Environmental Health Specialist
University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus - Denver, CO

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Job Summary and Purpose:

This position supports Environmental Health and Safety programs aimed at regulatory and policy compliance assurance, occupational safety and hygiene, and environmental health.

As part of the Environmental Health and Safety Department for the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus, the Environmental Health Specialist provides compliance support to academic and research programs. The position participates in air, water, and area sampling and personnel exposure monitoring; helps develop and conduct training and outreach; inspects laboratories; and audits research, academic, or institutional support activities for compliance to applicable Federal, State, local regulations, professional standards, and funding entity requirements.


1. Acts as the primary liaison for EHS on the DDC campus. On both campuses, performs compliance and safety inspections/audits of UC Denver research and teaching laboratories, shops, and other areas where (environmental or occupational safety and health) regulated operations that pose liability to the institution in the form of fines, injunctions, loss of accreditation, loss of funding; where safety and health hazards pose a human threat; or where there is potential for adverse environmental impacts. This includes assisting with hazardous waste management (i.e., compliance oversight and coordination of hazardous waste pickups for the DDC locations). Communicates compliance findings, conducts compliance assurance follow up measures and corrective action activities. Documents compliance findings and develops or assists with the generation of compliance metrics (includes administration of related databases). Coordinates with other divisions of EHS to support comprehensive compliance programing. Participates in decommissioning and “green tagging” hazard abatement validation efforts.
Percent time: 45%

a. Regular or Ongoing Decisions Made:

  • Decides whether conditions present pose a safety or liability hazard.
  • Decides if policy, regulations, or industry standards are violated.
  • Decides if adverse conditions pose an immediate threat or not.
  • Decides if controls observed in the lab are consistent with institutional compliance guidelines.

b. Typical Problems or Challenges:

  • Must understand the basic nature of the research activities and laboratory processes in order to determine if the appropriate controls and standards are employed. Does this in a complex biomedical research setting (AMC) as well as other more diverse research settings (e.g., engineering, chemistry, or physics labs at Auraria campus)
  • Must also understand the nature of other operations and settings such as workshops, theaters, arts studios, or clinic settings to determine if appropriate regulations and industry standards of safety and compliance are properly employed.
  • Must interact with researchers, faculty, students and staff to communicate the nature of hazards and enforce compliance both orally and in writing, while maintaining good customer relations in difficult, sometimes tense situations.
  • Must be able to evaluate, on a cursory level, diverse engineering (safety) controls as applied to varying operations and buildings.
  • Works in a setting where multiple agencies/institutions share facilities and sometimes must coordinate with non-UC entities to solve problems and ensure compliance at the shared campus.

2. Assists with and/or develops training and outreach materials. These include content and format development for online, written and in-person training delivery. Conducts in person training and outreach presentations. Prepares outreach materials in the form of compliance guidance documents and standard operating procedures. May assist with writing, updating, or editing compliance, safety or training program plans. Conducts and assists with coordination of outreach efforts on the Auraria campus for such EHS activities as safety fairs, vaccination clinics, waste/pharma take back programs, etc. Other examples of outreach and training efforts include (but are not limited to) conducting new employee orientations, student intern safety trainings, TAs training, and presenting at departmental meetings (i.e., administrator meetings, etc.).
Percent time: 25%

3. Provides industrial hygiene and hazardous materials response support for both AMC and DDC locations. Performs indoor air quality assessments. Performs environmental and personnel exposure sampling activities. Assists with spill response activities. Assists with maintaining testing and sampling equipment and instrumentation. Performs tests to assess adequacy of engineering controls designed for worker/student protection. Participates as part of EHS emergency response team member. Assists with respiratory protection program (i.e., conducts fit tests, records management, develops filter change out schedules, ensures appropriate mask type and cartridge for hazard, etc.). Acts as the primary DDC first responder for hazardous materials incidents during normal working hours.
Percent time: 25%

a. Decisions Made:

