MIT Reports to the President 1996-97


The Safety Office provides advice, counsel, and programs to the MIT community which promote a safe environment. The office also implements safety-related functions to ensure compliance with Institute policies and government legislation.

High voltage training, in conjunction with Boston Edison, was conducted at Lincoln Laboratory, Haystack, LINAC, and in Physical Plant. The Lincoln Laboratory Safety Office was the first to develop and offer this effective program and the MIT Safety Office followed suit. The program received praise by the high voltage electricians attending.

A Fire and Emergency Response Team (FERST) for the campus is still being evaluated. During the year, a significant amount of information relative to having such a team has been accumulated.

An Ad Hoc Environmental Committee was formed by the Safety Office and the Industrial Hygiene Office to explore and act upon Institute environmental concerns. Work continues in this area.

Demolition of Building 16 brought with it some hazardous waste and disposal issues related to drain piping that caused MIT to review and consider new procedures so that we would remain both environmentally conscientious and economically efficient.

Lecture bottle disposal alternatives are being pursued and evaluated. The inventory indicates that there are over 500 lecture bottles to dispose of campus wide.

During the year, MIT contracted with a new insurance carrier for Highly Protected Risk (HPR) and Boiler and Machinery (BM). A Thorough inspection of the various mechanical and fire protection systems of the entire campus was conducted by an inspector from the insurance carrier and a representative of the Safety Office.

This year, new emphasis was placed on off campus sites. Talbot House is in the process of being retrofitted with a special fire protection sprinkler system which will be remotely monitored on campus. Life safety inspections were carried out at Talbot House and an emergency action plan established.

Haystack has developed an active safety committee with some counseling and inspections being provided by the Safety Office. Ongoing assessments continue. Bates LINAC also had safety visits during the year.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) project is near completion. This was done with input from the Safety Office and Industrial Hygiene Office in cooperation with departmental chemical hygiene officers to ensure compliance with DEP hazardous waste regulations. A contractor was hired to install signs and trays, provide a DEP-type mock inspection, provide training, and check manifest records.

Workers' compensation continues to show an increase in Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) despite active and aggressive RSI prevention activities. The RSI Committee, the Medical Department, EMS, and the Safety Office continue to address these issues.

Overall Institute safety needs and regulatory impact continue to be evaluated and programs developed to fill those needs. Ongoing assessments, planning, adjustments, and compliance program development remain a high priority. The Safety Office will continue to work towards a more visible and involved presence in the community.

W. Jerry Diaz

MIT Reports to the President 1996-97