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Policy 337: Safety and Health

Section: Personel Policies
Sub-Section: General
Policy Number: 337
Subject: Safety and Health
Covered Employees: All University Employees
Origin Date: January 24, 1997
Revision Date(s): May 6, 2016
Effective Date: May 6, 2016
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337.1 POLICY

Utah State University is committed to creating a safe environment and a culture of institutional safety, and develops and implements safety and health programs consistent with the best practices for activities and institutions of this type. The University takes safety extremely seriously and will work diligently to provide the necessary safeguards required to assure the safety and health of employees, students, and the public, as well as facilities, equipment, and other property.

These programs strive to continuously reduce worker risk and improve the prevention of illnesses and injuries in all work environments including but not limited to offices, laboratories, farms and field sites, and driving for work. To accomplish these tasks, all employees (faculty, benefited staff and wage/hourly) are required to fully cooperate with University safety guidelines and to fully follow all procedures relating to safety rules.

Realization of a safe and healthy work environment requires attention and responsibility at every level, including the President, Provost, Chancellor and Vice Chancellors, Deans and Vice Presidents, Department Heads and Directors, lab supervisors, unit supervisors, and all employees. If investigation shows that an employee has failed to follow this policy, appropriate action will be taken in accordance with University policies.

337.2 PROVISIONS

2.1 University Programs

The University subscribes to recognized standards for health, safety, and fire protection. Such standards are published by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the National Institutes of Health, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienist, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the National Fire Protection Association, the Uniform Building Code, the American National Standards Institute, and other recognized safety standard-making bodies. In accordance with these rules and USU institutional policies, it is the responsibility of employees, supervisors, administrators, and all other persons in authority to provide for safety in the environment and operations under their control.

The University reserves the right to require examinations, testing, and training of employees as mandated by federal and state rules, laws, and regulations for purposes of this and other institutional policies.

2.2 USU Safety Committees.

2.2.1 The USU University Safety Committee.

This committee is named by the President, and consists of the following representatives: 1) the Directors, or their designees, of USU's Environmental Health and Safety Division (EHS); 2) the chairs from the University Safety Committees (USU Biohazards Committee, Institutional Biosafety Committee, Chemical Hygiene Committee, and Radiological Safety Committee), who are appointed by the Vice President for Research; 3) the chair of the Risk Control Committee, who is appointed by the Vice President for Business and Finance; 4) each of the eight academic College Safety Committees; 5) the President of the Classified Employees Association or their designee; 6) the USU Police Chief; 7) a representative chosen by the Regional Campus/Eastern Administrative Council; and 8) other appropriate university units that participate in an ad hoc capacity as necessary. The Vice President for Business and Finance shall appoint individuals to represent USU’s auxiliary services as appropriate.

The University Safety Committee meets at least two times each year and has responsibility to review and approve institutional procedures that relate to radiation, biohazards, chemical safety, recombinant DNA, risk control and occupational safety at the university, and make recommendations for new policy as needed. Additionally, the committee oversees activities of the USU’s Biohazards Committee, Chemical Hygiene Committee, Institutional Biosafety Committee, Radiation Safety Committee and the Risk Control Committee.

2.2.2 College/Unit Safety Committees.

These committees are established by deans or campus unit administrators and are comprised of Departmental or Campus Unit Safety Representatives. The dean or unit administrator shall have flexibility to appoint committee members as needed, and student representation is encouraged. The chair serves as a member of USU’s University Safety Committee and serves as liaison between the University Safety Committee and his/her campus unit. The committee meets at least once each quarter, and has responsibility to review accident reports and make appropriate recommendations to the dean/unit administrator regarding proposed changes in safety procedures. It also provides regular updates on safety-related issues, including copies of EHS reports, to college dean/unit administrator.

