Meet Chip Farrell, Senior Environmental and Safety Specialist
By Gene Stowe
Chip Farrell (’98), a South Bend native and St. Joseph High School graduate, was a walk-on golf team member and four-time Bengal Bout finalist while he was earning a civil engineering degree, winning the 160-lb championship in his junior year. His father Patrick Farrell, a 1966 Notre Dame graduate, was a three-time Bengal Bouts champion who moved to South Bend after his Navy career and became a pilot for the University. Chip worked for Lawson-Fisher Associates engineering consultants in South Bend for 10 years, with Notre Dame as a client, before he joined Utilities in 2008. In 2013, he took on additional responsibilities as a safety specialist for Utilities and Maintenance.
“We have been really focused on improving campus safety,” says Chip, who recently achieved a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) certification. “It’s been on the forefront of everyone’s goals.”
His environmental duties focus primarily on Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and EPA permits for air and water quality compliance, such as monitoring and testing power plant emissions and improving the quality of storm water run-off to the campus lakes. His safety duties are concerned with OSHA safety regulations that ensure the wellbeing of workers. That includes safety in confined spaces, control of hazardous energy (lock-out/tag-out) and fall protection.
Some of the more interesting safety projects Chip has worked on revolve around fall protection. Recently, projects were completed in the attic spaces of the Main Building and Sacred Heart Basilica to protect workers from fall hazards while performing work in those areas. “These are some very old buildings with unique construction challenges,” Chip says.
Additionally, Chip has been working on improving the safety for those employees performing work on campus rooftops. “Our employees and contractors are required to periodically access roofs to maintain machinery and clean the leaves off,” he says. “We’re in the process of installing fall protection systems such as horizontal lifelines and guardrails on over 80 campus buildings so that those workers are better protected from fall hazards. As you can imagine, many of our older buildings on campus were not built with these things in mind.” Chip also works with the University’s Planning Design and Construction department to ensure that new campus building rooftops are designed with employees’ safety as a priority.
“It’s been a big project and all for the better,” Chip says.