The University Record, May 9, 1994

Baier named to head OSEH

By Mary Jo Frank

Henry D. Baier will become the University’s director of Occupational Safety and Environmental Health (OSEH), effective June 1.

Baier, coordinator of the OSEH’s hazardous materials unit since January 1992, will succeed Kenneth C. Schatzle, who retires June 30.

OSEH, with 52 employees, is responsible for laboratory safety and industrial hygiene, radiation safety, pest management and other environmental health programs throughout the University.

OSEH’s varied responsibilities range from monitoring air quality in research laboratories and paint shops to inspecting fume hoods, maintaining an inventory of all radioactive materials, distributing and collecting dosimeters, getting rid of insects in University buildings and inspecting 56 licensed food service operations affiliated with the U-M. The food service operations include all residence hall kitchens, the Michigan League, Michigan Union and such off-campus sites as fraternity and sorority houses.

One of the biggest challenges facing OSEH, according to Baier, is packaging state and federal health and safety rules and regulations in a way that makes it easy for users to follow to ensure the safety and health of students, faculty, staff and members of the community.

OSEH works closely with a number of state and federal agencies, including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, the Michigan Department of Public Health, Washtenaw County Health Department and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

To keep up with the rules and regulations, which Baier says are growing exponentially, OSEH staff regularly read the Federal Register and attend professional development seminars.

Many keep up in the field through course work as they pursue advanced degrees, going to school part-time while working full-time.

Members of the University community frequently question OSEH recommendations and the benefits of rules and regulations, Baier says, but he welcomes those “types of challenges because they force us to make sure what we’re doing is correct.”

Visionary thinking is important in the field of occupational safety and environmental health, observes Baier, who credits Schatzle and the University administration for being supportive and looking ahead.

“We have to anticipate regulations, moving forward all the time,” Baier says.

When he attends professional conferences, Baier says, “I find we have an excellent program. That is to Ken’s credit.”

Baier also appreciates the support OSEH receives from William B. Krumm, associate vice president for business operations, and other administrators. A commitment to a safe and healthy environment at the highest levels is necessary to achieve success, he adds.

Baier, who earned a B.S in environmental health from Ferris State Univer-sity in 1984, worked as a hazardous and solid waste specialist with the Wash-tenaw County Health Department while earning an M.S. in industrial health from the School of Public Health.

Before joining the U-M, Baier worked as an industrial hygienist for McDonnell Douglas Corp., the Michigan Department of Public Health and KMS Fusion Inc., and as an industrial hygiene manager at Kemron Environmental Services.