EHS is responsible for managing programs that minimize GSU community health and environmental impacts of activities conducted at Governors State University including, but not limited to, asbestos abatement, hazardous waste management, chemical spill response, indoor air quality, and water quality.  Implementing these programs is crucial for safeguarding the well-being of students, faculty and staff, as it ensures a healthy campus environment.

By proactively managing risks associated with laboratories, research facilities, and campus operations, we can prevent accidents, reduce liabilities, and adhere to regulatory standards. Additionally these programs will contribute to the institution's reputation by demonstrating a commitment to sustainability and responsible environmental stewardship.

Staff Directory

Carolyn Johnson, ASP

Director of Environmental Health And Safety
Email: cjohnson33@govst.edu 

Donna Gill

Environmental Health and Safety Coordinator
Email: dgill3@govst.edu

Contact Us

Office: (708) 235-6823
Fax: (708)-534-4549
Email: EHS@govst.edu

Office Location


Mailing Address

1 University Parkway, Suite: B1230, University Park, IL 60484


Maintenance of Egress
Holiday Decorations
Fire Safety
Occupational Health
Lock Out Tag Out (LOTO)
AED Maps
Rave (EMS)
Pesticide Safety

Maintenance of Egress

Maintenance of Egress is a path of travel from any point in the building to a public way, which is considered a safe point during a building evacuation. This includes all hallways and staircases on the path to the public way.

Holiday Decorations

To minimize the potential fire hazards associated with holiday season decorations, GSU Environmental Health and Safety department recommends strict observation of the following guidelines:

  • Hanging combustibles from the ceiling, ceiling tiles or ceiling fixtures is not allowed. This includes paper, cardboard, wood, cloth, and plastic.
  • Ensure combustibles are not hung on walls within 18” of a (ceiling-mounted sprinkler heads or within 2 feet of any ceiling where sprinklers are not present and smoke detectors) as they constitute a fire hazard. Heat and smoke rise and combustibles mounted near the ceiling will contribute to a fire. No objects may be hung from or near sprinkler heads as this may affect their performance.
  • Ensure that decorations do not pose a trip hazard or otherwise provide an obstruction to walking or sitting.
  • Ensure that all corridors and hallways, including those inside work areas are open, clear, and provide the required unobstructed egress.
  • Ensure that decorations do not obstruct lights, light switches or electrical outlets or obstruct or interfere with passage on stairwells, hallways, and corridors.
  • Decorations must be at least 36” away from portable fire extinguishers, exit signs, pull stations, fire alarm strobes, fire hose cabinets, and smoke detectors.
  • Ensure that decorations do not obstruct or interfere with any line-of-sight visibility of approved exit signs and exit routes.
  • Ensure that decorations are not accessible to young children as much as possible. Ensure that decorations are not breakable or edible. Decorations should not be secured with hooks that could be a choking hazard.
  • Decorative items placed on walls shall be secured against becoming dislodged, falling from the support, or becoming a hazard to nearby persons.

Trees and other decorations must be located so as not to obstruct exit corridors, fire extinguishers, sprinkler heads, exit signs, fire alarm pull stations, smoke alarms or heat detectors. Do not affix or tie decorations to such equipment. Trees should also not block emergency egress from any room.

  • Decorations shall not be placed within three (3) feet of electrical equipment or other heat producing sources.
  • Electric light strings should carry a UL or FM approval label. Prior to use, check for fraying, bare wires, loose connections and cracked plastic parts. If any of these conditions are present, the string or cord should not be used. Use of miniature electric lights are encouraged since they are both cooler and more energy efficient than regular size lighting. Light strings should not be routed through doorways with doors, under rugs or loose carpeting or across work surfaces. Routing of cords through these areas can cause damage to the cord and create a tripping hazard. Unplug holiday lighting when the area is unoccupied.
  • UL-listed surge protectors should be used instead of extension cords to prevent circuit overloading. Frayed or broken cords should not be used. “Daisy-chaining” surge protectors and using multi-plug adapters are prohibited in university buildings.
  • Displays should be compact. Garlands, streamers or displays that extend down a hallway should not be used because of their potential to spread fire and impede egress. These displays should be confined to office areas (laboratories should not have any displays).
  • Candles, oil lamps, incense or other open flame devices are prohibited on campus. Decorative candles should have their wicks clipped or capped to discourage lighting.
  • Please remove all trees and decorations before leaving campus for the holidays.


It is the intent of the university to provide safe travel for persons of all abilities within campus buildings that are free and clear of obstructions that could impede egress travel. Obstructions may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Furniture
  • Decorations
  • Temporary Walls
  • Bicycles
  • Equipment

Or any other items that could affect a person’s ability to escape the building. For questions or concerns involving any such obstructions, building occupants should contact Environmental Health and Safety at (708) 235-6823.