2.2.3 Departmental Safety Representative.

This individual is identified by the department head, and serves on the College Safety Committee. The departmental safety representative acts as a liaison between the College Safety Committee, EHS, and his/her campus unit. He or she has responsibility to: 1) reviews all safety incident reports and makes appropriate recommendations, in conjunction with EHS, to the department head regarding proposed changes in workplace procedures. Copies of these recommendations must be provided to the department head and dean or unit director; 2) work with the department head to ensure, within reason, that identified deficiencies and recommended corrective actions are addressed; and 3) provide regular updates on safety-related issues to department head and faculty.

2.3 Specific Requirements

Certain departments may have specific job safety requirements, for example health providers must have certain inoculations, and food service workers must have a food handler’s permit. These requirements are included in job descriptions.

The Environmental Health and Safety Division (EHS) has the authority and responsibility to promote compliance with all University, state, and federal health and safety regulations by interpreting standards and promulgating procedures and policies to assure University compliance. EHS employees are responsible for monitoring compliance, evaluating potential health hazards, and investigating accidents and injuries.

EHS employees partner with administrators, faculty, and researchers to support a strong, positive safety culture. They offer collaboration and support in meeting the responsibilities of this policy.

USU Risk Management is responsible for filing and managing all Workers Compensation claims and assisting employees in returning to work after an injury. Risk Management offers collaboration and support to all employees in implementing USU's Return to Work program.

2.3.1

In the event of a condition immediately dangerous to life or health, or otherwise determined to present an unacceptable safety risk, EHS has authority to immediately mitigate the unsafe condition. EHS must notify the University Safety Committee any time such action is taken.

2.3.2

In a more enduring safety concern, EHS will engage university leadership to review and ameliorate the unsafe condition.

2.3.3

If faculty or administrators believe actions taken by EHS to ameliorate safety are unwarranted, they may appeal to the Vice President for Research.

2.4 Hazardous Areas

All employees working in areas exposing them to substances or conditions that could be hazardous to health, as determined by state and federal laws, are required to participate in the University's health monitoring and health surveillance program. Any questions regarding substances or conditions that are questionable should be addressed to EHS. Any questions or concerns regarding employees traveling to hazardous areas in the states or world should be addressed to the University’s Risk Management office.

2.5 Workplace Violence

Refer to Policy #342, Violence in the Workplace.

337.3 RESPONSIBILITY

Realization of a safe workplace and a culture of safety requires attention and responsibility at every level of the organization. Core responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

University President

  • Establishes a safety policy (USU policy 337) that supports the administration’s commitment to faculty, staff, and student safety.
  • Assigns responsibility for implementation and oversight of the safety policy and the institution’s safety program to the Vice President for Research and other senior administrators as indicated by the safety policy.
  • Provides resources and financial support for the institution’s safety program, according to the recommendations of the Vice President for Research and other senior administrators who are responsible for oversight of the program.
  • Communicates to the entire institution the importance of safety and expectations to establish and maintain a strong safety program that continually improves and protects all faculty, staff, students, and guests.
  • Ensures, within reason, that rapid and effective response is taken to remediate any serious safety issues/incidents on the campus.
  • Supports Return to Work programs throughout the University.

Provost, Vice Presidents, Chancellor, or Vice Chancellors

Allocates necessary resources, as deemed appropriate, for implementation of the institution’s safety policy, programs, and committees (e.g., University Safety Committee and related sub-committees for Biohazards, Chemical Hygiene, Radiation Safety, Recombinant DNA, Risk Control, and Dual Use Research).

