The roots of Environmental Health and Safety at Princeton can be traced to 19th century public health measures to improve sanitation and stop the spread of infectious disease. Even as efforts to prevent illness and workplace injury gained momentum in the early 20th century, little thought was given to mitigating risks in the research environment until the dawn of the Cold War era. The history of EHS and University Health Services began to part ways in the 1950s, when federally-mandated health physics programs were put in place to combat risks associated with radioactive materials.
The timeline is viewable below in graphical and web-based versions. A downloadable PDF of the graphical version is viewable here.
Federal funding requires new environmental health standards leading to Health Physics Section overeseeing radiation safety.
In 1961 Princeton University established the Radiation Safety Committee (RSC) to manage and oversee the use of sources of radiation by its researchers.
After a string of lab accidents in the mid to late '60s, ad-hoc Committee on Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology makes recommendation of a full-time, permanent industrial hygienist. Jack Faust is named Director of Environmental Health.
1970 dec 29
The act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
1971 sep 30
In a letter from President Robert Goheen, the Office of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) is created with Faust as director. The new office overseeing workplace and research safety programs is housed on Forrestal Campus.
The Subcommittee on Biohazardous Research is established, later renamed the Institutional Biosafety Committee.
Committee on Occupational Safety and Health adopts respiratory protection policy.
Jack Faust is succeeded as director by Garth Walters, who oversees expanded initiatives in workplace, biological and lab safety.
In 1997, the name of the office is changed to Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). Oversight is transferred from University Health Services to central administration.
EHS leaves its longtime home on the Forrestal Campus to occupy a new location on Alexander Street near the intersection with Faculty Road.
Committee on Safety and Health renamed Environmental Safety and Risk Management Committee (ESRM) to encompass expanded focus.
Princeton University presented with the American Chemical Society’s 2010 SafetyStratus College and University Health and Safety Award. The annual award recognizes chemical safety programs in higher education demonstrating excellence in training, compliance, waste management, storage, policies and reporting.
In 2013, Walters was succeeded as director of EHS operations by Robin Izzo, who began her Princeton career as an industrial hygienist in 1992. Izzo's title is now Assistant Vice President, EHS, reflecting the expanded role of her position in the University.
A meningitis outbreak prompts an expanded public health role for EHS, working in tandem with University Health Services and other departments on campus.
Princeton EHS awarded the Complete Safety Award of Honor at the CSHEMA 2018 Annual Conference in Baltimore. The Complete Safety Award of Honor is the highest institutional honor awarded by CSHEMA, the pre-eminent organization serving the EHS community in higher education.
EHS participates in OSHA’s Safe+ Sound campaign, earning national exposure for our “You’ve Been Caught” promotion focusing on giving thanks and recognizing workers for following safe practices.
The coronavirus pandemic prompts an unprecedented public health effort at Princeton. Robin Izzo becomes de-facto "incident commander" of a comprehensive planning, response and communications effort. EHS takes a lead role in crafting policy, providing PPE and managing other virus mitigation responses around campus.
EHS works with University Health Services and other campus partners in instituting a University-wide testing program and app in 2020, and vaccination compliance and tracking system in early 2021.