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By Stephen Shortell; Julie Schmittdiel; Margaret Wang; Rui Li; Robin Gillies

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As Herbert A. Simon (1997, 3) states: A great deal of behavior, and particularly the behavior of individuals within administrative organizations, is purposive—oriented towards goals or objectives. This purposiveness brings about an integration in the pattern of behavior, in the absence of which administration would be meaningless; for, if administration consists in “getting things done” by groups of people, purpose provides a principal criterion in what things are to be done. The purpose of researchers who work with HAZMAT differs from security or emergency administrative departments that are responsible for carrying out federal, state, or local mandates.

Other federal agencies that have passed statutes and audited biological and chemical HAZMAT at higher education institutions include the NIH, CDC, USDA, and DEA. There is still a bias for research universities to be focused more on reacting to HAZMAT incidents than on developing proactive measures to enhance security or safety. This is now changing to reflect the most current policies and procedures set forth by the federal government. In 2004, Oklahoma State University addressed the proper disposal and handling of HAZMAT and employee accountability for misconduct, fraud, or misuse of HAZMAT in its policy and procedures manual.

Out of the fifteen universities only four universities passed criteria set forth by the auditors as having proper controls in place for complying with federal guidelines (Department of Health and Human Services 2006). The other eleven universities failed the auditors’ criteria in the following aspects: • Eight institutions had shortcomings in inventory control and incomplete or inaccurate information for users who accessed that information. • Six institutions had shortcomings in processes and procedures to control electronic access keys to areas that contained select agents.

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