Environmental Compliance and Occupational Safety

Keeping our community safe

Northeastern University is committed to the health and safety of everyone in our community.  The Environmental Compliance and Occupational Safety (ECOS) department promotes safety and the prevention of injuries and illness through programs and safe practices and protects the environment from hazardous pollutants in water, air, and solid waste while ensuring compliance with federal, state, and local regulations, codes, and standards.  

The Office of Environmental Health & Safety is now the Office of Academic and Research Safety (OARS) and the Environmental Compliance and Occupational Safety office (ECOS). 



Total Safety Courses Taken 2024


Safety Courses Completion - 1Q2024

PREF Injuries Reported in 2024

Managed Compliance Programs


Training is essential to maintain a safe workplace and protect the environment. 
Explore the options we provide and ensure compliance.

Planning Real Estate & Facilities Employee Training

We offer online training courses to Northeastern Planning, Real Estate, and Facilities employees tailored to individual job responsibilities. Visit www.northeastern.mysafetyskills.com or consult with your supervisor to ensure that you comply with safety training requirements.

Laboratories, Shops, and Studios Safety Training

If you are working in a university research lab, shop, or studio, please visit the OARS site for additional training information.

Learn More

Report an emergency

Northeastern University Police Department (NUPD) is a full-service and accredited police agency that comprises patrol and investigative divisions providing 24-hour service, including emergency medical response. 

In the event of an emergency on the Boston campus, use your SafeZone app, or contact NUPD at 617-373-3333.  

For all off-campus emergencies, call 911 

Report an Incident

For reporting work-related incidents, injuries, illnesses, and near misses, please visit the Risk Management page.

ECOS collects incident investigation information and data for PREF employees in an effort to improve the overall Safety Culture on campus and beyond. A member of the ECOS team will work with you to complete a Root Cause Analysis for any work-related incidents.

For more information about the ECOS Incident Reporting program, click here

Our services

The Environmental Compliance and Occupational Safety (ECOS) programs aim to address a wide range of areas that are essential to take into consideration when working toward ensuring the safety of Northeastern’s community and preserving the environment from potentially hazardous waste. 

environmental compliance

occupational safety

hazardous waste

Academic & research safety (oars)

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Environmental Compliance

Occupational Safety

Hazardous Waste

Office of Academic and Research Safety

Environmental compliance

ECOS monitors environmental performance on campus, assures protective waste handling systems, and seeks innovations to improve them. We assist departments and groups across the Northeastern community to ensure environmental regulatory compliance with local, state, and federal laws. 

Indoor Air Quality & Mold Education

ECOS supports the maintenance of a healthy campus community within recommended and consensus guidelines.  

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Chemical & Oil Spill Procedures

Please refer to these “Spill Response Guidelines” for detailed instructions on how to address problems of this kind. 

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    List of Hazardous Substances

    This consolidated list of chemicals from the USEPA is subject to reporting requirements under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act. 

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    Stormwater and Wastewater

    ECOS reduces potential pollution by managing the stormwater program which addresses regulations, operations, and maintenance.  

    Stormwater Pollution
    As stormwater flows through paved surfaces, Runoff can pick up toxic contaminants such as trash, chemicals, and heavy metals before draining into local waterways. This can contaminate swimming areas, and groundwater, and add toxic chemicals into the food chain.  

    Stormwater Management
    ECOS reduces potential pollution by managing the stormwater program which addresses regulations, operations, and maintenance. 

    Best management practices for reducing stormwater pollution include:

    • Placing solid waste in proper garbage and recycling bins.  
    • Properly disposing of paint, cooking oil, and grease. 
    • Avoid spreading chemicals such as fertilizers and insecticides.
    • Keep up with regular car maintenance to prevent leaks.  
    • Pick up after your pet. 
    • Report any spills you see on the Boston campus through the Facilities Online Work Request Form.
    • For any issues such as clogged drains or excessive litter, submit a  Facilities Online Work Request Form

    Industrial Stormwater Management

    ECOS helps to manage multiple wastewater pretreatment systems on campus to ensure compliance with MWRA regulations and treatment standards

    MWRA Sewer Use Regulations  – Provides a detailed overview of state regulations regarding wastewater discharge into the Authority Sewerage System.

