The Environmental Health and Safety Office supports the university’s commitment to maintaining the health and safety of our Mason community. We do this through the development, tracking, and implementation of several programs and services. Some of the programs and services that are available through EHS are training, emergency preparedness, biological, chemical, and radioactive waste management, and occupational health and safety monitoring services.
To learn more about the specific services that our office offers, click on a category below.
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All buildings at Mason are equipped with fire extinguishers and fire alarm activation “pull” stations. All large public venues and performance areas (such as the EagleBank Arena, Hylton Performing Arts Center, and the Johnson Center) have Automated External Defibrillators (AED). A list of buildings with AED and the location of AED is available here.
Emergency Preparedness Flipbook
EHS provides emergency preparedness flipbooks for faculty and staff. This pocket-sized resource contains information on how to prepare for and respond to emergencies that may occur on campus to include: building evacuation, severe weather, shelter-in-place procedures, on-campus violence, regional emergencies, medical emergencies, and emergency contact numbers. EHS will deliver Emergency Preparedness Flip Books to university offices upon request. Please contact EHS to place a request.
In addition to lighted EXIT signs in every building at Mason, additional signage is posted that we recommend you become familiar with to be prepared for emergencies.
- Emergency Procedures Poster (PDF): Large green and gold Emergency Procedures posters are posted throughout campus in conspicuous locations. These posters provide basic guidance on how to respond to potential emergencies on campus.
- Evacuation Plans: Indicate primary and alternate exit routes, the location of fire extinguishers, location of AED, and provide the physical address of each building on campus.
- Severe Weather Shelter Area: Indicate publically accessible shelter locations where you may seek shelter during severe weather emergencies. Severe Weather Shelter Area signs are posted outside certain stairwells, interior hallways, and rooms.
Exercises and Drills
Annually, each September, George Mason University participates in the Great Southeast Shakeout Earthquake Drill. This drill is designed to promote awareness of earthquake response procedures. This earthquake drill is announced via Mason Alert. Participation is voluntary but all are encouraged to participate. Information on how to prepare for and respond to an earthquake is available in the Earthquake Preparation and Response Guide.
Annually, each March, George Mason University participates in a statewide Tornado Drill. This drill is designed to promote awareness of tornado and severe weather response procedures. This earthquake drill is announced via Mason Alert. Participation is voluntary but all are encouraged to participate. Information on how to prepare for and respond to tornados and severe weather is available in the Tornado and Severe Weather Response Guide.
Fire Drills are conducted on campus in accordance with the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code. Drills are held in all university buildings and are unannounced. For more information on fire drills please reference the University Fire Safety Plan.
Annually, George Mason University conducts tabletop, function, and/or full scale emergency exercises with the Executive Council and university Emergency Operations Group. These exercises are designed to prepare university personnel to respond to various emergencies that may occur on campus, recover from emergencies as quickly as possible, and provide the appropriate support to students, employees, and university operations.
To learn more about George Mason University’s emergency management programs and services, click here.
Mason Alert Emergency Notification System
Mason Alert is George Mason University’s emergency notification system that is used to send emergency notifications and timely warnings to the university community via text, email, telephone call, and digital signage. To learn more about Mason Alert, click here.
Emergency Preparedness Mobile App
EHS offers a mobile app that contains basic information, phone numbers, and resources for responding to potential emergencies on campus. Use the links below to download In Case of Crisis – Education to your iOS or Android device.
Classroom Resources for Faculty
It is recommended that faculty review basic emergency response procedures for building evacuation, shelter-in-place, and campus violence with students at the beginning of each semester. Faculty are also encouraged to add the following emergency preparedness language below to their syllabi (Word version available here). More information and resources for faculty can be found here.
EHS occasionally acquires unused or slightly used chemicals during laboratory moves and cleanouts. These materials are kept in storage for redistribution to other laboratories upon request. Please contact EHS at 703-993-8448 for more information about the availability of these materials or if you would like to submit unused or slightly used stock to us for redistribution.
