Director, Office of Academic and Research Safety

Northeastern University
Massachusetts, United States
Salary Not specified
Posted Date
May 16, 2022

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Position Type
Administrative, Academic Affairs, Research Administration
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

Director, Office of Academic and Research Safety

About the Opportunity

Position Summary:

The Director of the Office of Academic and Research Safety reports to the Associate Vice Provost for Education and Research Safety and is tasked with directing the overall safety and compliance program as the leader of the Office of Academic and Research Safety (OARS). Provides strong and visible leadership to the OARS professional and administrative staff, research and teaching faculty, researchers, teaching assistants, employees of the student health center, Northeastern students, and other applicable stakeholders across all Northeastern campuses in the design, implementation and performance monitoring of education and research safety management systems and programs. Responsible to develop and execute the university's strategy for reducing and preventing education and research related occupational injuries and liability claims. Directs the development of laboratory safety/operational standards, procedures and policies and leads the implementation of these systems and programs to improve the university's ability to meet industry safety / compliance standards and promote the Northeastern safety beliefs and principles. Provides process safety support and compliance assistance to faculty, staff, and students to resolve safety related challenges associated with educational and research activities. Support and provide consultation for design, construction, and renovation of laboratory space and major science and engineering capital projects. Responsible for the hire, evaluation, performance improvement, and promotion of qualified, professional staff.

As the university expert for education and research safety at Northeastern, the Director of OARS' primary responsibilities include, but are not limited to, directing safety activities associated with all academic activities and student- held events as well as providing safety and compliance consultation to Principal Investigators (PIs)/researchers across all campuses to include protocol review of complicated research processes associated with the use of chemicals, biological, radioactive materials, hazardous energy, and equipment. Provides direct guidance and promotes best practices for hazardous materials and equipment. Directs the compliance activities associated with the management and disposal of hazardous, radioactive, and biological waste generated in laboratories and the student health center. Provides supervision and oversight of departmental efforts concerning the identification and reduction of hazardous material exposure associated with education and research activities to include the compliant use of respiratory protection in education and research settings. Along with directing the education and research safety management platform, the Director of OARS provides oversight and collaborates with stakeholders on the implementation of security initiatives to ensure chemicals, biological agents, and radioactive materials are safely secured within appropriate storage/use locations

The Director of OARS is the focal point and liaison with Northeastern's satellite campuses located in and outside the Boston area and will coordinate education and research safety and compliance activities with satellite campuses to ensure consistency of safety programs and monitor the compliance effort. The Director of OARS will be expected to be familiar with applicable state and local regulations in the satellite campus's area of operation.

The Director of OARS is responsible for evaluating and making recommendations on improving the effectiveness of Northeastern's current College Safety Officer and Departmental Safety Officer lab management structure and is responsible for the strategic planning of the office to include appropriate management of a significant office budget and the development of a living master plan that allows the office to keep pace with the growth and advancement of Northeastern research.

The Director of OARS will participate, as needed, with the Northeastern Emergency Response Team, and regularly be on-call outside of regular business hours to assist with the response to laboratory accidents involving chemical, radiological, and biological material releases and will provide written evaluations of biological releases and accidents and be responsible for restocking supplies used in spill clean-up.


Master of Science degree required in one of the physical sciences, life sciences, environmental science, engineering, applied health science or other applicable degree.

Minimum of 15 years' demonstrated experience working in an academic (preferred) or industrial research environment with increasing responsibility for compliance with occupational, environmental, and safety programs.

7 years of demonstrated experience incorporating applicable federal, state, and local regulatory requirements and best management practices into all education and research laboratory activities.

7 years of experience leading the development and implementation of multi-faceted safety programs at all levels of an organization.

7 years' demonstrated experience supervising professional/support staff. Proven ability to lead a team, as well as participate as an active team member conducting professional level safety consultation.

Comprehensive knowledge of environmental and chemical, radiological, and biohazardous material/waste principles as well as ability to understand and interpret complex written federal, state, and local regulations and technical reports. Knowledge of applicable state and local regulations in the satellite campus's area of operation to include or ability to identify and become knowledgeable in applicable state and local regulations in the satellite campus's area of operation,

Demonstrated experience with reviewing complex research protocols that utilize radioactive materials, radiation producing equipment, biohazardous materials, chemicals, and high-risk laboratory equipment. Capable of engaging PIs to ensure additional identified safety measures are included in the protocol before start-up.

Proven expertise in understanding engineering safety controls to support planning for new or renovated laboratories and capital projects is essential. Familiarity with laboratory design and code requirements for safety control systems. Experience with the design, construction, and management of a BSL-3 facility preferred.

Proven experience with assessing process safety within a research laboratory that utilizes extremely hazardous chemicals, radioactive materials, radiation producing equipment, and biological agents categorized at BSL1 - BSL3

Proficient with the use of standard computer software packages including Microsoft Office Suite (Excel, Word, Access, PowerPoint, SharePoint, Teams, and Outlook) in performing work assignments and collaborating with colleagues.

Experience with Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as BlackBoard, Canvas, or other risk management platform (such as BioRaft), to implement safety training and other safety program management needs.

