Texas Tech University

Departmental Safety Officer

As a Departmental Safety Officer (DSO) at Texas Tech University you serve your department by being an additional safety contact who is familiar with the teaching and research that is undertaken within your department.

Each science and engineering department should have a DSO who is appointed by the Chair of that department. Some colleges may also have a College Safety Officer (CSO) appointed by the College Dean to assist you in your duties to safety. You will also meet on a regular basis with EHS staff who will provide additional support for your safety role.

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Some duties are continual and should be performed when time allows. You should work closely with the faculty of your department to ensure the duties below are met. Your responsibilities include:

  • Perform announced and/or unannounced chemical hygiene and housekeeping inspections, including routine inspections of emergency equipment and document the findings;
    • Department chair and PI/supervisor shall be informed of results of inspections and documentation shall be made available to the Chemical Hygiene Officer upon request.
  • The DSO has the authority to remove any individual from a laboratory and/or take pictures of any individual or area in the laboratory that are not compliant with or following the practices outlined in the University Lab Safety Manual or the Work Area Safety Plan (WASP) for the work area in question
  • Maintain a list of laboratories affected by the CHP and supply this list to EHS when there are updates; and
  • Maintain a list of chemical fume hoods and supply this list to the CHO when there are updates.

Duties during Incidents

As a contact within the department, you often serve as the first point of contact to individuals involved in an incident. An incident is any instance of personnel injury or chemical exposure or major property damage.

  • In the event of damage to property an incident report is to be filled out and submitted to EHS within 24 hours after the incident.
  • Injuries that require or result in medical attention must be reported to EHS immediately.
  • In the event of incident, you should:
    • Perform an initial evaluation of incident and look for possible overexposure;
    • Assess the need for medical consultation/examination;
    • Assess the need for employee medical monitoring;
    • Assist in scheduling medical examinations for personnel;
    • Notify EHS of the need for medical monitoring, consultation and / or examination.

Tools to Help You in Your Role as DSO

These tools are available to assist you in your safety role. Pass them along to your departments!

Do you address new students each year? Want EHS to come present with you or for you? Request a safety talk from us by completing the online form.

  1. Visit our Tools & Templates web page for:
    1. WASP and SOP templates compliant with the CHP
    2. Risk assessment guide and worksheets
    3. Posters covering safety topics (don't have the right paper - email us to request the posters you want!)
    4. Lab safety survey checklist
  2. Visit our Standard Operating Procedures web page for SOPs prepared by EHS (so you know they're good). Current topics include hygiene, equipment, waste, biological and chemical hazards. You can request Word document version to tailor them to to your work area.
  3. Visit our Lab Forms page to find Chemical Barcode Request and Return forms and Equipment Decontamination Forms. 
  4. Like videos? Visit our Safety Videos page for videos on different safety topics. 
  5. You can request Lab Safety Services at any time. This includes fume hood assessment, equipment clearance, a guest speaker to your department and more!
  6. Have a question? Visit the FAQ page. Don't see it there? Email us directly.