Commerce – Sigma-Aldrich, a leading life science and high technology company, recently assessed the environmental health and safety (EHS) programs in the Texas A&M University-Commerce Science Building on July 14. The group's objective was to evaluate safety practices related to laboratory operations and support functions.
"As an institution of higher education, we are continuously seeking techniques that improve the quality and result of our standards," said Derek Preas, A&M-Commerce safety manager. "Sigma-Aldrich is a global leader in chemical manufacturing and process operation. They have an unbelievable amount of knowledge available for a safety related process such as handling, storage, transportation, and use of chemicals."
Sigma-Aldrich representatives Steve Walton, vice president of compliance and quality and EHS, Brad Zelch, EHS project specialist and Judy Pruss, marketing manager, spent the day performing reviews of the EHS programs, internal inspection reports and selected existing safety procedures. Overall, the assessment covered multiple areas, including employee/student training, protective equipment, hazard identification, chemical management, and emergency preparedness and life safety, among others.
"The review provides a valuable service to the university, which is also valuable to us, as it's a great opportunity to look through certain areas, compare to best practices, and give ideas on how to move above and beyond," Walton said.
Following the group's review, officials from A&M-Commerce met with Sigma-Aldrich for a quick assessment of their findings. The company plans to complete a full report with positives and recommendations for the facility.
This review would not have been possible without the assistance of A&M-Commerce alumnus Dr. Jai Nagarkatti, Sigma-Aldrich CEO and chairman of the board, who graduated with a doctorate in organic chemistry from A&M-Commerce in 1976.
"The university is so thankful to Dr. Nagarkatti and the Sigma Aldrich team for their willingness to come to Commerce and serve as our industry safety experts," Preas said. "The input they provided for potential areas of improvement will serve as an excellent resource. It can only lead to a safer and better equipped facility for our students, faculty, staff, and environment."