Staff Profiles: The Campus Safety Team at EHS

Oct. 21, 2021

The campus safety group at Princeton EHS works to promote safe practices, reduce hazards and respond to workplace incidents around campus.

For our first in a series of staff profiles to mark the 50th anniversary of the Office of Environmental Health & Safety, we interviewed Jamie McQuaid, Kelly States, Sean Farrell and Ryan Carney about what they do at Princeton, and what the job means to them.

VIDEO PROFILE: Vew the Campus Safety Team Video Profile »

Kelly States, Associate Director, Campus Safety and EHS Operations

Kelly oversees administrative functions for the EHS office as well as Campus Safety, which encompasses most of the non-research-related health and safety programs on campus. Examples include everything from injury and accident investigation and prevention to ergonomics to heavy equipment safety.

“The safety profession is ultimately about caring for people,” Kelly says. “I get to meet and know thousands of different people on this campus. I get to hear about their work and I get to try to keep them safe while doing so. One of my favorite aspects of the work is convincing someone to see a risk the way I see a risk; whether that’s through data or a personal story or some other means. People don’t always appreciate the most likely risk of their work tasks and getting us to come to an agreement about a level of risk is a rewarding challenge.”

Jamie McQuaid, Assistant Director, Occupational Safety

Jamie works primarily with Civil Engineering, Grounds and Building Maintenance (GBM), Site Protection and CoGen, and manages safety in and around the construction projects on campus.

“The dynamic nature of construction and the ever-changing climate of the University always seem to find a way to keep my job interesting by presenting new challenges to overcome,” Jamie says. “I really enjoy talking with the people in the groups I represent and helping them to find a way to do their job in a safe way that allows them to feel comfortable while completing their work and ultimately go home to their families in the same conditions as they came to work.” 

In the years he’s been at Princeton, Jamie says his role has evolved from environmental aspects of the workplace (air monitoring, wastewater, etc.)  to primarily constitute the “S” in EHS: hands-on attention to safety aspects of the workplace such as physical hazard mitigation.

Sean Farrell, Senior Workplace Safety Specialist

Sean’s primary role is conducting incident investigations when individuals—mainly employees—are injured or a near miss occurs.

“The opportunity to help make a difference in someone’s day is what I find most rewarding,” he says. “While it might only be a small difference, seeing the sense of relief or appreciation when someone’s questions or concerns are addressed makes any effort that goes into the job worth it.”

Ryan Carney, Senior Safety Specialist

Ryan helps support various health and safety programs on campus, assisting with injury investigation and prevention, respirator fit testing and being a liaison for several departments.

“Something I really appreciate about the job [is] knowing that I’m helping provide people with the necessary knowledge and resources to be able to do their job safely so they can get home safe to their family and friends and live the highest possible quality of life outside of work,” he says.

What does “Environmental Health and Safety” mean to you? 

Kelly: EHS at Princeton means a great deal. I’ve spent nearly my entire career in this office, starting as a health and safety specialist. Part of our mission is to provide exceptional service and leadership and I think that we’ve been able to embody that over the past 50 years. 

Jamie: It allows me to spend more time concentrating on the safety aspects of the workplace. I’m sure the meaning of EHS will continue to evolve and change for me as I progress throughout my career, but I feel as if I have the ability to make a much greater impact on the safety of the employees of Princeton with the way my role is currently. 

Sean: To me, Environmental Health and Safety represents the right of an individual to work without concern for their personal wellbeing while earning a livelihood. While the work that is carried out at the University can be rewarding for many, and a passion for some, I strongly attest that no one should worry if they will be able to enjoy their life outside of the workplace due to an injury or health issue.

Ryan: Environmental Health and Safety to me is an opportunity to serve others. I am proud to work in a field that’s main purpose is to help keep people healthy and safe. I started pursuing a career in the medical field but found myself wondering how I could contribute towards preventing injuries and illnesses as opposed to taking care of people after they were already sick. This drew me towards Public Health and I feel like working in EHS gives me the ability to make a positive impact in regard to that effort.