  • Communicates responsibilities to deans and other administrators for safety programs within their areas of oversight.
  • Supports safety training within the institution.
  • Ensures, within reason, that effective systems are established to identify and address institutional safety concerns.
  • Ensures, within reason, that the President is notified if there are serious safety issues/incidents on the campus.
  • Supports Return to Work programs throughout the University

Deans and other Campus Unit Administrators, i.e. Executive Directors

  • Works with department heads/directors and faculty, supervisors or foreman to identify and allocates resources as deemed appropriate and needed for implementation and maintenance of safety programs for each department or unit within their area of responsibility.
  • Communicates to department heads the responsibility for incorporation of risk management and safety into the curriculum for each department or unit with their area of responsibility as appropriate.
  • Deans establish a College Safety Committee comprised of Departmental Safety Representatives.
  • Supports safety training for managers and supervisors within their unit that emphasizes health and safety leadership responsibilities.
  • Deans review reports from the College Safety Committee, Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHS), department heads or other unit directors about the status of safety programs in each department or unit within their area of responsibility.
    • Identified deficiencies and recommended corrective actions are addressed.
  • Ensures, within reason, that the Provost, Vice President, Chancellor, or Vice Chancellor is notified if there are serious safety issues/incidents within their area of responsibility.
  • Supports Return to Work programs within their units.
  • Where the setting is a Regional Campus/Eastern, the academic dean, vice chancellor, and executive director/dean have a shared responsibility to ensure the elements in this section.

Department Head/Directors

  • Works with dean/unit director and faculty, supervisors or foreman to identify and allocates resources as deemed appropriate and needed for implementation and maintenance of departmental safety programs.
  • Ensures, within reason, that faculty and staff members understand and implement responsibilities as listed and assumes responsibility for work and laboratory space, including field sites, and safe operations.
  • Identifies a Departmental Safety Representative.
  • When applicable, establishes curricular goals for safety education of students.
  • Ensures, within reason, that the development and implementation of safety practices, safety protocols, and safety rules for undergraduate and graduate teaching laboratories and work space, including field sites, as well as affiliated shops, storerooms, stockrooms, and corridors within their purview.
  • Reviews EHS-documented safety training for faculty and staff to ensure, within reason, that it is complete and up to date.
  • Ensures, within reason, that all safety practices, protocols, and safety rules are fully and regularly discussed by faculty and staff.
  • Includes discussion of safety training and goals in regular annual reviews of faculty and staff.
  • Works with EHS to respond to regular inspections of both teaching and research laboratories.
    • After receipt of the laboratory/work space inspection report meets with faculty members to discuss cited violations and to ensure, within reason, that timely actions to protect personnel and facilities and that the department remains in compliance with all applicable federal, state, university, local, and departmental codes and regulations.
  • Ensures, within reason, that the health and safety of departmental personnel, authorized visitors (including student volunteers, visiting scholars, vendors, and contractors), and students any time there is a change in use of departmental space.
  • Develops and maintains a list of Return to Work options within their department or unit with the assistance of faculty members, principal investigators, and supervisors as appropriate.