    MWRA Discharge Limits Overview  – A comprehensive list provided by Northeastern University that is designed to show the MWRA discharge limits overview.

      Occupational safety

      ECOS Occupational Safety Unit supports the oversight of occupational safety and health programs at the University to remain in compliance with federal and state regulations and guidelines.      

      Bloodborne Pathogens & Exposure Control Plan

      Employees undergo BBP training annually to educate them on recognizing and mitigating the risk of occupational exposure from BBPs. Here, you can find more information about Bloodborne Pathogen safety procedures and view the Exposure Control Plan Template.  

      Please contact ECOS directly if you have any additional questions.


      Confined Space

      For employees who may have to work within a confined space as a function of their job, it is important to understand the risks associated with this type of work, receive adequate training, and be aware of rescue procedures associated with working in a confined space.

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      Facility Hot Work

      For those who perform work in either an office or an industrial setting, implementing ergonomic principles is important to minimize or eliminate potential injuries. Please contact ECOS directly for more information on this program.

      Hearing Conservation

      Audiometric testing Programs are required for employees who may be exposed to a noise level of greater than 85 decibels for 8 hours or more a day. ECOS is available to conduct noise exposure testing as requested. It is expected of all employees to communicate with their supervisors if they begin to feel ill or begin to have ringing in their ears due to noise exposure. Please contact ECOS directly for more information on this program.

      Heat Illness

      Every year thousands of workers become sick from occupational heat exposure and where some cases are even fatal. Because of this, OSHA has launched a National Emphasis Program on Outdoor and Indoor Heat-Related Hazards to protect workers. Northeastern University is dedicated to protecting employees from on-the job illnesses and injuries. All employees have the responsibility to work safely on the job. Employees should be able to recognize heat stress hazards and act appropriately to address those hazards. Please contact ECOS directly for more information on this program.

      Emergency Eyewash & Safety Shower

      PREF maintains a comprehensive inspection and preventative maintenance program for all emergency eyewash and safety showers for Northeastern Campuses in Boston, Burlington, and Nahant. This program ensures that the units function to the ANSI standards and are reliable for all Research & Development laboratories to be used as emergency response equipment in the event of bodily exposure from a release of hazardous material to an individual.

      Click here for more information. 

      Lockout Tagout

      For employees who as a function of their job, work on or near equipment, machinery or systems undergoing maintenance or repair and must ensure that the adequate energy isolating devices are properly installed. Only qualified employees will be allowed to conduct LOTOTO procedures.

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      Machine Guarding

      Machines are involved in around 18,000 lacerations, crushing injuries or even amputations a year. Because of this, OSHA requires that any machine part that could cause an injury to be properly guarded. As Lock Out Tag Out Try Out protects workers while pieces of equipment or machines are being maintained or repaired, Machine Guarding protects the workers as the piece of equipment or machine is being used. Please contact ECOS directly for more information on this program.

      Respiratory Protection

      If an employee is concerned about potential exposure to hazardous air pollutants during normal functions of their job, they may need to utilize a respiratory protection procedure. If a PREF employee will be exposed to an airborne contaminate which cannot be eliminated by engineering or administrative controls, the employee’s supervisor and the ECOS department will team up and determine if an appropriate respirator will be selected for the specific hazard to which the employee will be exposed or if a third-party contractor will be used to complete the task. Please contact ECOS directly for more information on this program.


      Stepladder Usage

      ECOS is available for job specific hazard analysis and training when utilizing a step ladder is required in order to complete a job. Please contact ECOS directly for more information on this program.

      Stop Work Authority

      Employees should have the knowledge and power to be able to stop an unsafe situation that they observe on campus, and communicate with their supervisor to find a safer solution. Please contact ECOS directly for more information on this program.

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      Pre-Task Planning & Job Hazard Analysis

      During the scheduling phase of a job or project, before the work begins, all employees involved are expected to come up with a pre-task plan and develop a job hazard analysis. This will ensure that all employees exposed will be aware of potential hazards involved with the work, and will be able to use the Hierarchy of Controls to eliminate, substitute, engineer, administrate, or utilize PPE to reduce risk. For more information about click here

      Please contact ECOS directly if you have any questions or concerns. 

