History of EHS

The Office of University Safety was formed on January 1, 1989 and reported directly to the Office of the Provost, as it does today. Prior to that time, departments responsible for occupational and environmental health and safety at Yale were spread across campus in smaller groups. The reorganization initially included the Departments of Biological Safety (including environmental safety), Chemical Safety and Radiation Safety. The Department of Occupational Safety was renamed the Division of Physical Safety and was later moved from the Human Resources Department to the Office of University Safety. The reorganization tasked the Office of University Safety with being responsible for enforcement of University and governmental safety regulations and the development and improvement of safety training programs for faculty, staff and students.

In June of 1991, these groups came together in a centralized location at 135 College Street, Suite 100 and the department eventually renamed Yale’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). We consider June 1991 to be the date when Yale EHS was created.

Shortly after, the Environmental Affairs Section was formed to bring together regulatory and compliance experts as well as staff to manage the disposal of all hazardous and otherwise regulated waste on campus. The Environmental Affairs Section is located in Wright Lab West, Room 393, at 268 Whitney Avenue.

The EHS staff has since grown to roughly 60 people. In calendar year 2016, it provided some aspect of safety training, whether instructor-led, online or self-study, to more than 30,000 members of the Yale Community.

Other important events and dates in EHS’ history include:

  • The establishment of the Joint Health and Safety Committee in 1989.
  • The creation of the Safety Advisor program in 2001.
  • The expansion to health and safety services at West Campus following the University’s purchasing of the land in 2007.