Hazardous Materials Shipping
EHS will properly package, label, and ship hazardous materials upon request from faculty and staff when provided with the required advanced notice. More information on shipping and receiving of hazardous materials can be found in the Hazardous Materials Shipping and Receiving Guide.
Building Evacuation Plans
Building Evacuation Plans are maps that designate primary and alternate building evacuation routes. Evacuation Plans are posted throughout all university buildings. Students, employees, and visitors are encouraged to know and use two exit routes for all buildings and know your designated assembly area.
Fire Extinguishers: Installation, Inspection, and Testing
Fire extinguishers are certified annually and maintained by the Fire Safety group within the Environmental Health and Safety Office. If you have specific concerns about a particular fire extinguisher or if you believe that one needs maintenance please call EHS at 703-993-8448 and provide EHS with the location of the extinguisher and your concern. One or more fire extinguishers are located on each floor of a building. The specific locations of the fire extinguishers are denoted on Evacuation Plans posted throughout university buildings. Fire extinguishers may be found in wall mounted cabinets (recessed or protruding) or hanging on a wall mounted bracket.
Research and Instructional Project Review
A Project Review Form must be completed for all research and instructional projects involving the use of biological materials and/or sources of ionizing radiation at George Mason University. The form requests general project information and includes a checklist of materials that will be used in the project. Depending on the nature of the project, Principle Investigators or Course Coordinators (PI/CC) may need to submit one or several addenda. In some cases, PI/CC may be asked to provide supplemental information to facilitate the review process.
Completed Project Review Forms, addenda, and attachments should be submitted electronically to EHS-Laboratory Safety (firstname.lastname@example.org). EHS will route completed forms to the appropriate safety review committee(s).
Waste Pickups and Waste Container Distribution
EHS conducts weekly collections of waste from all laboratories and established satellite accumulation areas. EHS can also be contacted directly to schedule waste collections and supply deliveries, or to set up a new satellite accumulation area, by emailing email@example.com or contacting EHS. For more information about this program please review the Chemical, Hazardous, and Universal Waste Guide.
In an effort to reduce discomfort and risk of injury in the workplace, EHS provides George Mason University employees ergonomic self-assessment tools and professional ergonomic assessments. These services are provided at no cost to the employee. Click here for more information about ergonomic assessment services at Mason.
Indoor Air Quality Investigations
George Mason University is committed to providing a work environment that is free of recognized hazards and investigating complaints that may be related to poor indoor air quality (IAQ). EHS conducts IAQ investigations upon request. Click here for more information about indoor air quality services at Mason.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Selection
PPE protects employees from the risks of injury by creating a barrier against workplace hazards. PPE must be used when the eyes, face, hands, extremities, or other parts of the body are exposed to workplace hazards that cannot be controlled by other means.
If you need assistance evaluating and selecting PPE, please contact EHS.
Job Safety Analysis
EHS evaluates routine work functions to determine engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment that must be used to mitigate the potential of injury to employees, students, and visitors. Job safety analysis, or JSA, is a systematic approach to identifying hazards and appropriate protective measures. To request a JSA for your work, please contact EHS.
Routine Workplace Inspections
As part of a comprehensive occupational safety program, EHS conducts routine inspections of work areas that are subject to Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) regulations. Please contact EHS to inquire about the EHS inspection process or schedule.
The Environmental Health and Safety Office provides a wide range of safety training options to help promote your safety and health in the workplace. These training courses are offered not only to meet numerous regulations, but also toward an effort to encourage health and safety throughout the entire university community.
For a complete listing of our training courses by category, click here. To register for training, visit our training registration website. You can find a calendar of upcoming training opportunities here.
Not sure who to contact?
We work closely with many departments on campus, e.g., University Police, Student Health Services, Risk Management, etc., and sometimes it's hard to tell which office you need help from. Often times it's a combo of many! You are more than welcome to contact us if you are unsure, but we've also created a "Who do I contact?" resource if you'd like to take a look.