Excellent communication, coordination, and customer service skills. Excellent time and project management skills, including planning, prioritizing, and scheduling multiple ongoing projects including the ability to delegate to direct reports.

Be medically qualified to wear respiratory protection and other personal protective equipment as well as lift to 50 lbs.

Work in a variety of physical environments where hazardous materials or equipment are in storage or use.

Required Credentials: Certified Hazardous Material Manager, Certified Industrial Hygienist, or Certified Safety Professional, other applicable professional certification considered.

Job Responsibilities:

Regulatory Compliance (10%)

Maintain regular contact with local, state and federal regulatory agencies to consult on education and research safety matters. Act as University liaison on inspections by federal, state, and local regulators. Keep appraised of current and future changes in applicable federal, state, and local regulatory requirements pertaining to education and research safety.

Education and Research Safety Programs: (35%)

Provide leadership, guidance and support to operational initiatives in accordance with University plans to advance a safety culture on all campus locations. Advises management on latest developments in all areas of responsibility and on actions and progress towards meeting the goals and objectives in those areas.

Oversee efforts by the OARS team in consultation with college/department level managers (deans, chairs, program directors) on safety compliance status of laboratory research and teaching operations.

Oversees the College and Departmental Safety Officer Program , Responsibility includes: Ensuring all Colleges and Departments are represented, development of officer job descriptions and qualification requirements, regular review of the program, and recommendations for improving the program to include cost associated the improvement strategy.

Work collaboratively with Facilities Planning and other leaders within Facilities Services to ensure renovations and capital projects meet all environmental health and safety guidelines and best management practices. Review all education and research construction projects to determine the extent of EH&S involvement required. Either assign an EH&S staff member or serve as primary liaison or reviewer for the project.

Direct efforts of the OARS team in establishing programs for conducting hazard analysis, industrial hygiene assessments, safety audits, and draft performance reports on a regular basis as required by the Associate Vice Provost of Education and Research Safety. Collect, interpret, and present compliance and incident trends associated with the laboratory safety program.

Oversee accident and incident investigations for reported incidences occurring in academic and research spaces.

Monitor and operate as the focal point and liaison with Northeastern's satellite campuses located outside of the Boston area. Coordinate education and research safety compliance activities with satellite campuses to ensure consistency of safety programs and monitor the compliance effort.

Responsible for the implementation of the Respiratory Protection Program within the education and research areas.

Responsible for evaluating and continual improvement of Northeastern's current College Safety Officer and Departmental Safety Officer Program.

Leadership Responsibilities: (40%)

Hire, evaluate performance, guide performance improvement, and contribute to the profession growth of a highly qualified and diverse office comprised of professional and administrative staff.

Develop and implement a strategic plan for OARS. Revisit and update the plan as needed and based on university education and research initiatives.

Collaborate with the Associate and Assistant Director to conduct ongoing long-range planning to identify and implement new programs and policies to ensure compliance with changing governmental guidelines and regulations, achieve performance goals, and pursue best management practices.

Provide general support to other broader EH&S programs directed and managed by other university departments to include Facilities Services, Student Affairs, and Academic Colleges and Departments. Maintain knowledge of state-of-the art concepts and issues regarding potential exposure or compliance concerns within the field of environmental health and occupational safety especially with teaching and research institutions.

Direct the strategic efforts of senior OARS staff responsible for the day-to-day management of radiation safety, biosafety, and chemical safety programs. Work directly with and oversee the regulatory program development/implementation to include the development and delivery of effective training programs. Oversee work performed by the Associate and Assistant directors and indirectly manage other professional staff members at the manager level and lower and co-op students.

Plan, prepare and administer department budget to achieve university objectives and essential functions and responsibilities.

Manage employee schedules to ensure adequate safety coverage in all compliance areas during regulator office hours and during off hours holidays, and vacations. Approve time sheets of direct reports.

Assist the University's Occupational Safety Program Manager providing applicable information to coordinate work involving respiratory protection, ergonomics and other related programs.

Hazardous Waste Management and Environmental Collaboration: (10%)

Direct OARS efforts for managing all chemical, biological, and radioactive waste generation and disposal in education and academic laboratories.

Collaborate with the university's Environmental Program Manager providing applicable information to achieve compliance with applicable environmental compliance standards across the university.

Contribute to the University's emergency response capabilities, plans (Contingency Plan) and capability in the event of a hazardous material or waste release.

Other Duties (5%)

Contribute to the University's emergency response capabilities, plans (Contingency Plan) and capability in the event of a hazardous material or waste release.

Participate in emergency response procedures in the event of laboratory or facility incident with hazardous materials. Be prepared to be on-call for emergency assistance during non-office hours.

Other duties as assigned by the AVPERS or delegate.

Position Type

Legal and Regulatory Administration

Additional Information

Northeastern University is an equal opportunity employer, seeking to recruit and support a broadly diverse community of faculty and staff. Northeastern values and celebrates diversity in all its forms and strives to foster an inclusive culture built on respect that affirms inter-group relations and builds cohesion.

All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

To learn more about Northeastern University's commitment and support of diversity and inclusion, please see

To apply, visit jeid-1fc203e37901554bb76ac196947f880d

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