*Note: There are multiple points of egress throughout the buildings on campus, explore the ways to exit the building(s). In the event of a new obstruction caused by the emergency, occupants should be prepared to adapt and exit by other means.

*Note: Elevators are not considered a safe means of egress during a fire. If possible, the stairs should always be considered as the first option.

Report an EHS concern

Fire Safety


The purpose of this procedure is to ensure the safety and health of personnel who perform hot work and those in the vicinity of hot work being performed by others. This program will be used to ensure that personnel performing hot work are familiar with the dangers associated with hot work and the precautions that are necessary. The scope of this procedure will include all applicable faculty and staff at GSU as well as contractors performing hot work at the GSU campus.


OSHA 29 CFR 1910.252-255


Combustible Material- Any material that is capable of catching fire and burning.

Hot Work- Any temporary operation involving open flames or that results in sparks, fire, molten slag, heat, or hot material with the potential to cause fires or explosions. This includes, but is not limited to, soldering, brazing, torch cutting, grinding, arc welding/cutting, gas welding, etc.

Exceptions to this definition include Bunsen burners and other fire or heat generating laboratory equipment when used in a laboratory, and activities performed within designated shop or studio areas.

Additional details about the Hot Work Program can be read at GSU EHS Hot Work Program
GSU Hot Work permits can be retrieved from the EHS department:
Phone: 708-235-6823 or email:EHS@govst.edu


Portable Heaters- For safety purposes primarily, no portable heating or cooling devices that require refrigerant, or either that require more than 2 amperes, may be used in University owned spaces unless it is either provided by the University through FDM, or its use is approved by the Chief Operating Engineer. Such devices may only be utilized in areas where Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems cannot maintain the specified temperature range and/or be rectified with reasonable time and effort of FDM staff. Responsible Party: Associate Vice President for Facilities Development Management.


Open Flames- Candles, oil lamps, incense, torches, butane burners, and any other combustible material devices are considered “open flame devices.” Open flame devices carry with them the risk of unintentional fire and serious consequences when not used appropriately. Therefore, the use of any open flame device is prohibited in all University residential and non-residential buildings. Situations that do call for the use of open flame devices can be reviewed under special circumstances through a variance request submitted to Environmental Health and Safety.

Occupational Health Programs

Environmental Health and Safety oversees a host of occupational safety and health programs designed to provide guidance to employees performing various activities during the scope of their work duties. All programs and procedures are in compliance with requirements established by the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which have been adopted by the Illinois Department of Labor.

Many of the programs referenced in this section have been specifically developed for Universities Building Service workers, Maintenance Labors, Engineers, and Electricians trade personnel. However, the requirements contained therein would apply to any University employees performing the same covered work activities.

Employees in FDM participate in required safety training via an online training module. The required training modules are determined by the job function and tasks.

Building Service Worker Required Safety Training:

  • Hazard Communication
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Respiratory Protection (when applicable)
  • Bloodborne Pathogens
  • Ergonomics
  • Asbestos Awareness
  • Temperature/ Extreme Heat

Maintenance Laborer, Engineer, & Electrician Required Safety Training:

  • Fire Extinguisher Training
  • Hazard Communication
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Lockout/Tagout Awareness
  • Bloodborne Pathogens
  • Ergonomics
  • Ladder Safety
  • Fall Protection
  • Hand and Power Tool Safety
  • Hearing Conservation
  • Machine Guarding
  • Temperature/Extreme Heat

*Note: Engineers and electricians must take the following additional trainings:

  • Confined Space Entry
  • Arc Flash

All questions regarding the listed programs should be directed to the Environmental Health and Safety Department at 708-235-6823 or EHS@govst.edu.



The purpose of this program is to establish rules and procedures for the protection of employees and contractors against the unexpected energization, start-up, or release of stored energy from any machine or equipment. This will be accomplished by hazard identification, employee training, written procedures, and affixing appropriate lockout and tagout devices to energy isolating devices.

This program applies to the control of hazardous energy during all service and maintenance activities whether performed by Governors State University employees or outside contractors at the Governors State University campus located at 1 University Parkway in University Park, Illinois. This procedure applies to all sources of hazardous energy, i.e., electrical, mechanical, chemical, thermal, pneumatic, hydraulic, gravity, and/or other stored energy devices.


Governors State University. (Governors State) has implemented this Control of Hazardous Energy (here in after “Lockout/Tagout”) in accordance with applicable OSHA regulations to ensure minimum performance requirements for the protection of employees and contractors against all forms of hazardous energy during the servicing and maintenance of machines or equipment.

