab or work area;
  • using and maintaining personal protective equipment if provided;
  • reporting work-related injuries or illnesses, incidents such as spills, or near misses to PI/supervisor as soon as possible.

2.2.4 Contractors and Visitors

Contractors and Visitors are responsible for compliance with EHS regulations and requirements, as appropriate, based on their work or activities at MIT.   These requirements may include taking EHS training offered by MIT.  (For more information, see EHS and Security Information for Visitor/Contractor (PDF)).  DLCs are responsible for assuring contractors and visitors they coordinate are informed of MIT EHS requirements, and that the EHS Office is contacted, as needed, re: any EHS concerns introduced by the Contractor/Visitor and their activities at MIT.