  • May need to determine or advise first response efforts to hazardous materials incidents using knowledge of the hazards present (based on understanding of chemical/rad/bio uses of the location/operation and his/her technical training in the basic hazardous properties of the chemicals potentially involved.)
  • Decides the appropriate PPE, including respiratory protection for the hazards and measured concentrations of chemicals anticipated - for self and for employees advised during fit testing, training, and hazard assessments.
  • Inappropriate decisions jeopardize the safety of campus community and EHS employees.

b. Typical Problems or Challenges:

  • Must make determinations about the fitness of engineering controls and monitoring or response equipment. Beyond conducting calibrations, must discern if repair of equipment is needed.
  • Assessing the nature of area-specific or activity-specific hazards involves multi-factor (biological hazards, chemical hazards, physical hazards and activity related risks) examination involving understanding of various disciplines.

4. Participates in pre-planning and review efforts to support the reduction or elimination of risk/hazards. Assists senior staff with review of new research protocol to inform needed engineering and administrative controls and ensure that proper personal protective equipment is prescribed. May also assist with cursory reference material and literature review to help assess toxicological hazards and inform appropriate controls. As the primary liaison for EHS on the DDC campus, assists senior staff by reviewing communications and attending planning meetings for proposed moves, new construction or renovations and communicates plans to senior staff keeping them informed of proposed DDC programmatic changes. Interacts with AHEC, Metro State, and CCD representatives on issues of proposed or current programs that can affect safety or compliance and communicates these to EHS management.
Percent time: 5%

Minimum Qualifications:

Experience in two or more of the following: Safety inspections; environmental assessments; laboratory safety programs; industrial hygiene; hazardous materials management; indoor air quality; biosafety; related consumer protection; personnel sampling; radiation safety; laboratory research; environmental sampling; and/or training delivery and design.

Education: BS/BA Environmental Health, Environmental Science/Studies (compliance focus), Industrial Hygiene, Occupational Health or closely related degree. Directly related professional work experience may substitute for education (six or more years directly related experience).

Two years of related work experience (preferably in a similar setting such as biomedical research, higher education institute, research laboratories, pharmacology research or with a health department). Related Master’s degree (e.g., industrial hygiene, environmental studies/science, safety engineering, etc.) may substitute for two years of related experience. To qualify, both undergraduate and graduate degrees must be in a related field. Research or thesis areas, or work study experience may substitute for required one year of required professional work experience if area of research/work and education are in a closely related area of study.

Some foundation in basic chemistry, biology/microbiology, environmental regulatory compliance, and computerized data systems is important.

24-hour or 40-hour Hazardous Waste Operator certification required upon hire or within first year of employment.

Required Competencies: Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Ability to obtain certification as CIH, CSP, or CHMM within 2 years (for CHMM) and/or 5 years (for CSP/CIH) of employment.

Professional and technical writing skills. Strong written and verbal communications skills, interpersonal skills, and customer service perspective. Effective training delivery and presentation skills. Computer literacy and familiarity using database applications for data management and reporting. Ability to use multiple data management computer applications and assist others in obtaining information from these departmental systems (including writing SOP for the systems). Flexible to changing demands and ability to manage multiple tasks throughout the work week. Must be able to work autonomously with minimal oversight. Understanding of auditing principles. Basic knowledge of physical science, chemistry, and cursory knowledge of hazardous materials management (e.g., RCRA generator requirements and chemical compatibility and segregation criteria).

Basic knowledge of the operation of IH/Hazardous materials/environmental monitoring instruments. Basic knowledge of occupational safety and environmental compliance Acts.

Ability to interact with others in a professional setting, remaining courteous even when faced with difficult situations and clients. Must have proven record of positive communication and interpersonal skills.

Preferred Qualifications:

Certification: 28 or 40 hours Hazardous Waste Operator certification upon hire.
Certification as CIH, CSP, or CHMM.

Graduate degree in environmental sciences, industrial hygiene/occupational safety, safety engineering, toxicology, environmental chemistry, or similar area of study.

Previous experience in a research, analytical or other laboratory setting.

To be considered for this position you must complete and submit an application through the University's hiring site: www.jobsatcu.com/postings/76589

About this company
The Environmental Health and Safety Department of the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus is seeking an Environmental...