This Lockout/Tagout program has been written to comply with the following OSHA regulations:

  • OSHA 29 CFR 1910.147 - The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout)

Lockout will only be performed by “authorized” employees. The application of lockout devices will follow the written procedures for the equipment or process being locked out. A general lockout procedure can be found in the following subpart labeled “Lockout Procedures” of the Lockout/Tagout policy.

AED Locations

Environmental Health & Safety coordinates the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) program for the University. EHS staff assist departments in procuring AEDs on state contract, maintaining a current inventory of all AEDs on campus, sharing AED locations with our 911 centers and assisting with training personnel on proper usage. Please contact Environmental Health and Safety at (708) 235-6823 with any questions.

The EHS Coordinator is responsible for monthly inspections of AEDs. The Coordinator completes a monthly inspection and documents the inspection on the inspection checklist found in the AED box. If any issues involving an AED are discovered, it is the responsibility of the coordinator to address any concerns with the AED.

Operator's manuals for AEDs currently used on campus can be found below:

If an incident or situation results in the deployment and/or the actual use of an AED, an AED utilization form must be completed. This form allows Environmental Health and Safety to investigate the incident and notifies EHS that the AED will need to go through maintenance before being placed back into service.

AED Utilization Form


Main Campus 1st Floor

Main Campus 1st Floor

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Main Campus 2nd Floor

Main Campus 2nd Floor

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Main Campus 3rd Floor

Main Campus 3rd Floor

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Prairie Place 1st Floor

Prairie Place 1st Floor

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Prairie Place 2nd Floor

Prairie Place 2nd Floor

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Prairie Place 3rd Floor

Prairie Place 3rd Floor

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RAVE Emergency Messaging System (EMS) is used to notify the GSU community of an emergency or critical issue on campus. Rave EMS is designed for Higher Ed Institutions, notifying the GSU community of emergency drills, severe weather, power outages and other events. Rave EMS will either send an email, voice or text message or any combination of the 3 types. There is no need to opt-in, if you are an active employee or current student, Rave will notify you of the emergency or critical issue. Messages are sent in a matter of seconds through multiple modes of communication.

We do ask that your current information is in our SIS(Colleague) system. For current students, contact the Registrar’s office to update your contact information and if you are a current employee, contact the HR office to update your contact information.

Rave Mobile Safety

Pesticide Safety

Pesticides- Includes substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any peat, or intended for use as a plant regulator, defoliant, or desiccant. Disposal of pesticides requires a Waste Disposal Request Form to be submitted to EHS: Hazardous Waste Pickup Request Form.

Environmental Health

Community Planning Right to Know
EHS Asbestos Management
Hazardous Waste Management
Waste Disposal Procedure
Indoor Air Quality
Underground Storage Tanks (UST)


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There is no thorough inventory of all suspected asbestos containing materials in the buildings and facilities at Governors State University. Assume that all building materials are asbestos containing unless informed by a representative of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) or you have been provided a copy of test results proving the suspect materials that are to be disturbed do not contain asbestos. Proper identification of ACM or PACM must be made by an Asbestos Building Inspector that is accredited by the State of Illinois.

If for any reason these materials must be disturbed they must be tested for asbestos content. All maintenance personnel and contractors doing work at the University that may come in contact with suspected asbestos containing materials, must be informed of the University's posture regarding asbestos. This includes identification of known Asbestos Containing Materials locations and procedures to use to avoid disturbing the material. No health risks exist if asbestos containing material is well maintained and is not disturbed.

If disturbance, clean up, or removal of asbestos containing materials is necessary, it will be effectively and safely managed through strict compliance with all applicable State and Federal asbestos regulations. Any damaged building materials that could potentially contain asbestos should be reported to EHS so it can be investigated and appropriately addressed. Questions regarding the Asbestos Management Program or concerns associated with potential asbestos exposure should be directed to Environmental Health and Safety at (708)-235-6823.

IDPH Asbestos Website


Hazardous wastes are solid wastes that are either listed by the EPA in 40 CFR Part 261, or exhibit a characteristic of ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity. In general, any product or chemical that is, or contains a hazardous chemical, will likely become a hazardous waste upon disposal.

As the name implies, hazardous wastes can present hazards to human health and the environment, and must be managed in an appropriate manner. The same management principles that apply to hazardous chemicals also apply to hazardous wastes, including proper labeling and storage. Hazardous wastes may only be stored on-site for a limited period of time before they must be taken to a proper treatment, storage and disposal facility.

