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Policy: University Health and Safety Program 


Date: 06/06/05 Policy ID: SEC-019 Status: Final

Policy Type: University
   
Contact Office: Environmental Health and Safety
   
Oversight Executive: Vice President for Research
   
Applies To: Academic Division and the Medical Center.
   
Table of Contents: 

Policy Statement
Responsibilities

   
Reason for Policy: To provide reasonable assurance that the health and safety of all individuals on properties controlled or managed by the University are maintained.
   
Policy Summary: 
   
Definition of Terms in Statement: 

Health: Freedom from physical pain or disease.

Safety: Condition of being safe from undergoing or causing hurt, injury or loss (Webster's Dictionary).

   
Policy Statement: 

All University activities shall be conducted using reasonable precautions to protect employees, students, the public and the environment so as to minimize dangers to life, safety and property. The University regards its responsibility for providing a healthful and safe working environment for its faculty, staff and students to be a high priority.

To provide reasonable assurance that the health and safety of all individuals on properties controlled or managed by the University are maintained:

  1. Safety standards will be adopted and/or developed for all applicable University activities, including the management of hazardous substances;
  2. Faculty, staff and students will be trained to recognize hazards regarding those standards and to employ safe work practices;
  3. Periodic audits will be conducted to determine compliance with the published standards including those contained in local, state and federal laws and regulations regarding health and safety. Appropriate correction will be prescribed where necessary and the response monitored to assure compliance;
  4. A set of possible emergency situations will be identified and appropriate emergency response procedures will be established.
  5. Injuries and accidents will be reported and analyzed;
  6. A health insurance program will be provided and availability of employment-related health services will be assured.
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Responsibilities
The activities required to institute a comprehensive and University-wide health and safety program may be divided into nine categories: (1) standard setting; (2) coordination activities; (3) auditing; (4) reporting; (5) monitoring; (6) policy development; (7) expansion of existing programs; (8) development of new programs; and (9) enforcement. This delineation of activities into nine types does not suggest that each type of activity be addressed separately. Indeed, all components of a coordinated health and safety program must be addressed simultaneously.

While every person has responsibility for his or her personal well-being, the primary responsibility for providing a healthful and safe working environment rests with line management. Management’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to: ensuring that employees are trained; developing and maintaining standard operating procedures; and providing necessary safety equipment. Moreover, except for some broadly defined, University-wide services such as landscaping, heating, police, etc., the cost of maintaining a healthful and safe working environment shall fall on the department or unit under whose auspices a particular activity is being conducted.

In order to assist with the above noted 9 activities, Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) will:

  1. Provide guidance and technical assistance to the units;
  2. Develop and implement institution-wide policies regarding health and safety;
  3. Offer or coordinate training programs to all University employees regarding safe and healthy work practices;
  4. Aid all units in keeping abreast of regulatory and legal requirements regarding health and safety and then act as a resource for all units of the University in developing programs to meet those regulations; and
  5. Audit and monitor the University's adherence to all applicable laws, regulations and policies. Aside from emergencies, the audits will be carried out through the use of an annual plan. An audit manual shall be prepared and all audits will be conducted according to guidelines.

While the University’s health and safety policies will be developed by EHS, and while that Office also will audit and monitor the University’s adherence to those policies, the enforcement function (with two exceptions) will remain the responsibility of the administrators of each unit. Those exceptions are:

  1. The administration of the University's licenses from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and
  2. Extreme emergencies wherein the Director of Environmental Health & Safety (or associate director) judges that a particular situation is causing clear and present serious danger to life and/or property.

Thus, the staff of EHS should be seen principally as a coordinating, standard setting, auditing and service organization rather than an enforcer of regulations.

In those cases where violations are detected and where a unit administrator does not respond as advised, EHS shall, at the Director’s discretion, appeal its recommendations through the appropriate Vice President, and if necessary, all the way to the President. Similarly, units which disagree with the counsel of EHS may also appeal those decisions to the Vice President for Research. In cases where, in the judgment of the Director, there is a clear and present serious danger to the health and/or safety of an employee or to University property, the Director shall have the authority to issue cease and desist orders, which may be appealed after they have been obeyed, as indicated above.

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Procedures: Contact the Office of Environmental Health & Safety for assistance at 982-4911.
   
Related Information: EHS website - http://keats.admin.virginia.edu.
   
Policy Background: This is the first version of this policy.
   
Major Category: Safety, Security and Environmental Quality
   
Category Cross Reference: 
   
   
Process: 
   
Next Scheduled Review: 06/06/14
   
Approved By, Date: Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, 06/06/05
   
Revision History: This is the first version of this policy.
   
Supersedes (previous policy):