      Fall Protection & Working From Heights

      Employees who need to conduct work in a situation where they are exposed to fall risk, working on a roof, lift, ladder, or other elevated surface are required to go through fall protection & working from heights training. Given the nature of the work, they may also be required to be fitted for fall protection equipment. Employees are expected to follow all OSHA guidelines surrounding Fall protection & working from heights as listed in 29 CFR 1910. Please contact ECOS directly for more information on this program.

      Fire Safety Plan

      As required in 29 CFR 1910.39, general industry employers must provide a fire safety plan for general awareness of how to safely react and respond to a fire emergency, and techniques for fire prevention and evacuation. Please contact ECOS directly for more information on this program.

      Emergency Action Plan

      As required in 29 CFR 1910.38, general industry employers must provide an emergency action plan for general awareness of the facilities emergency response, and education on what actions to take during different types of emergencies. Please contact ECOS directly for more information on this program.

      Learn more about emergency planning through this NUPD page.

      Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

      Employees are expected to utilize proper PPE dependent on the hazards they are exposed to as a function of their job. Please contact ECOS directly for more information on this program.

      Asbestos management

      We ensure a safe and healthy environment by preventing exposure to asbestos that may be released during construction or other activities. If an employee is concerned about potential asbestos exposure or is involved in a construction project please contact ECOS to schedule necessary testing.

      The Hazard Communication Program

      The Hazard Communication Program is a collaborative effort that includes faculty, staff, and students who may come in contact with hazardous chemicals as part of their regular duties.  

      The program includes: 

      • General-awareness training on protection from chemical exposures that may result in injury or illness.  
      • Shop and studio-specific training on protection from hazardous substances, including site-specific standard-operating procedures, access to safety data sheets (SDSs), and emergency procedures.  

      View the Hazard Communication Program

      Hazardous waste

      ECOS partners together with OARS to minimize the impact on the environment and safety of the community through the management, proper handling, and disposal of hazardous waste in compliance with state and federal laws.

      Hazardous Chemical Waste

      Managing hazardous waste in laboratories requires training and knowledge of federal, state and local laws. Visit the OARS site to see our laboratory’s hazardous waste resources.

      Biological Waste

      Visit the OARS Biological Safety site for information about biological waste management.

      All Other Wastes

      Northeastern’s Materials and Recycling team, in collaboration with other Facilities and campus staff, diverts specialty items from the waste stream

      Hazardous Waste Contingency Plan

      The Contingency Plan outlines the University response organization, resources available, and methods used to deal with a hazardous waste spill that could occur.  

      Hazardous Waste Minimization

      Protect the environment and decrease your exposure to hazardous substances by minimizing the amount of hazardous waste generated in teaching, research, and facility areas. Waste minimization includes changing procedures, reducing scale, and substituting materials.

      SciShield Chemical Recycling Guide
      Hazardous waste minimization is an important goal of Northeastern University. By safely recycling or sharing chemicals on campus, we can reduce hazardous waste volumes generated on campus.

      View the Chemical Recycling Guide – OUTDATED

      Recycling of Specialty Items
      In addition to commonly recyclable materials, numerous items must be recycled with special handling, such as batteries, light bulbs, mercury-containing equipment, and electronic waste. Northeastern’s Materials and Recycling team, in collaboration with other Facilities and campus staff, diverts specialty items from the waste stream

      Visit The Materials & Recycling Specialty Items Page

      Hazardous Waste Fact Sheets

      Northeastern’s Office of Office of Academic and Research Safety (OARS) provides an extensive list of fact sheets that provide a detailed explanation of how to address all kinds of potentially dangerous waste and more. 

      Visit the Hazardous Waste Fact Sheet Page

      EPA Chemical Compatibility Chart

      This chart is intended as an indication of some of the hazards that can be expected in mixing chemical wastes. It cannot be assumed to ensure compatibility of wastes because wastes are not classified as hazardous on the chart, nor do any blanks necessarily mean that the mixture cannot result in a hazard occurring.
      Hazardous Waste Listed and Characteristic Waste
      Hazardous Wastes at Northeastern University are regulated according to regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

      Chemical Waste Labeling Tool

      OARS has standardized labels that are to be used on every container of chemical waste in the university. These labels are formatted for compliance with all federal and local regulatory agencies.