Therefore, it is imperative that full containers of hazardous wastes are not allowed to accumulate at the generating location. Special caution must be given to acutely hazardous wastes which are hazardous wastes with extreme characteristics such as high acute toxicity, instability, etc. These are referred to as P-listed wastes, and only very small quantities may be stored on-site at any one time.

All employees involved in the generation of hazardous or special wastes shall receive training to include the requirements of this program as well as the specific procedures to follow when generating a waste.

Waste Disposal Procedure

In general, any waste material that may present a hazard to human health or the environment should be considered a potential hazardous or special waste. This includes chemicals, cleaning solutions, oils, etc. If there is any doubt whether a waste is hazardous or special, contact EHS for assistance. NEVER deposit a questionable waste material into the sewer or trash without first consulting EHS.

When a waste is generated, the generator of the waste must complete the GSU Waste Disposal Request Form and forward it to EHS for review.

The form must be filled out in its entirety, or it will be sent back to the generator. Certain Universal Wastes such as lamps and batteries do not require the generator to complete the Waste Disposal Request Form. For management of these materials, see Section 8.0. You may review GSU EHS Program 200 for more information about the Hazardous & Special Waste Management program.


Governors State University (GSU) is the first public state university in Illinois to be certified as a healthy building by the Healthy Building Institute, a company focused on healthy indoor environments.

HBI Logo

To achieve the Healthy Building Institute (HBI) recognition, the university engaged in a six-week assessment of indoor ventilation and water systems to ensure they met federal and professional guidelines established by the Environmental Protection Agency; Centers for Disease Control; the Occupational Safety and Health Administration; the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning; and the American Industrial Hygiene Association. Governors State University is proud to commit the resources and time necessary to achieve this outcome.

Governor State University is also committed to providing faculty, staff, and students with a work environment free of recognized hazards. Reports of poor indoor air quality (IAQ) are investigated by Environmental Health and Safety on a case-by-case basis. Due to variations in individual sensitivities and scientific limitations, the source of IAQ complaints and respective remediation measures may not always be identified when complaints are reported and thoroughly investigated. The Environmental Health and Safety department and Facilities Department & Management (FDM) work together to address indoor air quality concerns across the campus.

To report an Indoor Air Quality concern, please submit a work order to FDM at TMA Request Link or call (708) 534-4515 . If you feel your concern requires immediate attention, contact Environmental Health and Safety at (708) 235-6823.

View more information about the certification here.


Governors State University has Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) for fuel storage. Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) are regulated by the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal Division of Petroleum and Chemical Safety. Emergency response procedures have been developed to ensure that GSU is ready to respond to any situations involving leaking or malfunctioning USTs. All USTs are equipped with overfill alarms, emergency shut-off switches, and emergency spill kits.

In the case of a spill, leak, release, or alarm, the following shall be completed:

  • Minor spills shall be reported to the FDM (x4515) or EHS (x6823) department.
  • Spills over 25 gallons or resulting in a sheen on nearby surface water shall be reported to 911 or GSU Public Safety Department at (x4900). Environmental Health and Safety will assist with spill response and containment and contact the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to report the spill within 24 hours.

Following immediate response actions, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) must be notified of all releases of petroleum products in excess of 25 gallons. This notification can be made verbally via phone by calling 800-782-7860. When making the notification, keep the GSU O&M Plan available to help answer any questions IEMA may have.

Report an EHS concern

Research Labs

Chemical Safety
Safety Data Sheets
Emergency Response

Chemical Safety

The purpose of this procedure is to ensure the safety and health of personnel who may work with or come into contact with laboratory-use hazardous chemicals at the GSU campus. This program applies to any laboratory-use chemical that is known to be present in the workplace in such a manner that employees may be exposed to it under normal operations, or in a foreseeable emergency situation.

The scope of this program will include all facility operations engaged in the laboratory use of hazardous chemicals, including the Chemistry and Biology Departments as well as the Gross Anatomy Laboratory. Chemical usage not covered by this program is covered under the GSU Hazard Communication Program.

This document is also designed to help any employee reduce occupational hazards while working in the laboratory. After reading this document, any employee should be able to identify, recognize, prevent, respond, and report any exposure to hazardous chemicals in a laboratory.


Velocity EHS SDS/Chemical Management
& eBinder Safety Data Sheets

Safety Data Sheets (SDS) on the Internet


Emergency Response

This quote was taken directly from the CDC and NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: "The NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards(NPG) informs workers, employers, and occupational health professionals about workplace chemicals and their hazards. The NPG gives general industrial hygiene information for hundreds of chemicals/classes. The NPG clearly presents key data for chemicals or substance groupings (such as cyanides, fluorides, manganese compounds) that are found in workplaces. The guide offers key facts but does not give all relevant data. The NPG helps users recognize and control workplace chemical hazards."

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