Faculty Member/Principal Investigator

  • Works with dean and department head to identify and allocate resources as deemed appropriate and needed for implementation and maintenance of laboratory or field safety needs.
  • Ensures, within reason, that supervisors and lab personnel understand and implement responsibilities as listed and assumes responsibility for workplace and/or laboratory space, including field sites, and safe operations.
  • Participates in appropriate safety training.
  • Implements the curricular goals for safety education of students.
  • Ensures, within reason, that principle-based safety education and specific safety training relating to their areas of research is provided to students, lab personnel, and staff within their workplace and/or laboratories.
  • Regularly reviews EHS-documented safety training of workplace and/or laboratory members to confirm it is complete and up to date.
  • Safety is regularly discussed during research group meetings.
  • Develops a Chemical Hygiene Plan that is specific to the activities occurring in the laboratory or work area.
  • Serves as safety advisor and mentor for students, staff, and laboratory personnel who work and study under their supervision, and encourages group discussion of “near misses”.
  • Sets clear expectations that laboratory personnel, students, and staff under his or her direction must understand and follow safety practices and protocols.
    • Sets an example by following all pertinent safety rules when working in the laboratory or work area.
    • Always wears personal protective equipment (PPE) that is compatible to the degree of hazard.
    • Promotes good housekeeping practices in the laboratory or work area.
    • Safety needs will vary according to the activities, materials and equipment present in the work area. The faculty member/PI develops specific standard operating procedures (SOPs) for activities, materials and equipment that present particular hazards, and incorporates the SOPs into the chemical hygiene plan or other safety plan for the program
  • Enforces all health and safety practices, protocols, and rules within his or her laboratory space, including field sites. Institutes disciplinary measures for students, staff, and laboratory personnel who repeatedly violates these rules.
  • Ensures, within reason, that the appropriate personal protective equipment is available and used by all personnel in the laboratory.
  • Responsible to conduct periodic hazard analysis of all program activities to identify potential risks or areas in need of additional safety measures or training.
  • Conducts periodic formal safety, chemical hygiene, and housekeeping inspections, including review of the Chemical Hygiene Plan and SOPs, for laboratories and work areas under their purview.
  • Ensures, within reason, that all approved visitors (including student volunteers, visiting scholars, vendors, and contractors) follow the safety rules.
  • Ensures, within reason, that all laboratory incidents are rapidly and properly reported. Any incidents of a safety matter including those that involve medical attention, property damage, or have a high probability of becoming a liability claim must be reported immediately to EHS or Risk Management.
  • Reports promptly any safety related facility problem or improperly functioning safety equipment that present a safety risk to the Departmental Safety Representative and department head.
  • Reports all safety-related incidents to the Departmental Safety Representative.
  • Develops and maintains a list of Return to Work options within their areas of responsibility with the assistance of the workplace supervisor.

Laboratory/Workplace Supervisor or Foreman

  • Works with their immediate supervisor (faculty member, department head or director) to identify and allocate resources as deemed appropriate and needed for implementation and maintenance of laboratory or field safety needs.
  • Receives appropriate safety training.
  • Reads, understands, and follow all safety rules and regulations that apply to their work area.
  • Develops safe practices, safety protocols, and safety rules for areas under their purview.
  • Sets clear expectations that students, staff, and other personnel under his or her direction must understand and follow safety practices and protocols.
    • Sets an example by following all pertinent safety rules when working in the laboratory or work area.
    • Always wears personal protective equipment (PPE) that is compatible to the degree of hazard.
    • Promotes good housekeeping practices in the laboratory or work area.
  • Works with their immediate supervisor to rapidly address unresolved, unsafe practices, hazardous conditions, and safety equipment malfunctions.
  • Immediately responds to all safety-related incidents - call 911 in emergency.
  • Any incidents of a safety matter including those that involve medical attention, property damage, or have a high probability of becoming a liability claim must be reported immediately to EHS or Risk Management.
  • Directly participates in the investigations for all incidents and near-misses.
  • Ensures, within reason, that new safety measures are implemented within the lab and/or workplace safety program.
  • Works with their immediate supervisor to conduct periodic hazard analysis of lab and/or workplace practices to identify areas in need of additional safety measures or training.
  • Develops and maintains a list of Return to Work options within their area of responsibility. Works directly with injured employees to get them working again within the employee’s medical restrictions.

Employees/Laboratory workers (laboratory personnel and staff)

  • Receive appropriate safety training.
  • Read, understands, and follows all safety rules and regulations that apply to the work area.
  • Conduct each operation in accordance with the work area specific chemical hygiene procedures and implements new safety measures as appropriate.
    • Develops good personal work area safety habits, including use of PPE as appropriate for each procedure that involves hazards and promoting good housekeeping practices in the laboratory or work area.
  • Report all safety incidents to managing supervisor and faculty member.
    • Immediately reports any job-related illness or injury or property damage to the supervisor and faculty member.
  • Report unresolved, unsafe practices or hazardous conditions to the work area supervisor and faculty member.
  • Participate in periodic safety inspections of work areas.
  • Participates in Return to Work program.

Student safety expectations are outlined in SECTION V-3. University Standards of Student Conduct.