      Waste Disposal Matrix

      This detailed matrix provides a simple tool to help identify waste type and all of the required steps in order to dispose of it properly.

      Empty Container Disposal

      For more information on how to properly address the disposal of empty containers, please visit the following page. 

      Office of Academic and Research Safety

      Promoting and supporting a positive safety culture for learning and research.

      Office of Academic and Research Safety

      The Office of Academic and Research Safety (OARS) is primarily responsible for laboratory safety, both research and academic, including oversight and training related to the University’s chemical, biological, and radiation safety programs.

      Visit the OARS website 


      Northeastern University uses SciShield (formerly BioRAFT), a research management platform, to manage chemical inventory, laboratory hazardous waste pickups, NU laboratory safety training courses, biosafety registrations, and a variety of other functions.

      Log into SciShield

      ECOS resources

      Fact sheets

      Visit the Office of Academic and Research Safety (OARS) to view all fact sheets for ECOS and OARS. 


      Visit the OARS site to learn self-assessment, self-care resources, and more information about an illness or injury-related accommodations.

      Campus Sustainability

      PREF plays a significant role in the policies, guidelines, and systems that help Northeastern accelerate the greening of all its campuses.

      Alternative Transportation

      Northeastern encourages alternative modes of transportation for convenient, healthy ways to lessen the environmental impact.

      US Environmental Protection Agency

      Managing regulations to protect people and the environment from significant health risks.

      US Occupational Safety and Health Administration

      Tips on safe work practices, controlling workplace stress and mental health.

      Mass Department of Environmental Protection

      Learn about the agency responsible for protecting the environment in the state of Massachusetts.

      EPA Basics of Hazardous Waste

      The environmentally sound management of hazardous waste helps protect human health and the environment.

      Hazardous Waste Transportation & Transporters

      Regulation of hazardous waste transportation in Massachusetts that apply to transporters operating within the state.

      City of Boston – Household Hazardous Waste

      The city of Boston provides a quick and efficient way to dispose of household hazardous waste for its residents.

      Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

      The public authority in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts provides wholesale drinking water and sewage services.

      Massachusetts Hazardous Waste Regulations

      Regulations addressing the generation, storage, collection, transport, treatment, disposal, use, reuse, and recycling of hazardous waste in Massachusetts.

      Pregnancy in the workplace

      Lactation Spaces

      Northeastern recognizes the importance and benefits of breastfeeding for parents/providers and their infants and provides lactation rooms across the University. Visit Northeastern’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion page for the current list of lactation spaces and information on how to gain access.

      Pregnancy Accommodations

      A pregnant faculty, staff, and students may be entitled to reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

      Pregnancy Workers Fairness Act

      The Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (the “Act”) prohibits discrimination against employees due to pregnancy.

      Policy on Pregnancy and Pregnancy-Related Conditions

      The university recognizes that employees who are pregnant or have a condition related to pregnancy have the right to be free from discrimination and that they may need a reasonable accommodation to have equally effective opportunities to participate in employment.

      CDC's Workplace Hazards to Reproductive Health

      Learn more about the factors in a workplace that can affect a woman’s reproductive health

      NIOSH – Pregnancy, Breastfeeding & Reproductive Health

      Learn more about exposures that are harmful to pregnant or breastfeeding women.

      CDC's Division of Reproductive Health

      CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health focuses on issues related to reproductive health, maternal health, and infant health.

      Our Team

      Our team is here to help and support all departments to support their environmental compliance and safety needs. We works with the Northeastern community to promote a strong safety culture, minimize risk to human health and the environment, and maintain environmental compliance through all media of environmental management. We accomplished this through educating or community on available environmental & occupational safety programs and providing reliable services that the community to confidently go to in the event of an environmental or safety concern.

      Gina Kerwin

      Gina Kerwin

      Director of Environmental Compliance & Occupational Safety

      Jason Hewitt

      Jason Hewitt

      Occupational Health & Safety Program Manager

      Melissa Wilson

      Melissa Wilson

      Environmental Program Manager

      Contact Us

      216 Massachusetts Ave, Boston MA 02115

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